How to Be Productive While Working from Home

It can be difficult to be productive while working from home, but it is possible with a little trial and error. Here’s how I get it done.

Comparing the job I had out of college to the job(s) I have now is like comparing night and day. The first was a field sales job; I would travel from store to store everyday, had to be at work by 6am on most days, and was doing physical labor. Now, I work out of my house, glued to my laptop (with the occasional fitness class).

Needless to say, this was quite the transition.

I struggled with it at first. Just like when I was in college and had to force myself to go to the library because my bed was just a little too tempting while I was trying to study.

But over the last year, I’ve learned what works for me when it comes to being productive while being a remote employee. It’s taken a bit to form a routine for myself, but I thought I would share the different parts of my routine that keep me on track.

How to Be Productive While Working from Home

Get dressed

Okay, this sounds weird. But you’d be surprised what getting dressed does. Not getting dressed as in changing from pajamas to sweatpants. Getting dressed as in changing into clothes that you would wear out. Maybe putting a little makeup on. Some of you may be thinking “if I worked at home I wouldn’t wear pants all day and my hair would be in a bun”. Yes, I do have those days. And when I let that happen, I end up feeling way more blah than on days that I get dressed. I swear it’s got to be scientifically proven to make you feel more motivated and prepared. It gets you into more of a routine.

Start your day earlier.

Letting yourself sleep in is not a good idea. It’s much more difficult to start your day and your mind right if you’re sleeping in and lackadaisically getting into your work groove. Besides the fact that, even though your company might have you as a remote employee, chances are the rest of the company operates on a normal 9-5 schedule. It’s much easier and more efficient to get yourself on a sleep schedule, waking up at the same time everyday and establishing a routine.

Break your day into designated sections.

Are you better at writing in the morning? Best at answering e-mails in the afternoon? Good with numbers in the late afternoon? Breaking your day into designated sections, according to your strengths, will allow you to maintain focus and give your attention to one area at a time.

Use random household tasks as mini-deadlines.

I’ve found that giving myself a fictitious deadline helps me focus and get my work done, in an attempt to adhere to my own deadline. At home, I like to set little deadlines for myself based on household tasks. Sometimes I’ll put my laundry in the washer and try and get something done while my clothes are washing. Put the dishes in the dishwasher and focus on one project until they are finished. This way, not only are you getting household tasks done, you are putting a bit of pressure on yourself to be focused and accomplish objectives.

Take a break.

Working from home can really blur the lines of work…and…home. It’s easy to keep working while watching tv, eating breakfast, walking the dog, etc. But it’s important to take sharp breaks from work during the day. Take 45 minutes to eat lunch and clear your mind. You’ll come back to your work more productive and ready to finish off strong.

Figure out a start and end time.

I like to follow a schedule just like I would if I worked in an office. I don’t always stick to it, but for the most part, I’ve got a routine. Whatever works for your productivity, stick to it. Whether it’s 8-5, 7-4, or 9-6. Just make sure it’s consistent.

Get out of the house.

This seems a little counter-intuitive, but sometimes it helps productivity to get out for a bit. Go work at a coffee shop and set a deadline for yourself to get x done before you leave the shop. If you’ve got a big project deadline, get out of the house and get it done before you head back home. This also allows you to interact with human life.

Join the conversation:
What are some rituals you have for being productive at home?
Do you have a favorite coffee shop you go to to get ish done?

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  1. says

    Getting out of the house is so important for me! I make sure that I take Lucy for a long walk every afternoon to break things up. It makes a HUGE difference. I love the idea of breaking the hours up into certain projects as well. I am guilty of doing them all at once or whenever I get an idea.
    ACKTIVE LIFE recently posted…30 Day Trial With Farm To Gold MouthwashMy Profile

    • says

      It’s so good to have that companion who you are responsible for that sort of holds you accountable for getting out of the house. I’m the same way with my dog – taking him out periodically helps me!

  2. says

    Love ALL of these tips Christina!! When I spent my winter break at home and spent most of the day working on my blog, I would break up my days in sections too. Yeah I didn’t always stick to it either, but hey that’s life :) Favorite coffee shop to get ish done is a place here called Saxby’s!
    Marina @ A Dancer’s Live-It recently posted…Weekend RecapMy Profile

  3. says

    These tips are great! I find myself working from home A LOT, and I do a lot of the stuff on your list just to keep sane! Working from home is awesome, but it can be totally isolating and lonely, too. I love your “mini-deadline” tip – I’m definitely putting that to good use :)
    Alexa [] recently posted…How Sweet Eats Brunchshop RecapMy Profile

    • says

      Yeah that’s the thing is it gets pretty lonely. I live at home right now, and it’s bad because BOTH of my parents work from home, so our house has kind of become an office lol NOT healthy!!

