Working from the comfort of your own home definitely brings its advantages. It cuts out the commute, brings more flexibility, and is generally a more relaxing experience. However, those benefits can lead to an unproductive working environment if you don’t bring in an element of routine and discipline.

 

Maximizing productivity when working from home requires you to adapt. With the help of this article, you’ll soon be armed with plenty of strategies to make your days spent working from home as productive as they are in the office.

 

15 Tips for Improving Productivity When Working from Home

Need help staying productive when working remotely? Here are 15 hacks to help you generate a motivated mindset that gets things done.

 

1. Prepare like any other day

The only significant change between a day in the office and a day working from home should be the commute. There’s no hopping in the car or on the bus, but all other preparation should remain.

 

Get up early, not snoozing the alarm, then wake up with a shower and a good breakfast; these are all things that make up the perfect way to start your day. Working from home shouldn’t mean failing to prepare for a productive day.

 

2. Structure your day

Even when your day begins, you should try and emulate a normal working day in the office as much as possible. Structure your days as you normally would. If you normally draw up a to-do list or note down a framework of what you’ll be working on and for how long – continue to do this when working from home.

 

Structure and routine are important parts of a productive day no matter where it happens.

 

3. Have a home working space…

Working from your bed or on the sofa in front of the TV is absolutely to be avoided. Doing this means you’re not placing yourself in the right frame of mind to work. You can quickly be distracted by the TV or other people in your home.

 

To avoid this, have a dedicated working space, ideally in a separate room to your bedroom and other rooms you use to relax. Set up a desk with everything you need on it. When you enter this space, you do so to focus and work hard. Without a dedicated workspace, it can be hard to enter this mindset.

 

4. …and leave it decluttered

Some workers are naturally untidy – but it can lead to an easily distracted mind. If your desk has your smartphone, a magazine you’re currently reading, and something related to your after-work hobby sat on it, your mind will stray from your work too easily.

 

The only things you need to work should be sat on your desk when the day starts, reducing the potential for procrastination.

 

5. Play to your strengths

A significant benefit of home working is the increased flexibility it offers you. The traditional 9-5 working hours are becoming a thing of the past. Many organizations will allow you to work around these hours so long as you get your work done.

 

This allows you to play to your strengths. If you know you work better in the mornings, take advantage and get up an hour or so earlier to maximize output during this time. If you work best in short bursts with more breaks in between that will see your day run a little longer, then go with that.

 

You know the conditions that bring about your best performance. The ability to work from home should allow you to follow these conditions closely.

 

6. Be disciplined with breaks

Most of the things you enjoy doing are contained within your home: your favorite Netflix show or video game is just a couple of taps of the remote away; the musical instrument you’ve started playing is in the next room; your local bar is just a short walk away.

 

These are all potential distractions that can take up huge chunks of your day if you let them. Breaks are an incredibly important part of a productive day, the mental recharging that takes place will allow you to refocus better when you return to work. If you choose one of these distractions on your lunch break or during another break in the day, just be disciplined and don’t go over the time you’ve allocated.

 

7. Prepare and plan

Preparation is a huge part of succeeding at any work-based tasks. Without the formality of the office or the face-to-face interactions with team members who are working towards the same goal, preparation and planning can quickly go out of the window.

 

Planning is a great way to remain focused and motivated, especially when trying to break down bigger projects into manageable chunks. Before you start each project, list the smaller tasks that need to be completed to finish the job. That way, you’ll constantly feel like you’re making steady progress, rather than being daunted by a goal that’s far in the distance.

 

8. Make use of productivity apps

To help you, make use of productivity and organizational tools. App stores are full of solutions to help you get your day in order. From note-taking to project management to just getting your calendar in order – there’s a world of digital options available to cut down on admin time and keep you focused and on task all day.

 

9. Consider using music

Everyone’s different, but a lot of people find music to be an important part of boosting productivity. Research has shown that music can help you to be more productive, with calming, soothing tones found to be the best. Just make sure you avoid any lyrics; your brain will latch onto the words being sung and leave you unable to concentrate.

 

You might also want to play it through some headphones. Home can be full of distractions if you live when children or friends – headphones allow you to cut out exterior noise that might break your focus.

 

10. Set yourself goals

Goal setting is a huge part of motivating yourself in your career, and you can use it to good effect when working from home. At the beginning of every week, set out a list of things you want to achieve. This could be something directly affecting your work, like hitting a target or completing a project, or something beyond work like staying off social media for a day.

 

Make each of your goals a part of your definition of a productive day. The feeling of achievement as you tick them off will keep you motivated and play a part in pushing you onto the next goal. When you achieve one of these goals, reward yourself with a small break or a snack – keeping you motivated to get your next reward.

 

11. Focus on one thing at a time

We often think multitasking is an enviable skill, but when it comes to producing good work, it’s something we should all avoid. Stanford University conducted research into multitasking but found that our brains are just not cut out for the job.

 

We’re only capable of focusing on one thing at a time. If you try and bring another element in, you’ll struggle to complete either task to the best of your ability. Stick to one thing at a time.

 

12. Use your home appliances

Working from home is great for getting life goals and general ‘life admin’ in order. You have more time to do basic things like laundry and washing the dishes. You could even use these as timers to help you work harder throughout the day.

 

You know how long a laundry cycle takes. Set out what you want to get done before the cycle ends, challenging yourself to work hard for that period. It’s amazing to see yourself respond positively to the internal games you involve yourself in.

 

13. Get some exercise or fresh air

This could come as part of your routine in the morning, afternoon, or evening, but heading outside will be a huge part of remaining productive when you’re inside. Exercise is a great stressbuster; it helps you to reflect and release any pent-up energy. In the morning, it can help set you up for the day, or in the evening it can release any built-up tension and mark the end of that working day.

 

Either way, regular exercise will help lower stress and improve sleep, which will help you focus whether you’re in the office or not.

 

14. Keep up lines of communication

Thanks to the evolution of digital communication and messaging tools, there is no reason for comms to drop between teams when working from home. Tools like Slack, Skype, and virtual phone numbers allow for instant communication, and transferring files and presenting information is as easy as it would be face-to-face.

 

Make sure you’re using these tools to the maximum effect, keeping regular communication with team members and working together to deliver results.

 

15. Switch off at the right time

Structured working hours do have their benefits in that you know what time you must finish that day’s tasks by. If you’re working flexibly from home, you can easily slip into the mindset of doing it later, leaving you working long hours into the evening as you couldn’t focus during the day.

 

Work out what hours suit you best and stick to them. Maintaining that discipline is key to staying on task every day.

 

You don’t need to introduce all of these tips to have a productive day. The key is to create the right routine for you and stick to it. Set the tone each morning and it can set up your day, every day.