As remote workers, we have a lot more flexibility and autonomy in how we work, but we also have the challenges that come along with that freedom. As you walk around in your pajamas and realize that you no longer have to get up before the sunrises just to beat the morning traffic. You might start to feel like the weekend has come early, but you still have to get your work done by the end of the day, just like any other workday.
This list of working from home productivity tips is for you, especially if you find yourself prone to getting into weekend habits on a Tuesday morning, or you find yourself procrastinating with cat videos on YouTube instead of reading your emails.
Yes, we all do it at some time or another so here are a few tips to get you back on track and focused on work.
Working from Home Productivity: The Best, and Worst Parts of WFH
While working from home can be very liberating there are some unique challenges that you may not have considered. When you work from home you are more likely to be productive but you’re also more likely to be unproductive. This means that you will have to make some adjustments if you want to reach your goals.
The pros of working remotely are that you’re more likely to increase your productivity, you don’t have to leave the house and you’re not wasting time commuting. You’ll also have more privacy, freedom, and flexibility, which are some of the biggest benefits of working from home.
What makes remote work a challenge is that you can’t always see the big picture of how your work fits with the organization. Your manager might ask you to do a project and you don’t know how to do it or you don’t have the tools you need to do it. This can make you feel isolated and kill productivity. In this regard being able to communicate openly can make a huge difference.
Remember, that while productivity is important, you’re a human being, not a robot. You do have to take breaks, eat, sleep, and go to the bathroom.
The Best Tips to Boost Work from Home Productivity
Being productive when you are working from home is easy, the hard part is making the changes to your routine to adjust to more productive habits. Here are 10 remote working tips to get you started on the road to productivity.
1. Create A Dedicated Workplace at Home
Identify a location where you can be productive, and once you are clear about where you are working it is time to set up your workspace.
While you want your workspace to be comfortable you also need to make sure it supports you to do your best work. So, avoid places that you might get too relaxed, distracted, or uncomfortable, the key is to create a home office space where you can focus on your work without distraction. This is a must for remote workers who like to work in bed for example, but then find themselves falling asleep because it’s too comfy.
2. Outline Your Goals and Tasks for the Day the Night Before
The best way to get yourself to achieve your goals is to outline them the night before. This way you’ve already put in the effort to think about what you want to achieve and have made a commitment to yourself to do it.
Understanding what you want to accomplish for the day helps you to stay focused on a target to aim for, and can help you to avoid distractions. This is a must for remote workers who if find themselves procrastinating during work hours. There is something very satisfying about ticking off something that has been completed.
3. Do Your Work in Batches
To accomplish big things, you need to break them down into smaller goals and tasks. This productivity tip is called batching and involves splitting your tasks into manageable chunks. Set aside specific blocks of time to work on specific tasks, this way you can get into a rhythm and focus all of your energy on a single task at a time. This is great for virtual workers who have a million things to work on at once but find it hard to get them done.
4. Communicate with Your Team Regularly and Avoid Isolating Yourself
It’s easier to be creative and solve problems when you’re regularly interacting with people and being exposed to new ideas. Having good communication with the people in your team is vital to avoid isolation and get your best work done.
However, communicating with your team is very different when you are working remotely vs face to face in the office. Communication software is important for a healthy remote team and company culture. A chat program like Slack can be great to keep in touch with during the day and video conferencing software like Zoom is perfect for more formal meetings. This is a must for all remote workers but especially those of us who miss the friendly chats at the water cooler.
5. Start and End Your Day with Work-Life Balance Routines
When you work from home it’s easy to lose the defining line between your work life and personal life. A less obvious productivity tip is that if you don’t take care of yourself then you won’t be able to work well. Starting your day with some self-care is a great way to get yourself ready for the day ahead, and ending the day with a routine is a great way to disconnect from work and enjoy your free time. This is important for anyone who works from home and finds themselves regularly overworking and neglecting self-care.
6. Know Your Remote Working Style
To be successful in your remote career, you have to be willing to learn about your working style. What motivates you to finish a task? and what distracts you from completing one? What are you good at? and where do you have space to develop?
Being honest with yourself about where you stand will allow you to make a plan for how you can improve your work from home productivity, magnifying your strengths and slowly removing distractions. This is a great thought exercise for all beginner remote workers, but helpful for all of us from time to time.
7. Schedule Your Day
Identify when you are at your most productive and most focused and then plan your ideal work schedule around that. This helps you to get the most out of your day. What works for one person might not work for another. For example, some people like to get up early and get a head start on the day while others like to work at night. This is important for all remote workers; setting up a schedule helps to define the different parts of the day and is at the core of a more productive day.
8. Train the People Around You About Your Work Schedule
It’s important to protect your work time and your time when you work from home. If you are constantly being interrupted by notifications, calls, requests that have nothing to do with your work or people just trying to touch base with you. It will be harder to get your work done, so letting the people in your life know when you are working is important. This is essential for remote workers who have other people at home or who have a team that has a different schedule.
