Ever get to the end of your workday and wonder where the time went or if you really accomplished anything at all? Between chasing after your children, walking the dog, answering phone calls from your parents, accepting deliveries, and a long list of other surprises, it can feel impossible to master how to be productive at home.
Remote workers have the benefit of working from their own home, which means no awful commute as well as the freedom to work in the ways that best suit them — but it isn't all sunshine and roses. Those who work from home need to manage distractions caused by the people they live with and find the intrinsic motivation to get work done on their own. There’s no boss looking over your shoulder or coworkers setting a standard to follow — it’s all up to you.
Below we’ll share seven critical productivity tips that will help you manage your time, energy, and output while working from home.
How to Be Productive at Home
Working from home is filled with distractions, and if you aren’t careful, you could end up reaching the end of the day without finding the time for productive working hours. Read our strategies below to start being more intentional about how and when you work from home.
1. Build a Consistent Morning Routine
A productive day begins with a morning routine. You need to set yourself up for success before you start working, even if that means getting up a little earlier. Your body and mind need time to adjust to wakefulness, and the decisions you make first will set you up for the rest of the day.
We get it! 😴 Who doesn’t want a few more moments of sleep in the morning? When you work from home, it can be very tempting to roll out of bed in your pajamas and begin your workday immediately. While this might mean you don’t have to wake up early, your productivity and wellness will suffer.
Take time to build your own morning routine and fine-tune it until you figure out what works best for you. Your morning routine should prioritize your physical and mental health and can include a variety of healthy activities, such as stretching, meditating, walking outside in fresh air, reading, reviewing your daily schedule, and eating a healthy breakfast.
2. Establish a Productive Work Environment
Productivity when working from home is tied to having a productive workspace. You need to make sure you create this space for yourself. A home office is ideal, but it also needs to be conducive to productive work.
This means your home office space should be kept just as tidy as your office space at work. A messy workspace is distracting, unprofessional for video calls, and will impede your productivity. Take the time to clean up your space and remove as much clutter as you can. A few family photos, stationery supplies, and inspirational quotes are okay, but you don’t need to store your old Beanie Baby ❤️ collection or whatever else you’ve collected over the years in your dedicated workspace.
3. Set Boundaries With Roommates and Family
You NEED to set boundaries with family members when you work from home. This goes for roommates, children, partners, parents, and pets.
There’s no way around your home life seeping in when you’re working from home, but you need to manage these interruptions. Otherwise, before you know it, you’ll have your kids bursting into your next Zoom call demanding you watch the latest YouTube clip of a dancing dog.
Make sure everyone you live with understands when you are working and when you aren’t. Utilize a closed door or headphones to indicate that you are busy, and make sure they know when you are video conferencing to minimize interruptions, distractions, and loud noises.
4. Prep Food in Advance
Cooking takes up a lot of time in a day. When you’re working just a few steps away from your fully equipped kitchen, it’s tempting to make a healthy lunch from scratch every day. While a healthy lunch is recommended, taking too much time to make your food can negatively impact your momentum and productivity.
If you spend all of your lunchtime making food, you won't have the time to take an actual break to eat your food, rest, and regenerate. Make evening or morning meal prep a part of your daily routine to ensure you don’t get distracted making lunch for you and your entire family come lunchtime. Breaks are important, and even if you enjoy cooking, you won’t get the break you need if you spend all of your downtime making lunch.
5. Manage Your Notifications
Managing your notifications can improve anyone's productivity, but it’s especially important for remote workers. When no one is there to see how or when you work, it’s easy to get sucked into phone notifications.
Between family phone calls, the news, social media, Slack messages from coworkers, and the long list of other apps on your phone and computer, interruptions are constant. Every time you are interrupted, no matter how small the interruption is, it throws off your productivity. Take the time to manage notifications on all of your devices to minimize these kinds of interruptions or eliminate them entirely.
If your role allows it, keep your phone out of the room you are working from. This will limit distractions and remove (most of 😅) the temptation to play Candy Crush.
6. Learn to Say No
Saying no is difficult to do, but it’s a skill you can continually hone. Your productivity will be negatively impacted if you keep saying yes to absolutely everything. You can continue to help people, be social, and take on new projects, but not at the expense of your own wellbeing and goals.
The next time you’re asked to do something, whether it’s a delegated task or social event, take the time to weigh the pros and cons before immediately saying yes. Ask yourself, do you actually want to do this thing? How will it help you reach your own personal goals? How busy are you currently, and what other things do you already have on your plate? Will you be able to manage this new event or task along with everything else you already have scheduled?
For most things, saying no won’t negatively impact the universe, and it will give you more space to focus on your own productive work, dreams, family life, and wellbeing. That said, know yourself and your own tendencies. If you always say no and constantly turn down events or requests, it could be that you need to start saying yes a little more often.
7. Remember to Stop Working
Burnout is real and very likely to rear its ugly head if you aren’t able to separate your working hours from your personal life. You need to have balance, which includes productive work time as well as free time for family, friends, and your own personal wellbeing.
Just because you work from home and it’s possible to work from the moment you wake up until the moment you go to bed doesn’t mean you should. You may think you are getting more done and being more “productive” by working all the time, but you’re actually hindering your own output when you don’t take breaks. You need work-life balance, which means actually stopping work at the end of the day, whatever that may mean for you.
Meeting Transcripts from Anywhere
Working from home is filled with distractions that can hinder your productivity. There’s no one there to loom over your shoulder and tell you to get back on track, which means you're left to make a lot of decisions on your own. This means you need to be intentional about how you craft your day and what interruptions you allow. Stop rolling out of bed to begin your day and continue to fine-tune your work from home processes.
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