While working from home is a dream come true for many, it takes an immaculate amount of self-discipline to begin working when you don’t have a boss hovering over you, or the sound of a loud alarm screaming at you to wake up. The disheartening lack of productivity looms over many of us as it’s so unbelievably simple to get distracted when you’re in a comfortable, relaxed environment. Luckily, there are many tips and tricks for home-based businesses to help increase creativity and stay focused. Here are 7 ways you can stay productive while working from home.
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1. Get Dressed
Just like any other job, you would be required to get out of your PJs and get dressed. Working from home is no different. Just as others instinctively judge you for your appearance, you will do the same to yourself. The longer you wear your unkempt clothing, the more unkempt you’ll feel. There’s no need for a pants suit, but think of comfortable clothing such as maxi dresses and skirts or boyfriend jeans and a plain white tee with a cardigan. Getting dressed will put you into a work mindset, without allowing you to feel too comfortable.
2. Have a Dedicated Workspace
While working on your Macbook in bed all day may seem appealing, it ties in with the ‘get dressed’ tip above. The longer you’re in bed, the longer you’ll feel run-down. It’s important to be in a working environment that allows cultivation of creativity as well as productivity — and your mattress will not help you in those departments.
3. Have a Regular Schedule
Set your virtual office hours. While one of the outstanding advantages of working from home allows you to have flexibility with your work schedule, it can also sabotage your productivity and make it difficult for you to get over your own slugishness. Set a routine schedule, with the inclusion of your one hour lunch break. I love waking up early to work everyday because it feels so much better to complete an 8-hour “shift” at 3PM than finishing on the polar end of the spectrum at 3AM. Treat it like a “regular” job with a regular set schedule and you won’t wake up feeling exhausted or uninspired.
4. Diversify your Tasks
Have you ever had one of those super repetitive jobs? Doing one confined task for your entire work shift? Let’s say you worked in a factory line and your only duty all day was to put a lid on a can, or you were an event planner who only did one type of party, the exact same way 365 times a year. It would be very taxing on your sanity and wellbeing, right? Right! It’s been proven that repetitive tasks intensify feelings of fatigue and diminish creative flow. Work in comfort by using different mental muscles and allowing yourself to take a break from one activity to another.
5. Plan your Day
First thing you should be doing before beginning any work, is to make a checklist. Know and prioritize exactly what needs to be done for the day, and check off each note when it has been completed. There are many reasons as to why it’s so important to write things down, such as the guarantee of organization, and even a clearer thought process.
6. Eliminate Distractions
It’s become so easy to get lost in online diversions as all of the information we need is constantly at our fingertips, tempting us to keep clicking our precious business hours away. Remember: Social media is there for your business during your designated work hours, and as entertainment afterwards. What I’ve started doing is writing my blog posts in Pages, and formatting them in WordPress later. I also put my cellphone on airplane mode while I write. Why, you ask? It forces me to stay off of the Internet where all of those cool, nifty distractions like Pinterest and the puppy section of Youtube are. Another immensely helpful tool and tactic to stay off of social media while focusing on work is to schedule your pins, tweets, and posts ahead of time. There are plenty of online schedulers (Tailwind is my favourite) that allow you to promote your content and business, without day round social media labour. All you need to do is set your desired times and posts first thing in the morning and get back to that to-do list!
7. Maintain a Social Life
Working from home can be very lonely, particularly in the beginning stages. Many individuals who work from home have a tendency to isolate themselves and overlap work and life. Make sure to get out of the house and go see your friends and family, go for a walk — Anything that removes you from the front of your computer screen and gets you out in the “real world”!
What are your tips for staying productive?