Working from home is one of the best ways of living life these days, which is why so many people are quitting their nine-to-five jobs and choosing to work remotely. You can wake up when you want, make time for the gym and responsibilities such as picking up the kids from school, and you can choose what pace you work at. It seems like a dream come true, and most of the time, it is. But a risk that goes along with working from home is that it can be easy to become unproductive. Especially if you’ve become burnt out from lots of work lately, or you’re juggling several projects, you can suddenly find yourself having trouble staying motivated.
Luckily, we’ve got some great tips you can follow if you want to get back on track. It’s all about trying them out and finding what works best for you–so read on to find out!
1 Create a daily schedule
When you work from home, it’s tempting to work whenever you feel like it. After all, why not stay in bed an extra hour, or take a Netflix break between assignments halfway through the day? There’s nothing wrong with breaks–a topic we’ll get to later in this article–but consistency is key to productivity. Create a daily schedule you generally follow and make to-do lists before each day so that you know what your goals are. 8 million Americans worked from home in 2017, so if you aren’t sure where to start, check out online examples of daily work schedules.
2 Have a dedicated workspace
One of the dangers of working from home is that it’s too easy to work from bed. Or to try to solve problems on the go, only to realize that you’ve left essential documents at home. By creating an at-home office or joining a coworking space that’s specifically dedicated to getting work done, you’ll feel ready to work the second you sit down. This, coupled with the daily schedule mentioned above, will give your work a sense of stability even if you’re a freelancer with a variety of clients.
Market researchers have predicted that, by the end of 2019, there will be 21,306 coworking spaces worldwide, so find out if there’s one near you.
3 Plan out your projects in advance
An additional organizational strategy is planning long-term projects. That way, you won’t get too overwhelmed when you’re working on several. If you’re running your own company, write up a list of milestones for the entire year, so that you can slowly work on them over time. For example, if you need to research what a podcast is used for before creating one, you can make that research one month’s work before deciding on your content.
86 percent of employees say they’re most productive when they work alone–and you can up that productivity even more by planning ahead.
4 Give yourself time off–and breaks
Once you have a set schedule and workspace, and your projects organized a few months out, you’ll be able to work regularly. But without time off, you’re likely to get burned out. After all, people who work from home don’t get paid days off the way people working in offices do. If you’re running your own business, then it’s easy to avoid taking any days off, out of the fear that you might miss out on a promising email or an exciting industry trend. But you need time off, so schedule at least a few weeks a year and a couple long weekends for vacation. Additionally, don’t forget the importance of breaks. Using a strategy like the Pomodoro Method, which splits up work with breaks in a productive way, keeps you from burning out on the daily.
Don’t forget that getting out of your head is a break too. Whether that means going to the gym three times a week or joining a book club, do an activity that gets you out of your isolated self-created office and into a different mental space. In a study, 82 percent of telecommuters reported lower job stress, which is no surprise considering that you can choose when to take your breaks and what they are.
5 Stay off your phone
Finally, stay off your phone when you’re working. It’s too easy to get distracted by Facebook or Instagram, and a quick unexpected call can waste that entire half hour left when you could have finished a project. And considering that the average person spends over four hours a day on their mobile device, which is half of a workday, it can be easy to use your phone way more than you realize. If you check your favorite website too many times, think about using a site blocker, too.
These are some of the best ways you can stay productive when you’re working from home so you can get everything finished faster and feel happier, too. What other strategies do you use to stay productive?