  4. says

    These tips are going to seriously come in handy this summer! And they all exactly like what I’ve been thinking needs to happen after the move. I think once we get settled in our new place, I am definitely going to need to set up an office space. Thankfully we have a second bedroom, but I am going to need to make it look and feel like an office if I want to get anything done in there. I’m both excited and nervous!
    Ashley @ Fit Mitten Kitchen recently posted…Vegan Whole Wheat Chocolate Chip SconesMy Profile

  5. says

    Some days I really think I’d do well working at home and other days I’m like.. uh no I would nap all day long haha. Whenever I need to get things done I love going to this cute coffee shop called Charlotte’s. I love the tip about actually getting dressed. So simple but I agree, it’s crazy how much clothes can make me feel productive haha.

    • says

      I feel like we all have that ONE coffee shop. There is this one near my house that is literally my ‘get shit done’ coffee shop. It’s not too busy and it’s like I get sucked into some vortex when I walk in because I am SO productive there

  6. says

    Great tips. I’d love to work part-time from home someday, but do worry about getting distracted. Then again, I am not exactly focused in an office environment most of the time either, so I think there are things to work on from both angles.

    • says

      I find that I am the least focused when I am working on something that I don’t have a passion for/don’t know how to do. When this happens, it helps to re-write my goals down to regroup and refocus!

  7. says

    I love this–I completely agree that figuring out when you’re most productive with certain tasks is so important. It can take awhile though… in the past, I’ve convinced myself my ideal writing time was at 9 am at one point and I’ve also said 5:30 am. While I’m not saying I’m NOT most creative at those times, recently I’ve been enjoying the afternoon creative writing where I get my blog posts hammered out before 4 pm. Once 4 o’clock hits, Layla wants to go on a walk and I need to make dinner, so it’s nice to get it done with. I’ve also noticed that starting my day earlier, preferably before 7 am, helps me start my day off on a productive foot!
    Erin @ The Almond Eater recently posted…Spicy Tofu Vegan EnchiladasMy Profile

    • says

      Totally – I used to think I was most creative for writing in the morning, and I think it has actually shifted to being at night. Sometimes it’s just not at all. LOL, I’ll figure it out

  8. says

    I work from home fairly frequently and can totally relate. My biggest tip is setting meetings with myself on g-cal for different tasks I need to do, it keeps me focused and motivated especially when I don’t have other employees around.
    Kayla recently posted…Virtual Coffee Date- April 2016My Profile

    • says

      Exactly – make it as if you were in an office. And I hear ya – I get that a lot. And it’s almost worse because you are home so, at least for me, I end up working more than if I was at an office because if I was at an office, I would leave my work at my office!

    • says

      Isn’t that so crazy! It helps me so much. I feel ready to take on my day. Another thing is when I’m sick – if I stay in my pajama’s/sweatpants while I’m sick I just still feel so blah. But if I put real clothes on, it somehow makes me feel a little better (even if that’s the last thing I want to do!)

  9. says

    Getting dressed AND starting your day earlier are so counter-intuitive because you expect to be able to do your day just however…but like you said, both of those things make you take yourself (and your work) more seriously. I’m still working on this part though haha.

  10. says

    These are all great tips! I find that my day is much more productive when I start my day early. I usually have an even better day when I wake up early and workout first. Getting out of the house works wonders for me too when I am in a funk. The house can be full of distractions sometimes so I will use the library or a coffee house as my office for the day.

  11. says

    these are great! as an introvert, i love being in my room, because college is just so different. but i am definitely already trying out most of these tips already. but i definitely think getting dressed is key, whether at home or out. i also try and make a to do list and check things off, and have my “breaks” be household chores like laundry or dishes.
    masala girl recently posted…weekly workouts recap + traveling food (!) + updatesMy Profile

    • says

      That is the best option there – working from home as a new mom! Exactly – you have to almost pretend you’re NOT a remote employee haha! Thank you Sarah so glad you are liking those posts!! <33


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