20 Tips for Working From Home: How To Be Productive Outside the Office
Updated September 30, 2022
If you work remotely, it's important to find methods to stay productive to help you keep your work organized and stoke your motivation. With a few adjustments and some simple habit-building approaches, you can keep yourself focused throughout the day, even when the comforts of home become a distraction. In this article, we cover 20 productivity tips for working from home that you can use to stay productive, boost your remote performance and keep yourself motivated throughout your workday.
Tips to stay productive while working from home
Use these productivity pointers to help you stay organized and on top of your tasks while working remotely:
1. Have a morning routine
Set your alarm and go through your normal morning habits like you would if you were going into the office. When you get ready for the day, it can signal you to transition your home environment into your workspace.
2. Set daily and weekly goals
Take a few minutes each day to plan out the work goals you want to accomplish. Use these daily objectives to build up to one larger weekly goal that contributes to your projects and assignments.
3. Make time for breaks
It might feel strange at first, but you can schedule more short breaks throughout your day while telecommuting. Be sure to set aside at least five minutes between tasks to step away from your desk and refresh. The freedom to stop, reflect and reset during your day can help you be less likely to experience burnout.
4. Use time management techniques
It can be easy to lose track of time when working remotely, so it's important to incorporate some time management techniques that can help you monitor how long you're spending on certain tasks. The Pomodoro Method, for example, is a great strategy for setting you up to work for two to three hours, then encouraging you to take a 20- to 30-minute break.
5. Designate a workspace
Create a workspace for yourself in a separate room of your home, or if you have limited space, set up a spot somewhere where you can comfortably work without noise and distractions. Set a boundary that lets others in the household know that the area you designate as your home office is off-limits when you're working.
6. Take breaks outside
When you take work breaks, use some of them to get outside and enjoy nature. Fresh air, the sounds of birds and other aspects of nature can help you recharge and refresh. Additionally, taking your breaks outdoors is another effective method for reducing stress, which is highly important while working from home.
7. Eat lunch at the same time
Take your lunch break at the same time every day. This way, you'll get a healthy routine going that gets your body used to a scheduled eating plan. Additionally, planning your lunch for the same time every day gives you a way to plan a longer break where you can schedule a quick workout session or other relaxing activity before getting back to work.
8. Participate in online training
If your company offers opportunities for professional development, consider participating. Similarly, consider seeking out other available online training or courses that can help you boost your skills and advance in your career. Learning new skills and increasing your industry knowledge can help you stay motivated to succeed.
9. Schedule face time with colleagues
Use a video conferencing platform to meet virtually with your colleagues face-to-face at least once per week. Seeing one another and communicating verbally can help you and your teammates plan and collaborate more effectively. Scheduling regular face time with your team can also help you stay connected and keep you from feeling too isolated.
10. Ask for regular feedback
Just like regular face time with your team is important, asking for regular feedback from your supervisors is essential to understanding how your team leads and managers see your performance. Knowing exactly where you can improve, along with the aspects of your work that are above standard, can help you stay excited about your work.
Related: How To Ask For Feedback
11. Contribute to virtual meetings
Come prepared with ideas to your team’s remote meetings, whether you're meeting through a video conferencing platform or your team uses a group call. Speak clearly so your colleagues can hear you and give your input both verbally and in writing so your team can see and hear your ideas.
12. Use productivity apps
Take advantage of your smartphone technology and download a productivity app or two. For instance, you can find several apps that help you organize your tasks, set timers for priorities and track your performance so you can adjust your daily and weekly work goals.
13. Schedule specific work hours
Similar to keeping your morning routine, it's crucial that you set specific "business" hours that let everyone in the house know when you're working. For example, let family members know that you will start work every morning at 9 a.m., and during the hours you're working, you're not to be disturbed unless it's an emergency. When you set boundaries, your work schedule can flow more efficiently.
14. Stay organized
Keep your workspace free from clutter and develop a system for keeping important files and paperwork organized. You can get creative with your storage options if you have the room, or you can use plain manila folders to separate different work documents. No matter the method you choose, it's important to stay consistent with your approach to develop efficient organizational habits.
15. Develop a wellness routine
Use any free time you have during the day to develop a healthy routine for yourself. While you don't have to incorporate two hours of intense exercise, it's important to make sure you're moving and staying physically active throughout the day. Similarly, explore healthy recipes to try and take time for self-care. Staying healthy can positively impact how you perform at work and increase your productivity.
16. Communicate effectively
Telecommuting can make communication difficult, and it can also be difficult to tell if you're communicating enough. Stay connected with teammates and your manager by making a goal to communicate with them at least once per day. Use your regular communication channels, send email updates or reach out through video chat. It may seem like overcommunicating, but when you can't work in person, it's important to express yourself clearly each day.
17. Take time off of work
It’s important for everyone to schedule time off to reset and recharge. Use your paid time off or schedule time away from work to spend time with your family, do projects around the home or even start a garden. Whatever you decide to do with your time off, remember that just because you're working from home doesn't mean you don't need a few days off of work.
18. Limit distractions
Limit the distractions you find throughout your home as much as you can. For instance, if you find you can't enter your living room without switching on the TV, use another room or area of your home to work in. Removing distractions from your environment is important for keeping you focused on your work, which ultimately can impact your productivity.
19. Prioritize tasks efficiently
Learn how to separate the most urgent priorities from other important tasks. Use a chart to help you list out your objectives according to their urgency so you can stay on top of deadlines and remain productive, even if your workload increases.
20. Ask for support
If you feel stuck or frustrated or just need to connect with someone, ask for support. Reach out to your teammates and let them know what you're going through. Similarly, if you feel like you're overwhelmed with your workload, talk to your supervisor to work out a more flexible arrangement. Asking for help when you need it is extremely important for keeping you productive and on track.
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