If there's one thing I enjoy most about my job, it's being able to work from home. Having the flexibility to work anywhere there's an Internet connection, being able to shape my own schedule, zero commute time, and of course, cups of tea on demand, are just a few of the reasons why I love it so much.
However, working from home isn't easy, and it requires a lot more focus and determination than you may think to make sure you're being productive. You need to be disciplined and strict with yourself, and it's important to set boundaries to separate your home life from your work life especially as the lines can easily get blurred.
If you're struggling to stay motivated at home or if you're planning to switch up your work environment, here are some of my best productivity tips for working from home and a few ways that I keep myself on track throughout the day.
Start the day with a workout
As someone who much prefers working out in the evening, it takes a lot of motivation to get me to the gym first thing. However, I find that working out in a morning sets my day off to a great start and I end up being so much more focused, productive, and energetic. It's also so nice knowing that my workout is out of the way and I don't have to worry about it after a long day sitting at my laptop.
While working from home means you can wear whatever you want, that doesn't mean that you should wear whatever you want. The temptation is there to simply not get dressed or work in your PJs all day, but I've learned from experience that this often results in a lazy mindset and work ethic. My WFH outfit usually consists of jeans/dresses and comfy knits, but I steer clear of sweatpants and anything that's classed as loungewear. Obviously, everyone is different, but I find I'm way more productive when i'm ready, showered, and dressed for the day ahead.
Designate work zones
Unless you have a separate home office, your dining room table will likely be your "office" area, so it's important that you create yourself a work bubble so you can shut off from everything (and everyone) else and be productive. I usually work at the breakfast bar or dining table depending on whether Matt's at home, and I try to keep my work area nice & organized with everything I need so that I can get in the zone. I don't recommend working in bed, simply because your bed should be your place of relaxation, plus it's nice to have an area that's completely separate from work. I also find that my mindset is always lazier when i'm cosied up under the covers, and i'm more likely to slack off & resort to Netflix than actually stay in work mode.
Be "at work"
As well as creating work zones, you also need to create work rules. Set yourself work hours and leave things like tidying the house and unloading the dishwasher until the end of your working day. Just because you're at home, it doesn't mean that you should be doing chores and home stuff. Equally, you need to make sure you have time off work. While a "regular" job has set hours and you normally only do work within this time, working from home means your work is always by your side so it's easy to feel guilty when you're not working.
Since I juggle my job & my blog, I find that I do normally have to work on evenings & weekends. Social media is a big part of what I do too, so it can sometimes feel that I never actually switch off. However, I'll always make sure to take at least 1 night & 1 afternoon off where I just chill with Matt & forget about work, and I think it's important to have that time away to maintain your sanity!
Listen to music
Music improves my concentration massively, and ever since receiving a pair of Sudio's wireless earphones, I listen to music non-stop while working. Spotify has some great playlists and having wireless/bluetooth earphones means I don't break my flow every time I get up from my desk (i.e. every time I make a cuppa tea), as the music comes with me wherever I go. I got the Rose Gold & White pair and they're super stylish & last for a good 7/8 hours on one charge. They're really affordable too, and if you decide to invest in a pair, don't forget to use the code "alicia16" for 15% off your order 🙂
Have a lunch break
In an office environment you're usually prompted to take a lunch break, however, when you work from home, those prompts aren't there. Make sure you factor in a 30/45 minute break for lunch to give your mind a rest and allow you to focus on something else. Normally i'll watch something on Netflix or Skype call someone back in England - basically, anything that allows me to switch off for a bit & think about something else.
Find what works for YOU
One of my best productivity tips for working from home is to find what works for YOU. Everyone is different so it's important that you listen to your body, identify your strengths and weaknesses, and work in a way that suits you. I work at a coffee shop at least every other day, and if I ever struggle to get in the zone or i'm getting too distracted at home, I now recognize it straight away and i'll head to a cafe for a change of scenery and shift in mindset.
Unless I'm heading to the gym first thing, I like to wake up about 7:30am, get dressed for the day and have breakfast, then go onto emails and start my work day around 8:30am. I work best in the morning and in the evening (I focus better when it's dark outside), however, I do suffer massively from a mid-afternoon slump which is normally from about 2-4pm. To avoid half-working / wishing I wasn't working, I usually schedule Skype or coffee dates, phone calls, lunches, and blog shoots around then so that I'm using my time in the most effective way and i'm not eating into my most productive hours. It took me a while to find my groove, but I think it's important to find what works best for you to maximize how much work you get done in your working day.
What are your best tips to stay productive when you're working from home? Do you find it difficult to stay focused, and if so, how do you stay motivated? Let me know in the comment box below!