How to Stay Focused and Productive: 9 Work from Home Tips
1. Establish a Schedule
Just like any other work environment, there will be days when you won’t feel motivated to work. When you work in a physical office, your co-workers and managers can help you snap out of this funk.
When you’re working from home though, there are a million and one things that can distract you from work. One way to hold on to a schedule is to maintain a clock-in time even when you’re not in the office. That way, if you aren’t motivated, you’ll start to work anyway.
It might be helpful to schedule your pre-work activities too. Try to wake up at a specified time every workday and establish a morning routine that may include activities like exercising, doing laundry, or taking a shower.
It’s also equally important to establish a clock-out time to create clear boundaries between your work and home life. Otherwise, if you don’t give yourself enough time to rest and relax, you may burn out.
Tip: Don’t forget to dress up (especially your top half). That way, you’ll still look professional if your boss or clients spontaneously video call you.
2. Set Up a Dedicated Work Space
Setting up a dedicated workspace will help you stay focused. If you’re working in a full house, setting up a workspace helps create boundaries for you and your family.
If you’re working alone, a functional workspace will help promote productivity. Here are a few things to consider when you’re picking your workspace:
- Distractions – Look for a space that’s free from distractions. If distractions are unavoidable, find ways to neutralize them in advance.
- Foot traffic – If you can, pick a space that’s out of everyone else’s way. That way, you won’t have to keep accommodating others while you’re working.
- Comfort – If you can, find a good chair and table for your workspace. If you aren’t comfortable, it’ll be harder to focus.
- Equipment – A good workspace should have everything you need within arms reach. Make sure you have easy access to all of the essential office supplies.
If you’re working from home for an extended period, it may be worthwhile to invest in your space. Things like a good office chair or a handy extension cord can do wonders for your productivity.
3. Make a To-Do List
To help you focus on your work tasks for the day, try to start each workday by outlining your responsibilities. Try to accomplish the more challenging tasks first.
It’s best to get difficult tasks out of the way early when you’re still full of energy. A to-do list helps you focus on your deliverables and stay on task.
Remember, work from home set-ups is only sustainable if you’re a self-starter. So you need to know how to prioritize tasks.
Tip: It’s also important to consider time-sensitive tasks when you’re outlining your to-do list. If you need to, don’t hesitate to consult your manager and get their feedback about urgent tasks.
4. Take Regular Breaks
It may seem counterintuitive, but studies show that taking breaks helps improve productivity. Here are a few advantages of taking breaks at work:
- Enhances your physical and emotional well-being.
- Helps clear your mind to avoid overthinking and decision fatigue.
- Renews work motivation.
- Increases creativity.
- Improves memory and learning.
So even if you’re working from home, make sure to schedule in a regular lunch break and coffee break. That way, you’ll be able to sustain productivity throughout the day.
Tips: Your break can be as simple as standing up and stretching in your home. If you’re not in self-isolation, you can also go out for a walk as long as you maintain social distance.
5. Schedule Check-Ins With Friends and Family
It’s essential to stay connected with your family and friends when you work from home. Isolation is a huge demotivator, and it may harm your work performance.
To make sure you aren’t wasting your work hours chatting online or talking to friends on the phone, set aside some check-in time with a friend or two each day. For example, you may want to check-in with a sick friend or your parents.
You can do it in the morning before you clock-in at work or even over your lunch or coffee break. You can keep your check-in brief and reserve lengthier conversations for your free time.
6. Be Mindful of Your Diet
When you work from home, you may not be as physically active as you used to be. Eliminating the commute to and from work automatically cuts down your physical activity.
That’s why it’s important to be mindful of your diet when you work from home. Perhaps you need to cut down on portion sizes or watch your coffee intake, but make sure you’re maintaining a balanced and healthy diet.
Avoid overly processed or sugary foods. Not only is filling your diet with lean meats, fruits, vegetables, and legumes great for weight management, but it also helps promote your body’s immune system.
7. Prepare Breakfast and Lunch in Advance
As you learn to become more mindful of your diet, it might help if you prepare your breakfast and lunch in advance. If you want to stick to your work schedule, it’ll be challenging to prepare a healthy and balanced lunch during your scheduled breaks.
If you don’t prepare your meals in advance, you might be tempted to eat highly processed foods that are usually easier to whip up. Besides, you may end up spending most of your break, making your meal instead of enjoying it.
Tip: Stock your pantry with snacks that are both healthy AND delicious (like dark chocolate covered almonds). That way, you won’t be tempted to eat junk.
8. Manage Your Stress
Transitioning into a work from home set-up can be stressful, especially if it wasn’t your choice. The circumstances of this transition can be overwhelming. Still, it’s important to find ways to cope with stress and maintain your well-being.
Take some time to develop some coping mechanisms that you do whenever things get too stressful. It could be as simple as petting your dog or cat for a few minutes.
Quick breathing exercises or a 10-minute meditation can also help relieve some of the physical symptoms of stress. It’s different for everyone, but it’s worthwhile to find a quick and calming activity that can help ease your anxiety.
9. Plan Fun Evenings
It’s important to reward yourself after a long day at work. Sometimes though, fatigue from a long workday makes it difficult to think of activities to do for that evening.
If you plan your fun evenings ahead of time, you’ll have something to look forward to all day while you’re working. Fun evenings at home don’t have to be complicated.
Ask for Netflix recommendations from a friend who knows your taste. Or spend the evening cooking your favorite meal.
Staying focused on your goals and priorities is a must if you want to work from home successfully. It may take some time to get used to it, but these tips can help ease the transition.
Which of these immune system boosters are you going to try? Let us know in the comments section below.