Unlock your secrets to productively work from home
I always loved the office vibe. The melting pot of colleague banter, swapping creative ideas, the adrenalin of deadlines – and feeling part of something bigger than me.
Seven years, two kids and a move overseas with hubby later, working from home is a whole different ball game. Being productive each day is a challenge, but here are some super simple strategies I use to keep on track.
Create a routine and stick to it
Routines are often given a negative spin. Yet they can be an essential tool to help us save time and create healthy habits for our bodies. Before I had kids, I followed the same routine every morning to get to work by 9 am. By doing this, it signalled to my brain and body ‘It’s go-time’.
So, once I’ve walked my kids to school my routine begins, starting with a workout. For me, it clears the mental clutter, I'm empowered, and I love that it’s ticked that off my to-do list. And exercise boosts productivity – so even if it takes an hour away from my laptop, I know it makes me far more productive than if I skipped it.
It’s very easy to get caught up working in your gym gear so it’s critical to change into normal clothes straight away or the day can completely get away from me. Dressing like I’m actually going to see other humans makes me feel more professional and able to function at a higher level.
Next, I head straight to my workspace (reaping the benefits of the shortest commute I’ve ever had) and work in the same spot each day. Away from the distractions of the rest of the house. Repetition can be a great thing.
Find your motivation to work productively
I’ve always needed a buzz. I thrive on noise, energy and atmosphere. Most of the time that’s part of ‘the working in an office package’. When you take that away, working from home can be lonely. So, create what you need to stay motivated.
For me, it’s building in regular ‘away from home time’. It keeps me motivated when I plan my week ahead, and I look forward to this change of scene. In the future I may look into a shared workspace, but for right now, heading to my local café does the trick.
When I leave the laundry and half-eaten breakfast bowls of Cheerios behind me, I can be 100% focused on my work tasks. Outside of my house, I absorb the energy and noise of the world around me. I'm refuelled and reminded that there’s life going on all around me.
Put the phone down…
There’s a ton of apps out there to help manage your productivity like Self Control on Mac and Forest on Android. But to me they can be even more distracting. So, I stick with setting my own limits for my phone and social media.
I’m terrible with distraction at the best of times, so I remove anything that’s going to break my concentration while I work. My phone alerts are switched off, my phone is on silent and laid face down. Simple stuff, but it makes a huge difference to the quality of my work.
It takes discipline to break away from social media and the reality that we are accessible all the time. Of course, some days I’m guilty of sniffing around on Instagram. But reminding myself that using my time effectively means I’ll get quality ME time at the end of the day. That’s a powerful incentive!
Setting a timer on your phone is incredibly helpful to break your work day into achievable chunks. It motivates me to stay focused and I feel a sense of achievement when I beat the clock. Plus, it helps me work a heck of a lot faster.
The take out
Pretty simple tools, right? Nothing ground-breaking. But for me, these tactics work. By figuring out what motivates me, sticking to a routine and limiting social media, I give myself the best chance for a productive workday. And make working from home work for me.