How to Be Productive Working from Home


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Working from home is more common than ever before. Brought on by Covid, a larger range of options, or a desire to live a free and comfortable lifestyle, thousands of people have opted for a work from home job. But being a productive work from home employee can feel impossible. It’s absolutely doable to be highly productive while working from home, but it can be challenging to figure out what it looks like.

If you’re used to a high-paced work environment where someone is always giving you your next task, being productive working from home may not feel like a natural adjustment. But don’t worry – I’ve got you covered. Starting your day off right is key, so if you’re not a morning person, check out this recent blog post on How to Become a Morning Person Overnight!

Working from home has been a huge blessing in my life, giving me more freedom, flexibility, and opportunities to do things that I really love. It took a while to get in the rhythm of it, but since I got it, I haven’t looked back. After over a year, here are the best tips I’ve learned for how to be productive working from home.

How to Be Productive Working from Home

Don’t work in sweats

Okay, I know one of the biggest perks of working from home is not having to get ready every day, but trust me on this one. If you stay in PJs, you’ll never feel like you’re working. And while that may sound appealing, it also means you’ll never get anything done. This doesn’t mean you have to put on a suit or skirt, but even throwing on jeans and a t-shirt makes a world of difference. 

Don’t work in bed

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Similarly, you can’t get anything done if you’re always in relaxation mode. You may not have access to a full home office, but at the very least, sit yourself at the kitchen table with some headphones. Ideally, put a desk or work station in a bedroom or other space in your home. Get creative! Currently, I’m in the process of turning my walk-in closet into a home office space. I’ve barely started, but even so — just a desk, chair, and bulletin board have made me feel more comfortable and helped me get more done than ever before.

Make a to-do list

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Whether you’re running your own business or taking almost all your instructions from someone else, you NEED to make a to-do list. In all likelihood, the biggest challenge you’ll face working from home is staying focussed and on task. I usually have a list of monthly goals and must-dos. Each Monday, I make a weekly to-do list of the things I KNOW must get done that week. Every morning, I write what I will accomplish that day in my planner. This way, I can see both the big picture and the day-to-day at once. It keeps me from getting overwhelmed, and I can stay on task with a confident understanding of how what I’m doing fits into the bigger picture of my work. 

Take breaks

No matter where you are, sitting in front of a screen all day is exhausting. Getting up to move around every 20-40 minutes keeps your brain active and engaged in what you’re doing. Your energy levels will stay high and your mind won’t wander nearly as much. Just be careful with how you spend them — putting on a movie may not provide the smoothest transition back into productive work from home mode. Going for a quick walk, grabbing a snack, or making a coffee gives your mind a chance to reset rather than refocusing entirely on something else.

Get out of the house every day

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After over a year of working from home, one of the most important things I’ve learned is to get out of the house every day. Even if you don’t have plans, even if you’re social distancing. Go for a walk, run around the block, bike to the park. Whatever you need to do. It makes a world of difference in your mental health. 20 minutes a day of exposure to good weather has been proven to significantly benefit your health when consistent, so make sure you’re getting out there every day.

Drink water

This might be the weirdest one on the list, and it’s not work-from-home specific, but it’s been transformative in my work life. Having a glass of water next to you all day is a simple and effective game changer. It’s scientifically proven to improve your focus, and staying hydrated helps you stay awake, alert, and prevents things like headaches or discomfort (which, when you sit around all day, matters). Drinking water is support for your brain, body, health, and productivity. 

Celebrate every win

Working from home takes some getting used to. Don’t compare your past work setting and average daily accomplishments to your day one of working from home. Give yourself grace to figure out what this will look like for you and what routines are most effective. It’s not going to look the same, and that’s okay. Celebrate your wins! Did you get the bare minimum done today? Great! Enjoy it. Be proud of yourself. Don’t make excuses, but don’t tear yourself apart for learning and trying new things.

Separate work from life

Cannot stress this enough. As working from home become your new normal, it’s easy to feel like you are always on the clock. Constantly checking emails, following up on assignments or inquiries, contacting new clients, etc… But you need to mentally and emotionally punch out for the day. Pick a time, be it 4pm, 6pm, or 11 — when you will take at least two hours to simply exist and enjoy your evening. Read a book, meet a friend, watch a movie. You’ll need that time in order to wake up tomorrow and be ready to work again. Running yourself into the ground is arguably easier and more tempting when you’re setting the schedule, but it won’t get you anywhere. Setting healthy boundaries and time limits gives you mental and emotional freedom and stability.

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Working from home is a great option. Maximizing productivity while you work from home is even better — when you put these rhythms into place, you’ll find yourself completing tasks faster, at a higher quality, with more free time and options than you’ve ever known. Productivity at home takes a while to develop, but the skill set will serve you well.

I’d love to hear from you — what are your best tips for productivity when you’re working from home? 

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