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16 Tips for Staying Productive While Working from Home

Many people enjoy the freedom of working from home, regardless of what industry they may be in. More companies today than ever before are allowing their employees to telecommute, and a growing number of people are providing freelance services in many different occupational areas.

While working from home does have many benefits like being able to set your hours or working in your ball shorts while listening to your Kdot’s To Pimp A Butterfly, perhaps the biggest challenge is being able to stay focused and productive in such a casual environment. When working from home, you can also encounter distractions and diversions that you will not find in a traditional workplace, like your television, social media, neighbors, or even your pets.

If you are working from home and looking for ideas to help you stay productive so you can continue to produce consistently high-quality work without allowing the distractions of home to reduce your effectiveness, here are several tips to put you on the right path:

  1. Establish a clear work space in your home so you can separate your “work” life from your “home” life while you are working. Whether it is an entire room or a desk in the corner, you should have one area strictly reserved for working.
  2. Do not allow yourself to get distracted by your cell phone, social networking, or other activities that aren’t part of your “work day.” Turn off your phone, don’t log on to your social networks, and don’t spend time engaged in personal interests like email, online shopping, playing games, or other activities.
  3. Make sure you take breaks during your “work day” at home, even if you just step outside and spend a few minutes enjoying the afternoon sun or heading to the gym for a quick workout. You can experience burn-out at home just as quickly as you can in a traditional office.
  4. While it is comfortable to work in your ball shorts, don’t do so. Getting dressed before working at home will help put you in a more productive frame of mind.
  5. As you would at the office, so should you at home — keep your work area organized and clutter free, that is.
  6. Set a schedule and stick to it. If you are working at random times throughout the day and do not establish a “work schedule” for yourself, it is much easier to allow home distractions to take you away from your work-related tasks.
  7. If you find yourself stuck in a rut where you simply aren’t being productive during the day, stick with it but do something else. Put your current project aside and start on another one, reorganize your office supplies, clean your workspace, or find something else to do that still results in work-related progress at the end of the day.
  8. Start your day with a healthy breakfast and a short “wake me up” session of exercise.
  9. Prioritize your work projects and keep a list on-hand of the work you need to accomplish.
  10. Don’t work while lying in bed with a laptop or while laying on the couch watching Netflix. You should have a desk where you work, complete with a comfortable office chair.
  11. Make sure you get plenty of sleep. You cannot be productive if all you want to do is go back to bed, especially when your bed is just a few steps away.
  12. When your “scheduled” work day over, walk away from it. You do not make repeated trips back to the office when you have a traditional job, so don’t do it at home, either.
  13. If music distracts you, don’t play any while you are working. If you enjoy background noise, however, turn on your favorite playlist and keep the volume low.
  14. Make sure your friends, family members, roommates, or other persons who may interrupt you throughout the day know that when you are working. You should not be disturbed unless it is unavoidable or an emergency.
  15. Don’t become consumed by your work. When you work from home, it’s easy to continue working well into the night or in the wee hours of the morning. You need to make time for yourself and socialize with your friends and family. Use a software program, web-based utility, or even just a pen and paper to track your time. When you start paying attention to how much time you spend working versus allowing yourself to be distracted, you are more likely to resist the temptation of all those distractions and keep your productivity level as high as possible.

When you recognize the areas in your life that can decrease your productivity, it is easier to adapt to or circumvent them so you can stay productive. Working from home can be a pleasant, happy, and stress-free experience, and it should be!

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