The increase in the number of self-employed entrepreneurs and freelancers means that more people work at home (remote workers) than ever before. On the face of it, this makes sense, and the no commute lifestyle makes everyone want to find work-from-home jobs, a great work-life balance. You save money, and you have a familiar environment with literally all the comforts of home.
Yet it may not be as productive as you’ve hoped for. There can be plenty of distractions that can interrupt your work from home life. Friends and family can disturb you, chores may need doing, and there’s always the temptation to procrastinate with no one looking over your shoulder.
How to Actually Be Productive When You’re Working From Home
There are ways that can help you boost your productivity when you’re working at home though. Here are some tips that can help.
Set a Schedule That Everyone’s Aware Of
It’s best that you set a schedule that you rigorously follow so that even without a boss nagging you to work you’re able to force yourself to get things done. Set a time for work and for breaks, so you can focus and rest accordingly.
But such a schedule isn’t worth much if no one else knows about it. Lots of people seem to think that when you’re working at home they can interrupt you at any time. Make it clear to them that at certain times you cannot be interrupted unless it’s a real emergency. Still, you can also share your break time schedules so they know when they can contact you for more trivial reasons.
Invest in Proper Work Tools
That means you need a fast and reliable computer, and a fast and reliable Internet connection too. You’ll also want a proper desk that can accommodate your keyboard, documents, and maybe a cup for your coffee. But don’t forget the importance of a comfortable ergonomic chair.
Working at home usually means spending hours upon hours sitting at a desk, and that can be uncomfortable in the long run. Your resulting discomfort can reduce your productivity. If you develop backaches as a result, that doesn’t help your productivity either.
Set Your Schedule into Manageable Time Frames
The most effective work schedule often resembles a school schedule. You can probably focus on a single task for an hour or two before you’ll need a break afterward. So it’s best to give yourself a time frame of 90 minutes for work then you can set a break of 15 to 20 minutes for yourself. That should give you enough time to recharge before you get back to the grind.
Your breaks should be spent away from your desk to really clear your mind. Take a nice walk, and perhaps get some air outside. Make yourself a nice hot cup of coffee. A snack can be good too.
Your workday can then involve four or five such work periods. You can get concrete tasks done, and then you’re still able to leave your evenings free for work and recreation. You can then also turn your attention to your family again.
Shut Down Your Notifications
We’ve already mentioned the need for your family and friends to know about and respect your work times. That’s so they don’t interrupt you needlessly. But you’ll still have your workflow interrupted if you insist on being notified every time you get a new text or email message.
So what you must do to let yourself work smoothly and without interruptions is to turn off all your digital notifications. Put your smartphone on silent mode, and make sure you don’t have beeps and popups on your computer screen telling you about new messages. That should let you focus on your work without being interrupted.
When you’re on your break, then you can check on the messages you missed. You can then check your new texts and emails while you sip your coffee or munch on your snacks.
Prepare the Night Before
One of the ways you can get going in the morning more efficiently is if you’ve made proper preparations during the night before. You’re able to hit the ground running because you’ve already made plans beforehand.
So before you go to sleep, review the information that you’ll need for tomorrow’s work. Jot down a few reminders for yourself, and make a list of tasks you need to do for your work periods. Often you’re at your best in the first half of the morning, so schedule your most important task for that time frame. Once you’ve finished, you’re able to boost your confidence for the rest of the day.
Don’t Dawdle First Thing in the Morning
It’s very tempting to take it easy when you first wake up. But that can lure you into taking too much time dawdling, and pretty soon you’ve set the mood for the whole day. If you’re not raring to go right away, then it’s hard to maintain that sort of mental energy for the rest of the day.
So set only a few minutes for yourself to wake up completely before you start working. Drink your coffee, exercise a little bit, take a shower, and then get some breakfast. Afterward, get to work.
Don’t start with email either. That’s the kind of tedious task that can sap your mental energy. Instead, now that you’ve showered and had breakfast, get to your most complex task for the day. Once that’s done, the other tasks are easier. You’re also more confident afterward since you’ve already accomplished something worthwhile so early in the morning.
Best Work From Home Jobs
With a good computer and a reliable Internet connection, you’re all set. Popular remote jobs are social media marketing, social media manager, data entry, call center, customer service representative, Amazon customer care, Google search engine manager, recruiter, blogging, bookkeeping, e-commerce support, virtual assistant, transcriptionist, proofreader, graphic designer, and independent contractor. These home opportunities can be full-time or part-time. These opportunities can be a great way to earn extra money.
When you’ve worked at home long enough, it’s easy to somehow end up thinking that the home isn’t really a suitable workplace for yourself. There’s no one looking over your shoulder, and there are too many distractions.
But working at home can actually be a competitive advantage for you. You can choose your own hours. You can be more comfortable. Just make sure you exercise some form of self-discipline, and you’ll get on fine with our home workplace productivity tips.