This is a partnered post by Linda Reyes.
It may seem like living the dream, but working from home comes with its own set of challenges, most of which come in the form of distractions and temptations. The dog wants to be let out. Your favorite TV show is on. There’s that leftover cake in the fridge calling your name.
We get it. Work pales in comparison to all those other distractions. But it must be done, and we have a few tips to keep you on task and make your home office a more productive workplace.
Set Work Hours
Not having a set schedule may be one of the obvious perks of working from home, but it really does help to designate certain hours during the day as working hours. Instead of sleeping in, begin work at the same time each day. It will help your body adjust and keep your mind in the “work week” mode.
Designate an Office Space
Don’t rely on common areas to get work done. One of the best ways to ensure productivity is to set up your own office, away from distractions. Your home office should be just that – an office – dedicated solely to work. Set it up so that it has all the essentials – desk, computer, printer – whatever you need to conduct your work without having to leave the room. Make it a space you’ll want to be in. Paint it a nice color, make sure there’s a window and add some decorative or fun elements; try an old school paper and quill set for jotting things down, or simply set up pictures of friends and family. If you’re worried about appearances (and you should be in the business world), you can add some personality in your office with a modern twist to ordinary products.
Dress For Work
Another one of the bonuses of working from home: pjs all day. But in reality, those comfy pjs could be part of the problem. Make an effort to dress for the day. It doesn’t have to be a full suit or business attire of course, but making the effort to look presentable and go through a morning routine will help put you in the mindset of a workday.
Make a List
Check lists really do work wonders. Before beginning your day, plan out and prioritize what needs to be done. Once you’ve decided on your tasks for the day, make sure you have everything you need to get them completed on hand, and then go to work. Most importantly: stick to the list. Don’t end the day until all to-do’s are completed and crossed off. With dozens of apps and list managers, it’s never been easier to stay on track.
Don’t Deal with Distracting People
Not everyone will understand that working from home still means working, and that set working hours are not to be interrupted. Unfailingly, someone will call and want to chat or a friend will stop by because they know you’re home. So cut out the distractions. Don’t answer the phone. Politely remind you friends that you’re in the middle of work and don’t have time for coffee talk. Be firm, and don’t take no for an answer.
Keep an Eye for Details
Invest in some items that will help keep you on track. Get a comfortable office chair with enough support to last the day. Make sure your lighting is bright and welcoming with a window if possible – don’t make work any more daunting by setting up your office in a dark cave.
Last but certainly not least, remember that a few breaks are necessary to a healthy work day. Just completed a major task on your list? Stretch your legs and celebrate with a walk outside. Mind blank and staring at an empty computer screen? Give yourself a jolt by making a cup of tea or light snack. Do something every few hours to get yourself moving and give your mind a break; you’ll come back feeling more refreshed and ready to tackle your next tasks.
Incorporate these few items into your routine, and you’ll be surprised by just how much you can get done in a day.