SC Johnson Family Economics Blog
Tuesday, April 22, 2014

7 Tips to Be More Productive When Working From Home | Family Economics

By Melanie Edwards

            

While some people are lucky enough to have their office in the comfort of their own home, it can become fairly easy to take advantage of that luck and get a little too comfortable. When working from home it’s easy to forget that you are in fact working and need to be productive – trust me, I know from experience. Here are a few tips I’ve learned over the past five years to help keep you on track when working from home:

1.    Turn off your TV: You may think that you’re able to work while catching up on your favorite shows, but let's face it, one of them − either your work or show − will suffer. You'll end up doing one of two things – ditching your work to watch your show, or focusing on your work and missing out on a “must see” scene. From experience, I find it’s too hard to truly concentrate on one without sacrificing the other. When sitting down to work, it's best to turn off the TV and focus your undivided attention to your work. You'll be more productive, get your work done faster and be able to enjoy your shows later without interruptions.

2.    Listen to music: I find that having music on in the background helps keep me energized as I work through my to-do list. Depending on your style, you'll want to adjust the type of music that you listen to as you work. For me, ambient music works best as it helps me avoid any potential distractions.

home office 

3.    Designate a work area: Create a workspace complete with a desk and proper lighting that allows you to focus on the task at hand. If you don't have a desk, feel free to use your kitchen or dining table. The purpose of this is for you to have an ample workspace where you can be productive, instead of working from your bed or couch. While your bed or couch are both very comfortable, they are also likely to go against productivity. It's easy to get a little bit too comfortable and end up napping in the middle of your workday!

4.    Eat properly: Working from home means there's less socialization and no reminders from neighboring co-workers to get up and have lunch. It takes discipline to stop working and take time to eat breakfast or lunch and hydrate properly. However, it's super important that you do, otherwise you'll have no energy to keep up with your daily routine. Keep a water bottle near your desk to stay hydrated and pre-pack snacks and meals to help you eat properly each day - your body will thank you for it.

5.    Dress for the day: Even though you may think it's easy to get your work done in sweats or PJs, I find that when you dress yourself appropriately, your mind follows along. In other words, you can get yourself in the right mindset for the day simply by dressing the part. Now, you don't need to dress up extravagantly, but changing out of your PJs and into an outfit that you could step out into the public eye lets your mind know that you are dressed for the day and ready to work.

6.    Take breaks: Sitting in front of a computer all day can be draining so be sure to get up periodically and take a break. Get up and stretch, go for a quick walk, schedule a 20-minute workout session - whatever you decide to do is fine as long as you’re giving your body and mind a break from your work. You’ll be surprised by how refreshed and focused you’ll feel when you return to your work.

7.    Avoid distractions: Similar to the TV, other distractions can get in the way of your productivity. It's wise to avoid personal phone calls in the middle of your work day, much as you would if you were working in a business office. Let your phone go to voicemail and return calls later when convenient for you. Likewise, social media can be intriguing (and addicting), but it can easily take up a lot of your time without you even noticing. Limit your social media time while working so you can be more productive.

What other tips have helped you be more productive when working from home?

Photo courtesy of Melanie Edwards.

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