9. Get Out of the House
It is tempting to just bulldoze through your tasks and neglect breaks. But you have to take a break if you want to stay healthy, stress-free, and working at your best. Go outside, take a walk, or do some stretches, but take regular breaks throughout the day.
This is important for remote workers who find it tempting to hide behind their computer screen and not go out and meet people in person. It’s important that you don’t start to feel like your online presence is a replacement for being out in the real world.
10. Be Disciplined and Get Started
Productivity is not about what you understand, it’s about what you do. No matter how many tips you read and agree with. If you don’t actively use them in your day you won’t get any of the benefits. So, a big productivity tip is to be disciplined and take new action.
Try to do new things to make each day more productive than the day before and when you figure out what helps you to stay focused, stick to it. This is for remote workers who intellectually agree with all productivity tips but never implement any of them.
How to Prepare for A Highly Productive WFH Day
Working from home is nothing like working in the office. Of course, the work that you are expected to complete might be the same, but the way you go about completing it will be very different. For example, when working remotely you will enjoy the chance to avoid the frustrations of the morning rush hour, so you might start work earlier. But when in the office you have the benefit of being in a structured social environment so you might be more focused and feel more supported.
A working-from-home productivity tip is to just take a moment to ask yourself 5 essential questions, starting with What, Why, Where, When, and Who. The 5 'W’s are an easy way to have a look at your remote work ethic and decide where you can make small tweaks to increase your productivity and align with your goals. Ready? Here goes!
1. When Is the Best Time for You to Complete Your Work?
One of the best things you can do for yourself is to set up a work schedule. When it comes to scheduling your working hours, we’re all different and have different energy levels that vary during the course of the day. Some people like working in the mornings. Some people like working in the evenings or the afternoons.
There’s no best" time, there is only what is best for you, so experiment with working at different times of the day and notice how you feel. When you find the time of day that you feel most productive, try to stick to it as much as possible, working in short bursts to get your tasks done.
2. Where Is the Best Place for You to Complete Your Work?
Now’s the time to decide where you’re going to be working. When you work from home, it’s important to set up a separate space in your house for your work.
While you might be able to get away with remote working in a coffee shop, on your bed, or your couch, you won’t want to spend all of your time there.
It’s important to find a space that’s quiet, free of distractions and set up in a way that lets your mind know it’s time to focus. Think about the kind of environment you’re most comfortable in and which one you’ll be most productive in.
3. What Exactly Do You Have to Do?
The most productive people in the world all have one thing in common - they make goals, and they write them down. Outlining your goals before you start working is a great way to stay focused and to make sure you’re being productive. First, you need to be able to identify what the most important tasks are that you have to do, what you need to accomplish, and what you’re working towards.
4. Why You Are Doing the Work?
By making the most of your environment and planning ahead, you can increase your productivity. But you also have to work smart, and connecting meaning to your tasks gives you a deeper reason to complete them and makes the entire process of completing goals more meaningful.
Understanding the value of your work makes it easier to remain focused and productive on the way to completing it. Ask yourself What do you want to achieve? and why does it matter?
5. Who Can You Collaborate with If You Get Stuck?
If you are working on something and you’ve hit a wall, it’s important to identify who you’ll ask for help. Whether it’s your employer, manager, colleague, or just a friend, find someone that can support you, or help you bounce ideas around. They may be able to fill in the gaps or point you in the direction of someone who can. The main thing is to work together remotely to move forward towards your goal.
The Best Productivity Tools for a More Focused WFH Day
Everyone experiences some productivity struggles, regardless of whether they work from home or in an office. The thing to remember is that you’re a human being, not a robot. You have to take breaks, eat, sleep, and go to the bathroom.
Whether you already work from home or are thinking about making the switch, it’s important to adjust your digital work environment to encourage yourself to be more productive. Here are the 4 tools that can give you a productivity advantage.
- Distraction blocker
Anti distraction apps like Stay Focused, are essential for remote workers that have the habit of refreshing Instagram every 5 minutes to see who has liked their last post or for those of us who can’t stop scrolling the feed. These apps work for your browser and your phone so there is no way to avoid getting back to what you should be doing.
- Time management timer
This kind of app is essential for those of us who work remotely and need some extra help to balance work and focus on achieving goals. Time management timers like the Focus-to-do and Pomotodo apps, let you set a timer to work in intervals and take a break once the timer goes off.
- Project management software
Using project management software like Trello and Asana are great for remote workers who need to be more productive. They help you to track the progress of tasks and projects, making it easier for you to know what you’re working on and what you need to work on next.
These are just a few of the tools that can help you to be more productive with your remote work. They can help you to block out distractions, organize your tasks and create a workflow that’s conducive to productivity. Take time to try them out and find the ones that work best for you.
These working from home productivity tips can help you to be more focused and productive. But at the end of the day, it is down to each of us to start to do the things that are going to help us most. By making the most of your environment, starting every day with a clear goal, and having the right mindset you can increase your productivity.
When is your energy at its highest? When do you get the most done?