Productivity when working at home can be a challenge. It’s a different environment from an office building, a library, or a coffee shop. Those are places where many can buckle down.
Your home, however, is a more comfortable environment. Typically, it’s where you return to relax after a day of work.
That doesn’t mean that you can’t be productive at home. You might not be able to simply turn on a switch, but there are still ways to boost production from home.
There are ways you can set yourself up for success. Here are six of them.
Create Boundaries to Increase Productivity
You need an environment that promotes productivity. There can be all kinds of distractions that can steal your time.
Boundaries will be different for everyone as everyone has a unique living situation. To create boundaries, you have to work with what you have.
You should create a space dedicated to working that separates you from the rest of the household traffic. In an ideal circumstance, you might assign an entire room as an office.
However, not everyone has that kind of luxury. If the corner of a room or a different seat on the couch is all you have to work with, make it happen. Designate that spot as your workstation.
Boundaries between you and other household activities should be put in place to avoid distractions.
Place a boundary between you and your social media. Stay off of social media, stay away from the tv, or any other temptation that can derail you from the task at hand.
Respect your workday in the same manner if you were in a company office. If there were things that you can’t do working in someone else’s office, don’t do it in your own workspace.
While a focused mind and strong character are internal factors that contribute to productivity, the location of your physical body can impact your results.
If you’ve ever commuted to work, then you know all about creating routines. You wake up, perhaps to an alarm, hit the shower, get the coffee going, grab a bite to eat, grab your belongings, and hit the road.
Even at the workplace, you wind up developing a routine to complete your tasks—methods of doing things more efficiently. Apply these same principals to your home office.
Without adhering to a routine, as well as several sub-routines, you’ll find it quite challenging to increase your productivity.
Routines simplify your life. They can help you perform activities without thinking about them or expending too much energy.
Identify Top Tasks
Set aside some time either at the beginning of your workday or at the end to prepare for the upcoming day. Develop a task list for yourself to follow.
First, note all of the tasks and activities that you need to work on. Then, you can prioritize all of those tasks as you consider which ones are most important and provide the most value. With top tasks identified, you’ll know what to shoot for throughout the day.
If you see your entire list is a mile long, identify a reasonable number of tasks to focus on during your work hours for the day and save the rest for a later day.
You might realize that every task is not vital. You can put some tasks in a backlog. This way you can keep your work schedule to a reasonable amount of hours and avoid overworking yourself.
Find the Best Times to Accomplish Specific Tasks
With your task list, you can find times in your day to tackle specific tasks. Figure out how you can make the most out of the time you have to complete them.
Some tasks are flexible and can be done at any time. Others might depend on an external factor, for example, a team member to deliver a report to you.
Another way to look at finding the best time to tackle tasks is to figure out the times when you’re naturally the most productive.
For example, if you’ve found that you’re the most energetic and productive between noon and 3 pm, reserve that period for your most intensive tasks. Use the time before then to do the tasks that might not require as much brainpower.
Everyone’s situation is different, so keep track of your energy levels throughout the day. Even note when an outside distraction might occur daily and schedule around that.
Kids or Pets? Take Care of Them
You can give them crafts, educational games, or other activities. Set up some video conferences with other families so that they can interact with other kids. Keep them within a safe distance so you can respond to any needs that they have.
You can set a timer to take some short breaks and check in with your kids or pets. Every once in a while you can take a longer break to engage a bit more with them in their activity. It’s a good opportunity to stretch your legs.
Dedicating break time with the kids or pets will help to maintain the boundary between your work time and family time.
While some may find it difficult to stay productive, it may be difficult to stop once you’re in a flow. If you were previously commuting to a work location, you stopped working when you left the office.
When you’re working from home, it may be easy to just continue working. You can easily overwork yourself before you know it.
Even though you may not feel it, you’re putting additional stress on yourself.
Give yourself some time to relax and decompress to avoid being occupied with work. You don’t want to eliminate any work-life balance nor do you want to ignore the other things in your life.
Set an alarm or some other trigger that will get you out of your workstation. This can even help you stay productive throughout the whole week.
Your company, your manager, nor customers will wait for you to produce. While some may understand things aren’t easy, what they ultimately want is production and something that provides value.
You can increase your productivity and set yourself up for success. You may have to test and tweak to find your optimal environment. Find out what works for your situation.
Isaiah Stone is a digital analyst in the consumer goods industry. He is passionate about business growth, productivity, and accomplishing more. He contributes content on those topics to OAKFLOW and Growth Learner. Connect with him on LinkedIn and Twitter.