Working at home is becoming more of a norm for people now, whether it is because they have their own business or they have the ability to working for a company. As technology advances and has become more accessible in the last couple of decades more people have found ways to bring work home in order to streamline their work life. What people will find is that working in an office is completely different to working at home, you will find yourself having to discipline yourself in order to get work done as there are more distractions around you. Here are some tips to help you be more productive and motivate yourself when you are working from home.
Get up, get dressed, get on
When you are working from home you will be tempted to stay in bed. But like going to work at an office, the first step to having a productive day is getting out of bed and starting your day right.
Getting dressed is something that might not seem like it would make any difference to your day, but there was an article on Forbes from Dr Karen Pine, a professor of psychology and fashion psychologist, where they said this:
“When we put on an item of clothing it is common for the wearer to adopt the characteristics associated with that garment. A lot of clothing has symbolic meaning for us, whether it’s 'professional work attire' or 'relaxing weekend wear,' so when we put it on, we prime the brain to behave in ways consistent with that meaning."
In other words, if you wear your “lazy” clothes whilst working at home you are more likely to act lazy and in turn, you won't get as much done. On the other hand, if you are wearing a shirt or “smarter” wear, you are more likely to be productive. I’m not saying get all dressed up in a suit to work at home. But if you simply get changed from your sleepwear into something as simple a jeans and t-shirt will be enough to change your mindset.
Don't work where you sleep
Just like how what you wear has an effect on your mindset and what you get done, where you are working also has the same effect. Over time it could affect your mood when you go to bed, if you find yourself stressed about work, it could bring that mood when you are trying to relax and sleep. If you don't have the facilities to be able to have a dedicated room to work, you can simply get a desk, go to a cafe and work there for a couple of hours a day.
Make a schedule and stick to it
Most people can find it hard to be productive without having a regime wherever they are working, they use it to guide them in their day. This can start with having a set time you wake up every day, even if you don't have anywhere to commute to.
Writing things down is one of the best ways to schedule your time and makes it more likely for you to do. Not only will you not have to keep what you have to do in your head, it will also give you the chance to forget what you have to do but you will get you satisfaction from being able to physically cross something off a list. It can also give you the chance to be able to prioritise your tasks.
Get some exercise
One of the perks of working from home is that you are able to add things like going to the gym into your schedule. Adding exercise into your schedule can do wonders for your motivation as well as your discipline which will benefit your mental and physical health.
What you will find when you work from home is you do way less exercise as you are not walking around an office or walking out for lunch. So to make up for this having an allotted time to do some exercise will do your body wonders as you aren't just sitting at a desk all day. You don't have to go to a gym. You can do some simple at home exercises.
Give yourself rewards
Incentivising yourself is a massive motivator. By giving yourself rewards for completing tasks you will be able to turn your distractions into rewards. For example, if you say to yourself for completing 3 hours of work, you will be able to watch an episode of one of your TV shows.
Doing this is going to mean you will have to have a lot of willpower to be able to use your rewards in moderation and know when to stop. You can't let yourself get carried away and convince yourself that having 1 hour of work entitles you to binge watch a netflix series for the rest of the day.
Take naps and breaks to boost your productivity
There have been many studies on how long people should be napping but it seems like the optimum nap length is from 30 minutes to 90 minutes. In some European countries such as Spain as well as in Latin America, this is considered the norm and people are allowed to take “siestas” where you would find some local shops shut for a couple of hours.
This one might seem the most contradictory but there is logic to the madness that is this tip. The premise of taking naps is that it allows your brain to take some downtime from what you are doing. By doing this you are essentially rebooting your brain in the middle of the day and making your more alert and less forgetful.
Filter distracting sites from your day
Discipline is one of the main attributes you need to hone in on when working at home as it makes distracting sites and activities way more likely for you to get caught out on. You are going to have to filter yourself from sites like YouTube and Netflix because they are the gateway distractions. You will end up telling yourself “I’ll watch 1 episode or 1 video” and the next thing you know 4 hours have passed and you haven't done any work. The best way to do this is to use these distractions as rewards (as I mentioned before).
Also if you work on your computer that you use to visit these sites, it makes it more likely to go on these sites. Here is one tip you can do in order to gain zen like discipline to tear yourself away from these distracting sites.
If you can't get a company computer/laptop separate from your personal computer, making an extra account on your computer that's completely fresh means that you won't have the bookmarks there tempting you and you will know when you are logged into this account, it is your working account.
It's easy to go the whole week without speaking to anyone when you are working at home. So this tip is important, if you work for a business close to you or have co-workers close to you, take a day or 2 out of your week to meet with them to talk about work instead of emailing them. However if you are a solo team and working on your own business at home then the best way to do this would be to go out for lunch with your friends when they are on their breaks at their job or to even go out during the weekend and let your hair down whether that involves going out for a few drinks or doing something active like camping or hiking. As long as you get that social experience of interacting with other people, this will also give you something to look forward to during your week.
Have a second project/passion/hobby to take your mind away from work
What you might find is that when you are working from home, you might be more efficient and getting things done faster, this will mean you will have more free time. Now, what you do with your free time is always up to you but if you want to be more productive you can always have a side project for you to keep you occupied instead of binge watching videos or Netflix shows.
You can use this time to pick up something you have always wanted to do, picking something up you stopped doing years ago because of time. Doing this will likely make you feel more fulfilled with how you are spending your day.
Define your workspace
Like getting dressed and not working where you sleep, having a designated workspace can probably make the largest difference to you working at home because it will actually feel like you are going to work instead of working at home.
When you start working from home you will enjoy the freedom of being able to work in your bed but soon the novelty will wear off and you will find that you are going to start to lose motivation and your head won't be in work mode. If you treat your designated work space like your desk or cubicle you would have in an office, you will be more productive and feel like you are meant to be working.
The fact that you will be able to walk away from somewhere when you have finished your work day will make it easier for you to go back into relaxing mode. When you are able to pick and choose when you work makes it easy for you to overlap your chill time and work time. The other perk of doing this is that if you live with other people, they will know that when you are in that space that you are working and they shouldn't be distracting you.
Working from home might not be for everyone, their personality and traits might make it hard to adjust to having that much freedom. Some people might like having a designated place to go at an allotted time and having someone there to be able to guide them through their day. But if you find yourself in a situation where you are going to be doing so, following these tips will make it easier to make that transition.