How to work from home productively

How To Work From Home (Productively)

Work from home – the right way

One of the perks of working for yourself is the ability to work from home. There’s nothing better than being in your own space and firing through the tasks you need to get through. An added bonus for me is getting cat cuddles from Jasper throughout the day. While I am a huge fan of those days, I often find my productivity levels plummet, so I had to set myself some ground rules to make sure my time was spent just as effectively:

Dress For the Occasion

It may sound silly, but making sure you get up and dressed reasonably smartly does wonders for your productivity levels.  As tempting as it may be to stay in your jammies all day when you work from home, try to get up and ready like you would for a normal day.  Jump in the shower and put on something half way professional.  I’m not saying you have to be completely suited and booted, you should absolutely wear something that is comfortable and allows you to relax. But a coffee stained rabbit onesie will not produce the same results as leggings and a blouse. If you feel professional and ready to work you will do better work. 

Clear the Clutter

Just as important as what you are wearing is what your surroundings are.  Dedicate an area of your home to be your workplace and make sure it is free from clutter and mess.  This will allow you to have a clear mind and focus on the task at hand.   If you are surrounded by mess then you won’t feel nearly as organised and it will come through in your work.  To work from home productively you have to feel like you have a clear space and clear mind. It’s a bit like in the Sims when their ‘environment’ level is low and they get extremely grumpy. Mess is frustrating when you have work to do.

Take Breaks Somewhere Else

One of the best things that helps me to work from home is having a separate, allocated area for working.  It’s not only important for keeping a tidy workspace, but it also allows you to have a separate space for work and rest.  It’s so important to be able to move out of the spot you are in and take a break, even if it’s only a couple of feet.  When you take a break and go through to the kitchen or step outside for some air it allows you to reset.  Set yourself a schedule for the day with breaks planned in to make sure you have a chance to relax.  It also gives you time to think about non-work related things so that when you get back to it you are more focused.  This is also great for if you have trouble motivating yourself to work.  I used to be really bad for watching TV in between tasks and ending up spending way more time watching than working.  If you have scheduled breaks in a separate area it allows you to stay just as productive as you’d be in the office.

Stay Away From Chores

Along those same lines, if you have household errands and chores that need to be done as well, make sure you decide when you’re going to do them in advance as well.  If you’re going to work from home, then work.  If you don’t it is too easy to fall into the trap of  ‘Oh I’ll just get this done..’ and before you know it it’s 5pm and your work hasn’t been touched!   Remember that you are working and you (and other household members) should respect that as if it were any other working day.  Just because you are working from home does not mean that you are free to do piles of laundry.  I know sometimes people feel guilty about being home all day and not doing housework, and there is often an expectation or pressure from family members who don’t understand, but you have work to do and working from home doesn’t make that work any less important.  If you have chores that absolutely have to be done during the day then plan ahead and make sure you have time for everything.

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