10 Best Productivity Tips for Working from Home

Monday Jun 15th, 2020


Original Article by Jeff Haden, Contributing Editor, INC.

Working from home can be the ultimate personal productivity litmus test. Many people feel they would lack the self-discipline and focus required to be highly productive if they work from home. That's why the key to being productive in a home office isn't willpower or determination--it's following a few simple tips that will help you be efficient and effective.

Tell people your schedule--and then "enforce" your schedule
Interruptions are productivity killers--so be proactive. Share your schedule. Explain when you'll be working. Describe how you work best: whether that's "interrupt me at will" (probably not) or "only interrupt me if it's truly an emergency" (more likely).

Buy a great chair
Don't try to save money on a chair. Economize on a desk (I often sit at the dining room table to write) or other furnishings or frills...but see your chair as an investment, not an expense. If you aren't comfortable you can't stay focused and you can't stay productive.

Ruthlessly set limits
Split your day into 90-minute windows. Instead of thinking about an 8-, 6-, or 10-hour workday, split your day into four or five 90-minute windows. That way, you will have, say, four tasks you will get done a lot more efficiently.

Include breaks in your schedule
Your calendar will be full of tasks, calls, meetings, deadlines...but it also should include scheduled break periods. Set a time for lunch. Set break times. Otherwise, your day will get away from you--and so will your opportunities to recharge.

Turn off your notifications
Turning off alerts on your computer and phone will greatly improve your ability to focus.

De-clutter at least once a week
All kinds of things will find their way into your office since it's in your home. Purge, purge, and purge some more. Your workspace needs to look productive in order to be productive.

Create a nighttime routine
Prepare for your day the night before. Make a list. Make a few notes. Review information. Prime yourself to hit the ground at an all-out sprint the next day. A body in super-fast motion tends to stay in super-fast motion.

Create a morning routine
Make sure you can get to your tasks as smoothly as possible. Pretend you're an Olympic sprinter and your morning routine is like the warm-up for a race. Don't dawdle, don't ease your way into your morning, and don't make sure you get some "me" time (hey, sleep time is me time). Get up, clean up, fuel up--and start rolling.

Create a happy shelf
Replacing a shelf full of old books you haven't opened in years with family photos can make a huge difference! Makes you happy. When you’re happy, you do better work.

Make your home office your home court advantage
Walking down two flights of stairs beats driving to an external office every time. Some people think having a home office will make them feel like they're never away from work. Creating a space you’re comfortable and productive in will make it much easier to relax at the end of the day. 

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