Working from home is more common than ever these days. Whether your job has become remote because of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, or you are one of the thousands of people telecommuting regularly, you know that not being in a traditional office setting comes with challenges.
In addition to not having your coworkers and office resources readily at your side, your home can be distracting. And because there is no separation between your work life and home life, distractions are abundant and delaying tasks comes all too easily.
It doesn’t have to be this way. Follow these 8 tips to stay productive while working remotely and regain control over your workday.
1. Get Dressed
PJs are comfy, but staying in them is a great way to be unproductive. A study from Northwestern University says that the types of clothes you’re wearing trigger certain moods and psychological responses in your brain. You don’t have to put on a suit, but just changing out of your pajamas into daytime clothes will help get your mind in the right gear.
2. Define When Your Workday Begins and When it Ends
When you don’t have a commute, it’s all too easy to just keep working indefinitely and let your assignments run into hours that would normally be personal time. If possible, set a clear start and finish time for your work day and let your coworkers know when you will be signing off for the day.
3. Don’t Take on More than You Can Handle
Going along with the above, it’s easy to feel you can’t say “no” to extra projects or have an excuse to not respond to messages immediately. But just being at home doesn’t suddenly make you available 24/7. Set boundaries where you can and talk with your boss if you feel your workload has suddenly jumped up.
4. Create a Workspace and Use It
It’s all too easy to start your day on your laptop in bed and then transition to the couch. But not only can this hinder productivity, it can also disrupt your ability to relax after your workday is actually done. Even if you don’t actually have an at-home office, just sitting down in a designated workspace can help you quickly transition into “productive mode.”
5. Set Daily Goals
When we’re in a physical work setting, we grow accustomed to juggling many different tasks at once and working in teams that we can see. But working remotely on our own, it’s often more productive to set a top priority for each day and work one step at a time.
6. Get Outside for Breaks if You Can
Go stretch outside or go for a short walk when possible. Even being outdoors for just a little can be energizing and quickly refresh you.
7. Take Time to Appreciate How Much is Being Accomplished
If you’re a team leader, make sure you commend your staff regularly for everything they’re getting done. Likewise, you should wrap up your own workday by appreciating everything you managed to get done rather than dwelling on what you didn’t.
8. Adjust Your Routine as Needed
Routines only work if they’re actually helping you get things done. Check in with yourself at the end of each week to see how productive you were. Make changes to your daily / weekly routine as needed until you find what works best.