March 2020

5 Tips for Staying Productive While Working from Home

Laptop and coffee in bed

Due to Coronavirus, the schools are shut down, the bars and restaurants are closed, and you, dear reader, have been asked by your employer to work from home. For many of us, myself included, this will be your first experience working away from the office. To help you cope with the change, I’ve prepared 5 tips for staying productive while working from home.

1. Find a quiet place to work

As this is the first time a lot of people will be working from home it is likely you don’t have a proper workstation set up or a home office available to you. Find yourself a room to set up where people in your house won’t be frequently visiting or hanging out in. 

The best rooms would typically be a bedroom or a dining room. As long as you find a room that people don’t frequent. People in your house will be in and out of the kitchen getting something to eat or drink and hanging out in your sitting room with the TV on, it’s best to avoid these rooms.

I’m currently set up in a spare bedroom. There’s random junk cluttering it up like old Halloween decorations but most importantly, no one in the house has a good reason to come in other than to disturb me, which leads me onto my next tip…

2. Communicate with the people you live with that you are home to work, not to have fun

The kids are out of school and your partner is off work but you, unfortunately, have a job that lets you work from home. You have emails to reply to and deadlines that need to be met so it is important to let them know you are not to be disturbed while you’re working.

Stick a “Do Not Disturb” sign on the door or even lock the door if you have to. The important thing is that you are not subject to constant distractions.

3. Pretend that you’re still making the trip out to the office

When working from home it can be very easy to wake up five minutes before you’re supposed to be working, stay in your pajamas and not leave the house the entire day. For your health and sanity’s sake, Don’t do this.

Bubbles waking up from up looking tired

Keep your normal routine you would be performing like you had to head out to the office each morning. Wake up, shower, dress professionally and go out for a quick walk around the block before getting started with work so you’ll be in the best mindset to get work done.

4. Don’t let social media consume your time

Social media, by design, is built to distract us from our daily lives. Since you’re not in the office you now don’t have coworkers or your boss to stop you going on Facebook or watching YouTube videos all day. It’s solely up to you to not get consumed.

Log out of all your accounts and remove any shortcuts you have to them in your browser. If that’s not enough you can download a chrome extension, StayFocusd, which can block access to those websites while you’re working.

If you’re taking a short break, you’re better off going for a short walk or having a quick chat with someone you’re living with rather than hopping on your Instagram.

5. Know when to stop

Without the separation of your workspace and your home, it can be difficult to differentiate the two, which is why it is now even more important to know when to switch yourself off from “work mode”.

Set an alarm for when you would normally be finished work. You don’t have to stop right then and there but just be aware that if you were in the office, that’s about the time you would be heading home.

At the end of the day, we’re only human. It’s important to make time for yourself, your friends and your loved ones.

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