Many people view working from home as a luxury. After all, who doesn’t dream of being their own boss?
Working from home gives you a glimpse of that lifestyle. Dread your morning commute? Relax with your morning coffee instead of being stuck in traffic. Need a break? Regain your energy by working out or going on a long walk with your dog. Then, when you’re finished with your daily tasks, just close the laptop and get straight to binge-watching your new favorite show.
While all that sounds amazing (and it is!), working from home can become an unruly beast when you don’t have the discipline to implement some healthy work habits for yourself. Without a strict schedule, distractions can pile up and breaks can become more and more frequent – until you find yourself struggling to complete your assignments on time.
For all its advantages, working from home has many challenges when it comes to productivity. But as long as you’re willing to make some necessary changes to your routine, you can get your work down with plenty of time to enjoy the freedom and flexibility of working from home.
From the very start, Growth Gurus has been a virtual first workspace – meaning that, even before the COVID-19 pandemic, we are experts when it comes to making remote working, well, work!
Here are our tips for creating an environment that keeps you productive when working from home – even if you don’t have a lot of space for a home “office.”
10 Strategies for Managing Your Time When Working from Home
1. Start Early
Sometimes, working from home means that you can set your own hours and afford to wake up late every so often. However, don’t let it become a habit. Having a set start time helps you build a routine and get into a productive headspace. It’s easier to have a productive day when you set the tone right from the beginning. Otherwise, it starts to feel like a Sunday every day of the week.
2. Have a Clear Finish Line
Likewise, setting a precise ending time for your workday is crucial. If you don’t, you risk not motivating yourself to get things done promptly. This will eat into your family and leisure time later on, meaning you’re more likely to burn out and, over time, lose your ability to stay productive when working from home. No one wants to be up at 11 pm finishing their workday when everyone else finished at 5 pm.
3. Find Your Productive Zone
Everyone has their own time of the day when they’re most productive. So tailor your schedule to suit your personal preferences and save the toughest jobs for when you’re in the zone.
4. Create a To-Do List
There are countless productivity apps and task managers to help you sort out your schedule and create a prioritized to-do list. This helps keep your schedule organized when you’re working from home and are in less frequent contact with your colleagues. Our communication and scheduling technology is incredibly important to us at the Growth Gurus. To keep operations smooth and efficient, our team uses apps like Slack, Asana and Streamtime.
5. Schedule Afternoon Calls
If possible, save your calls and Zoom meetings for the afternoon. Not only will this free up your morning to work at your own pace, but it will also motivate you to have things prepared for your meeting later in the day.
6. Schedule Email Blocks
Don’t forget to add email time to your schedule. It’s better to set an official block of time for opening and responding to messages. Otherwise, you may find yourself mindlessly clicking on the email tab every few minutes just to see if anything popped up.
7. Meal Prep Helps
One of the biggest distractions when working from home is the kitchen. Either you’ll be tempted to scroll through a meal delivery app for half an hour or spend too much time cooking and cleaning up. Instead, get your meals prepped the night before so that you can finish lunch within your set “lunch break” timeframe.
8. Take Planned Breaks
Breaks are important. While it’s good to be productive when working from home, don’t forget to enjoy it. Plan your break times so that you have something to look forward to and use it as a reward for doing great work.
9. Use Your Office Schedule as Inspiration
Everything goes back to setting a schedule. Even if no one is keeping tabs on you, you owe it to yourself to stick to your goals. Think about your office schedule. What usually gets done at certain times? Try to replicate this schedule so you can train your brain to maintain continuity.
10. Use Laundry as a Timer
Taking a break to do chores can be therapeutic, but it can also be productive. For example, after you dump a load into the washing machine, try to complete a set task by the time the cycle is through. Do not fall into the trap of prioritizing housework over actual work though…
10 WFH Tips for Staying Productive
1. Set Boundaries with Your New “Coworkers”
There’s a good chance that other people will be at home with you throughout the day, whether they’re your partner, kids, roommates, or other family members. Communicate clearly that you need to get certain things done throughout the day and that you can schedule leisure time accordingly. If there are other WFH adults in the same space, try to organize your meetings around each other if possible and plan quiet times when you can all be at your most productive.
Even though it’s important to set boundaries, don’t cut yourself off from all human interaction. Working from home can be isolating, so make sure you get plenty of face-to-face contact and keep tabs on your mental health.
3. Eat, Sleep, Exercise
Working from home is no excuse to eat poorly, stay up late, or lounge around after work hours. It’s all too easy to spend the entire day in your pajamas, so be mindful of how you’re spending your time and its impact on your physical well-being. Staying fit and healthy will also help you stay productive.
4. Communicate with Your Colleagues
Some people find themselves shut off from their coworkers while working from home. Others may have the opposite experience and experience frustration from spending too much time in online meetings. So stay in touch – it’s the only way to stay productive at your workplace – but don’t let it spill over into your personal time.
5. Work for a Remote-Friendly Company
If you find that you’re more productive when working from home, look for roles at a company that promotes the WFH lifestyle (like Growth Gurus). Companies that don’t actively encourage their workers to stay home will have different expectations and requirements than those that do. A remote-friendly environment is one of the most significant factors in an enjoyable, productive WFH experience.
6. Pretend You’re at the Office
Even if you’re at home, you should still act the part. Getting showered and dressed to go into the office is one of the best ways to trick your brain into boosting your productive activities. Otherwise, you may find that your pajamas make it too easy to hop back into bed.
7. Customize Your Workspace
This is your chance to personalize your workspace however you please – in whatever way keeps you most productive when working from home – without needing to consult your colleagues. Take advantage of that! It doesn’t have to be a whole room or a dedicated “home office,” but you should still set up your workspace in a way that enhances your productivity. This includes removing clutter, setting up the right lighting, and investing in a comfortable chair that supports good posture or a standing desk. Also, studies show that plants around your workspace can have a calming effect while boosting productivity.
8. Don’t Stay at Home
Just because you’re working from home doesn’t mean you’re chained to your desk. In fact, staying inside all day can harm your productivity. Instead, make sure you’re getting up frequently to walk around. Once or twice a day, schedule time to take a walk outside. The fresh air and increase in circulation will do wonders for your productivity.
9. Limit Access to Social Media
It’s no secret that browsing social media has a negative impact on your productivity. So act like you’re back at the office and set your phone aside until you reach a scheduled break time. If it still proves to be too big of a temptation, there are several apps built to lock you out of social media platforms or other websites of your choice for a set amount of time.
10. Listen to Music
This one comes down to personal preference, but the right type of music can help set the mood and cut out audio distractions. Try a few different genres and see what works for you, whether that’s lo-fi, classical, ambient, or background noise like café sounds, nature soundtracks, or white noise.
Our Growth Gurus are more than just work-from-home aficionados, they’re the go-to experts for all things digital marketing. Whether you’re looking for inspiration for your next email or need a team to help you achieve your goals, we can help. Chat to a Guru today and start growing your business!