The Family Home Blog

Tips for Being Productive When Working From Home

Jun 21, 2016
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Whether you work from home on a regular basis, or occasionally, you will discover that it’s a little more challenging than you originally thought. As someone who has worked from their home office full time for the last nine years, I can relate to the struggle of maintaining a productive work environment. Committing to making your home double as your office can seem like a great idea, but often you realize it’s harder than you thought.

Sitting in your home can often feel distracting and tempting when there’s other “stuff” just begging to be done. The risk of swapping out the laundry real quick, straighten up the living room or going through that stack of bills might not seem too dangerous. However, if you spend your time doing things around the house, you’ll get to the end of your work day and realize you still have a ton of actual work to accomplish. Here are a few tips that have helped me maintain productivity over the years while working from my home office.

Home office and desk 

1.    Make your workspace only for work

Regardless if you have an entire room for an office, or just a nook in your home, make sure that space is de-cluttered and only used for working. Remove anything that can distract you and that isn’t going to help you get your daily tasks done. Having everything you’ll need on hand will also ensure that you’re not getting up frequently looking for a phone charger, notepad, address book, etc. and then get distracted by other things in your home.

2.    Keep your work to-do list separate from your personal to-do list

Make sure you’re not stopping to straighten up the living room, swap the laundry or make a dentist appointment. If you mix in your personal to-do’s with your daily work tasks, chances are you’ll look up at the end of your work day and realize you got very little work done.

3.    Turn off your house phone ringer and close your personal email inbox

It took me some time to realize this, but just turning off your phone’s ringer during the day can make you feel a lot more focused. It can be really distracting (and tempting) when you hear your phone ringing in the middle of the day. But, just pretend you’re in an office away from home and be okay letting the machine pick up the call. You can check it after five o’clock! Bonus tip, put a “do not knock” sign on your front door if you live in an area that has a lot of solicitors or chatty neighbors.

4.    Sometimes you need to leave your house

When you’re feeling especially distracted by things in your home (hello barking dog next door, or that playroom that looks like a bomb went off), pack up your things and head to the library or local coffee shop. Sometimes just a chance of environment will be enough to clear your mind and kick you back into productivity mode.

Do you work from home? What challenges have you faced?

Photo courtesy of Tori Tait.

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