Working From Home? How to Avoid Time Wasters & be Productive

By September 17, 2020 June 5th, 2023 Self Management Tips

Last Updated on June 5, 2023 by Dave Schoenbeck

In today’s world, many of us are suddenly faced with the problem of how to be productive working from home. Although many people report being able to focus better at home than in the workplace, others struggle with distractions, lack of communication, and other significant obstacles to a much higher degree.

Computer monitor view over female shoulder during a work from home group video call with colleagues

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 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 everyday challenges of working from home: 

  • Unstructured schedule: Many of us find it challenging to make and stick to a plan without the office structure. 
  • 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 have a workspace in our 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 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: Some employees can become distracted while surfing without the office environment. 
  • Lack of organization: It’s harder to stay on top of your projects, goals, and deadlines outside the office. 

How to Be Productive Working from Home

The key to a productive work from home experience is setting yourself up for success from the beginning so the inevitable distractions won’t have as much 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 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 essential to intercept miscommunications before they happen. Also, 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 specific tasks can help you stay motivated and ensure you’re making progress. 
  • Treat your home like the office. For example, you wouldn’t usually 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 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 essential to use a timer 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 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 you face daily. 

Coach Dave


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