The more productive you are, the greater your overall success. Plus, you create more free time for doing the things you love when you efficiently complete your required tasks. Self-care matters, and it’s best when you can indulge without worrying about that unfinished budget report.
If you recently transitioned to telecommuting, you might find that this arrangement comes with a new set of challenges. Here are six tips for how to be more productive at home that will have you managing your time like a boss.
If you spend the first 30 minutes of each day figuring out what you need to do, you waste some of your most productive time with organizational details. You might drift through your entire first hour checking email and gathering momentum when you could be off to the races.
Invest in a planner. It doesn’t matter if you prefer to use old-fashioned paper or an app, as long as you select one method and stick to it. Dedicate time on Sunday evening to plotting out your week. Before you leave work each day, update your to-do list and time estimates for each activity.
Each day, plan to tackle your most challenging task first. Procrastinating on this monster often means wasting time on less vital activities like email while putting off the most important. Once you complete this chore, the rest of your day feels like smooth sailing.
If your work desk makes you squirm with discomfort, you won’t be your productive best. Going ergonomic can supercharge how much you get done — your comfort isn’t fluff.
You might consider a variable-height desk if you have chronic lower back pain. Manufacturers claim these devices help ease the ache, and research published by the National Institutes of Health suggests these assertions have merit. An inflatable fitness ball is another chair alternative.
If you choose a standard setup, your feet should rest flat on the floor with your knees bent at 90-degree angles. Your chair should provide lumbar support for your lower back.
If you have chronic pain, your ideal work-from-home ergonomic setup might include your bed. You have unique needs, so listen to your body over the advice of productivity experts. If you can focus better when you ache less and kicking up your feet does the trick, honor your abilities, not the well-meant advice of those writing for an audience without disabilities.
Flow refers to a state of peak productivity when you are laser-focused on the task at hand. It’s nearly impossible to achieve if your cellphone alerts interrupt you every few minutes.
Dedicate time for deep work by turning off your ringer and locking your device in a drawer. Devise a “do not disturb” system that lets other family members know when they shouldn’t interrupt you with questions or requests for snacks. A closed home office door works if you have a dedicated room — otherwise, a special blazer or “thinking cap” that you keep on your chair can signal that you need quiet.
Your home office environment significantly impacts your productivity. One factor that influences how much you get done is lighting. Research from Cornell University shows that workers who sit by a window are 2% more productive, so take advantage by opening the blinds and removing those blackout curtains. You’ll also have less eye strain and fewer headaches.
Some people swear by aromatherapy for boosting productivity. Try a diffuser and scents like citrus to uplift and energize your mornings or lavender when you need to relax into deep work.
The human mind and body weren’t designed to work nonstop. You need to stretch your muscles and take your attention away from your tasks at times to maintain your productivity.
The Pomodoro technique involves setting a timer for 25 minutes, then taking a 5-minute break after each work session. After three “Pomodoros,” you take a lengthier rest of 15 to 30 minutes. If you have an iPhone, you can download the Flat Tomato app to apply this method to your day.
Why not check your email one more time before bed? After all, your office is only a few feet away?
Work-from-home burnout is real. While you may now live in the office, that doesn’t mean you should let work color every hour of your day. Design an end-of-day routine where you shut down your laptop and dedicate yourself to home and family. Let your team know when they can and can’t reach you. Setting boundaries isn’t selfish; it’s a must if you are to be your productive best on the clock.
If you want to become more productive at home, start with these six tips. You’ll supercharge your efficiency and enjoy more time for the things you love.