Working from home isn’t as easy as it sounds.
You may not have to commute, but working from home can be a significant adjustment.
It is easy to get distracted, procrastinate, and neglect your work environment.
All of these things not only make you unproductive, but they will also take a toll on your overall happiness and well-being over time.
The good news is that since you’re in control of where you work, how you work, and your work environment, there is a lot you can do to help increase productivity, happiness, and wellness while working from home.
I’ve been working from home since 2015 and feel very strongly that with just a few simple changes you can be more productive while you work.
In today’s post I’m sharing 5 ways to be more productive while working from home:
1. Improve your ergonomics
When you’re working from home it is incredibly important to consider ergonomics.
When you’re sitting in a space for long hours, it can take a toll on how you feel mentally and physically.
I’ve found that most desks, tables, and chairs you have at home are not ergonomically suited for working at for long periods of time.
According to Merriam-Webster ergonomics is:
"an applied science concerned with designing and arranging things people use so that the people and things interact most efficiently and safely.”
Every person is different, so everyone’s workspace should be slightly different.
Your desk, chair, and computer screen all need to be at different heights and distances than someone else.
How to create an ergonomic workspace at home:
Your chair should be comfortable, provides back support, and be at the right height for your legs.
Your keyboard should be at the right height and distance so that your arms and wrists are supported to prevent carpal tunnel.
Your computer screen should be at the right height and distance from your eyes to avoid neck injury or soreness.
Ideally you should have the option to switch from standing to sitting at your desk without compromising ergonomics.
Additional resources for ergonomics:
Zapier has a really detailed article on how to set up your desk for both ergonomics and productivity.
Ergotron has a Workspace Planner tool that you can use to find the specific measurements you should use to set up your desk ergonomically based on your height.
Cnet has a YouTube video that demonstrates how to set up your desk ergonomically as well as some surprising tips - like why you shouldn’t use a wrist cushion!
2. Remove distractions
While working from home it is easy to get distracted by your family, household chores, pets, and just your general surroundings.
In order to be more productive working from home, I recommend you take a few intentional steps to help remove distractions.
Notifications are the enemy of productivity.
In order to avoid those distracting notifications put all devices (phone, computer, etc.) on silent or do not disturb during focused work times.
Whether your home is loud or quiet, putting on noise canceling headphones will help you avoid getting distracted.
Not only will the headphones cancel out noise, but they will also help your mind focus on the task at hand.
I also recommend that you listen to music that will help increase your focus even further.
My favorite type of music to listen to while working doesn’t have any words and is actually meant to help increase productivity.
Related: Top 5 Productivity Apps for iPhone
3. Have a plan for the day
When you have more flexibility in your work schedule, it is important to have an action plan for each day.
At the end of your day, sit down for 5-15 minutes and make a plan for tomorrow:
Review what appointments and events you have going on the next day
Review all tasks that you want to get done the next day
Prioritize those tasks and create a list of the top 3 tasks you want to get done that day
Schedule when you’ll work on your tasks on your calendar for the day
Adjust your plan as needed - if you don’t have enough time in the day to accomplish your tasks, you need to readjust your deadlines or your plans
I actually have a video and blog post about this where I go in more detail on how to plan your day the night before:
4. Take breaks
In order to be more productive, you need to take breaks.
It can be easy to just sit in the same place all day, but that will eventually take its toll on your body and your mind.
Be sure to get up and move around 1-2 times per hour.
If you’re not accustomed to taking breaks, I’d recommend using the Pomodoro Technique to get the habit started.
The Pomodoro Technique is a productivity method where you set a timer for 25 minutes to work and then take a 5 minute break.
You repeat this throughout your day and even take a longer break after you’ve completed a set of 4 Pomodoro’s.
The point is to get up, move your body, and give your mind a chance to rest so that you can stay focused for a longer over the course of the day.
When taking your break you could go on a walk, cuddle your pet, get a drink, do a quick stretch, dance around to your favorite song, go to the bathroom, grab a snack, or anything else that just feels good.
Don’t use this break to do more work.
Don’t check email, reply to Slack messages, or anything else work-related.
Get up and do something that feels good.
I like to set timers for my breaks so that I have a bit more intention behind it.
I will set a timer for 5-30 minutes for breaks depending on how long I’ve been working.
5. Change locations
Even though we’re talking about how to be productive working from home, that doesn’t mean you can only work in one place.
If you feel stuck, then it is time to switch it up.
Go to another room or workspace in your house or leave the house entirely.
When I’m feeling like I just can’t get into a rhythm at home, I’ll go to a coffee shop, lunch spot, or a co-working space.
It is amazing how much of a difference it makes.
Sometimes I feel like I’m able to get an entire day’s worth of work done in 2-3 hours at a coffee shop.
If you know this about yourself too, try to plan it into your week.
If there are certain days of the week where you have to get more done, or times of the day where you tend to lose focus, plan on going to another place to work then.
For me, Tuesdays and Thursdays and really important days for me to do focused work. And sometimes I struggle in the afternoon to keep momentum going. So I’ll actually plan on going to a coffee shop to work after lunch on those days.
My challenge for you
My challenge for you today is to do one thing to improve your work from home situation.
Whether it is deciding to work from a coffee shop, taking time to plan tomorrow, trying a new playlist, or something else, take one action and see how it feels.
Now you know how to be more productive working from home.
But if you truly want to be more productive throughout your day, you need to have a plan for your day.
That’s why I created a free Daily Planner printable for you to use.
The planner allows you to set your priorities for the day, outline what tasks you want to complete, and gives you journaling prompts for the morning and evening.
To download the FREE Daily Planner printable enter your information below this video and you’ll receive it in your inbox instantly!
What tips do you have for working from home?
Do you work from home? Have any additional tips for how to be more productive working from home?
Leave a comment down below so we can all learn from your experiences!