It’s 2024 and here’s my first blog post for this year! Woohoo!
Can you believe I’ve been working from home (or wherever I am as long as I have internet) for 13 years now? I know, feels surreal! And yet here I am, still looking for ways on how to stay productive while working from home.
With the lines between work and home blurring, it’s easy to find yourself in a productivity slump. Trust me, I know.
Here are ten tried and tested tips that have helped me, and I hope they’ll do wonders for your productivity too.
1. Create a Dedicated Workspace
Transforming a corner of your home into a dedicated workspace does wonders. It doesn’t have to be fancy – a small desk and a comfortable chair in a quiet corner are enough. This physical separation helps your brain switch to ‘work mode’ and can significantly boost your productivity.
But then there are people like me who need a separate space and since my sister and her family moved to another country, I revamped my nephew’s room into my own home office. A wallpaper, new paint and a couple of furniture really transformed it.
However, I still plan to have a new office separate from our home, a place where I can work on my hobbies too. I miss making earrings, painting, and doing arts and crafts, especially origami.
2. Stick to a Routine
Just because you’re at home doesn’t mean you should wing it. Set a schedule and stick to it. Wake up at the same time, get dressed (yes, no pajamas! LOL just kidding, I wear house clothes most days), and start your day as if you were heading to an office. This routine sets the tone for a productive day.
Last year, I started setting an alarm for 8am but to be honest, I usually start working in the wee hours of the morning since I usually wake up around 3am-4am.
Having a routine and sticking to it helps, but create one that works for you.
3. Embrace the Art of Monotasking
Monotasking – focusing on one task at a time – actually improves efficiency and quality of work. Try it, and you’ll be amazed at how much more you get done.
But old habits die hard. I still multitask and I know it’s not ideal but sometimes it works for me.
I use an app on my phone if I monotask and it has a 25-minute timer and a 5-minute break. I noticed that when I use it, I can never stop at 25 minutes, my productivity increases because my focus has increased and there are fewer distractions.
4. Take Regular Breaks
Don’t glue yourself to the chair! Regular breaks are important. They help you avoid burnout and keep your mind fresh. A quick walk, a stretch, or even a few minutes of watching a short video can recharge you.
Now if only I listen to my own tips LOL When I’m in the zone, I can work really long hours and it’s bad for my health but really good for my work because I get to finish my deadlines ahead of time.
I usually take a longer break in the afternoon for a nap before heading to the gym.
5. Use Technology Wisely
Leverage technology to stay organized. Apps for task management, scheduling, and reminders can be lifesavers. But remember, technology is a tool, not a distraction. Keep social media browsing and messaging for your breaks.
But being a social media manager means I am on social media most of the time which is why this tip is harder for people who work on digital marketing, especially social media.
For task management, I use Trello and Asana but I’m planning to try Notion this year.
For reminders, I use the Reminders app on my phone and it has been so helpful because I can keep track of the things I still need to do. I also have a bullet journal as it feels very satisfying to cross each one and I use post-it notes so I can see each task visually.
6. Set Boundaries
If you share your space, setting boundaries is key. Let your family or roomates know your work hours and the importance of minimizing interruptions.
When I lived alone, I had the best time because there were no distractions and I can wear anything I want while working LOL
7. Prioritize your Health
Sitting for long periods is quite common among us who work from home and I would recommend having a standing desk (I have a standing desk and a clothes organizer aka Megabox with 5 drawers that I use as a standing table LOL).
I usually use my standing desk after lunch and dinner but I still sit most of the day which is why I try to go to the gym 5 times a week.
8. Prioritize Your Tasks
Start each day by identifying your top priorities. What needs to be tackled first? Breaking down your tasks and prioritizing them helps in managing your time effectively and ensures that important tasks don’t slip through the cracks.
9. Stay Connected
Working from home doesn’t mean you have to be isolated. Stay connected with your colleagues through video calls, chats, and virtual meetings. This not only helps with work-related queries but also keeps the feeling of teamwork alive.
However, there’s people like me, who are awkward in meetings and calls so I prefer chats. Hahaha
10. Create a Work-Life Balance
Finally, and perhaps most importantly, remember to log off. Just because your work is at home doesn’t mean it should consume your entire day. Set a time to end your workday and stick to it. This helps in maintaining a healthy work-life balance, which is truly important for long-term productivity.
And this is really what I need to practice in 2024 as I have a hard time creating a work-life balance every single day. As a workaholic, my day is incomplete if I can’t work. I just have to do something. Like when we went to the beach last weekend, I brought my laptop with me and got some work done. The best thing though is I got to swim in between tasks, so it’s still a win for me LOL.
Working from home can be challenging, but with the right strategies, it can also be incredibly rewarding. These 10 tips have been my holy grail in maintaining productivity while enjoying the comforts of my home. Give them a try, tweak them to fit your lifestyle, and watch your productivity improve!
What are your top tips for staying productive at home? Share in the comments below – I’d love to hear from you!