In today’s world, many of us are suddenly faced with the conundrum of how to be productive working from home. Although many people report being able to focus better at home than in the workplace, others are struggling with distractions, lack of communication, and other significant obstacles to a much higher degree.
Fortunately, there are ways to optimize your work from home routine to maximize productivity and learn how to avoid time wasters. Here’s what you need to know:
Common Work from Home Challenges
Learning how to be productive working from home requires employees to overcome different obstacles than they typically face in the office. Here are a few of the common challenges of working from home:
- Unstructured schedule: Without the structure of the office, many of us find it difficult to make and stick to a schedule.
- Unspecified workspace: Workers with small apartments might not have an area they can designate for work.
- Poorly designed workspace: In addition, many of us who do have a workspace in their home find it’s not ideal. It might be loud, in the way of family members, etc.
- Too many errands: When working from home, it’s easy to become distracted by things like chores, doctor’s appointments, deliveries, childcare, pet care, and more.
- Insufficient communication: It’s harder to communicate with managers and coworkers when you can’t see them in person.
- Distracting websites: Without the office environment, some employees can become distracted while surfing the web.
- Lack of organization: It’s harder to stay on top of your projects, goals, and deadlines outside of the office.
How to Be Productive Working from Home
The key to a productive work from home experience is to set yourself up for success from the beginning so the inevitable distractions won’t have as much of an impact. Here are some tips for working from home effectively.
- Carve out a workspace where you can focus. You can do this even in a small apartment by making a few tweaks to your environment. Clear off space at the table or organize your desk, then devote that space to work alone. Don’t work on the couch or in bed, even if it’s tempting. Also, beware of your backdrop for those all too frequent video meetings.
- Check-in more than usual with colleagues and your boss. It’s important to intercept miscommunications before they happen. Send regular updates to your manager and any coworkers you’re collaborating with to keep everyone up-to-date with exactly where you are on your projects.
- Set deadlines for yourself, even if they’re not necessary. Although your projects might not be time-sensitive, setting deadlines to accomplish certain tasks can help you stay motivated and will ensure you’re making progress.
- Treat your home like the office. You wouldn’t normally stop in the middle of work to go home and clean your kitchen, so try to resist the temptation to get chores done during work hours now that you’re working from home.
- Use the Pomodoro method. If you find you have trouble focusing, use the Pomodoro method: set a timer for 25 minutes and work for that amount of time, then take a 5-minute break to do whatever you want. It’s important to use a timer in order to keep yourself on track.
Maximizing your productivity at home requires learning how to avoid time wasters. Once you make a few changes to your daily habits, you should be better able to stay on top of your tasks.
If you’re unsure of how to be productive working from home, a business coach can help. Sign up for a complimentary coaching session and we’ll discuss how to combat the work from home distractions that you face in your daily routine.