Whether freelancing, taking advantage of flexible working options, or adapting to recent world events, more and more of us are now working from home. And while there are obvious benefits – no commute, no office politics, no endless meetings – you might also find that feeling isolated or distracted is hampering your motivation. But with a few tweaks and tips, you can boost your productivity at home. Read on to find out how.
Max your screen space
If you work with two or more screens in the office, you probably find it a struggle having just the one at home. Flicking backward and forwards from one application to the next is not only frustrating, but those small delays soon add up over a working week. A 2017 survey said that two monitors could increase productivity by as much as 42%, so investing in a second screen is an easy win. Having two monitors means you can keep one screen on what you’re currently working on, a Word document, for example, while the other screen can be used for internet research, emails, or spreadsheets.
Set up a workspace
It doesn’t have to be a purpose-made office, but it does help if you have an area that puts you in a ‘work’ frame of mind when you sit down. If you don’t have a spare room you can use, think about zoning off an area of an existing room, for instance, a corner of your dining room.
Keep your workspace tidy with magazine files for your paperwork and make sure you have enough light – preferably by setting your workspace near a window or buy a desk lamp with a flexible arm − to help you focus on your tasks more efficiently.
Finally, make sure that the ergonomics of your work area are correct. From ergonomic chairs to computer stands, spending a bit of time and money on getting the right equipment means you’ll be much more comfortable and thus reap the productivity benefits. Some may be more of an investment and you may have to prioritize one over the other or consider alternative funding options, but always ensure you’re able to take on any extra financial commitment.
Treat it like ‘going to work’
As tempting as it might be to crawl out of bed straight to the laptop, it’s not conducive to a productive day. A shower, breakfast, and getting properly dressed not only boosts your mood but psychologically prepares you to start work. There’s no need for suits and pencil skirts but try and aim a level up from pajamas. Think cozy, but classy; smart sweatpants, wide-leg trousers, sweatshirts and chunky knits for women and smart tracksuit bottoms, chinos, sweaters, and t-shirts for men.
Without the usual office distractions of team meetings and chats waiting for the kettle to boil, you may find that you have a tendency to power through your days without stopping, but that’s counter-productive as you’ll probably find yourself flagging by late afternoon. Break your days up with regular pit stops and incorporate some fresh air into your breaks if possible, like a walk after your lunch.
Eliminate the distractions
If you’re one of those people who compulsively checks their Twitter or Instagram feed every five minutes, then it’s best to remove the temptation entirely. Log yourself out of your social media on your desktop computer and if you don’t need it, leave your phone in a different room.
The same goes for household chores. If you’re working in the kitchen, for example, make sure the dishwasher is emptied and the washing is hung out before you start work. Starting the day with a clear workspace will ensure you don’t feel compelled to do the tasks you can see lying around the house.
Set a schedule and establish objectives
Before you start work, write down what you need to accomplish and in what order. Put the most important/difficult/boring jobs first when your energy and concentration is at its peak and save the easier or more interesting jobs for later, when you’re feeling tired and enthusiasm is waning.
Tick your tasks off as you go to keep you feeling motivated. So you don’t feel overwhelmed by large jobs, break them down into smaller chunks which can be ticked off more regularly.
These tips should help you boost your productivity at home and make it an enjoyable experience too. What tricks do you use to keep you motivated?