Create a Designated Work Space
Staying focused is the hardest thing about working from home. Focus can be compromised if there aren’t habits to distinguish between “homelife” and “worklife”. That is why having a proper workspace is crucial to maximizing productivity while working from home.
This spot should be comfortable and somewhat isolated. Spare bedrooms and basements are great for home workspaces since it’s quite easy to make them secluded areas.
Regardless of space or location, the important part is being able to distinguish your workspace from spots you normally relax in. Avoid working on beds and couches. Try and mimic a desk as much as possible. The workspace should be designed to help associate that area with work as much as possible.
Set a Designated Work Period
Another key aspect in distinguishing “worklife” from “homelife” is setting specific hours for work.Everyday specific work hours should be set and stuck too. Flowing freely between work time and chill time can seriously damage consistency and begin a habit of procrastination.
The luxury of working from home is that work hours can be set at the person's discretion. It’s just important to stick to this designated time period to build consistency. Informing work colleagues and family members helps with staying accountable for this time period.
Make To-Do Lists
Sticking to priorities also becomes difficult when working from home. Without having any supervision, or constant reminders from superiors on what the task at hand is, it is extremely easy to get off track.
Every morning, make a to-do list of everything that needs to be completed that day. Set time limits for each task based on importance. Once a task has been completed, cross it off the list. Keep a folder with all daily to-do lists as a point of reference.
Completing a to-do list exactly as planned is often very unrealistic. The important part is documenting priorities and staying focused on the task at hand without any supervision.
Strive to “Earn” Breaks
Taking breaks is still very important. However, when working from home it is very easy to take breaks on impulse. With no supervision and being in the comfort of home it is very easy to give in to randomly watching an episode on Netflix, making a snack, or just plain-old lounging around.
Associating breaks with a specific level of productivity obtained is a great way to designate break time throughout the day and increase motivation.
On the daily to-do list, associate a break with a specific task being completed or a specific amount of time worked on that specific task. This way priorities for the day aren’t compromised by impulse. There is a sense of accountability tied to every break, which inspires a push to “earn” that break.
Dress for Success
Unfortunately, keeping bed attire while working doesn’t set the stage for maximum productivity. Taking the time to be presentable reinforces that clear distinction between “homelife” and “worklife”. Dressing for a day's work helps conditions the mind to prepare for productivity. Staying in bed attire contributes to a “one foot in one foot out” approach to work. By dressing for success the mind automatically recognizes that expectations have now been raised, and it is time to be productive.