Working from home can be great, but it can also present a number of challenges. For many, productivity and time management are very difficult. But if you can gain control over this aspect of your day, big things will happen.
5 Work-From-Home Productivity Tips
The key to productivity is blocking out distractions and putting your mind in a state where it’s most likely to be focused, efficient, and in a state of flow.
Headspace defines flow like this: “Time feels like it has slowed down. Your senses are heightened. You are at one with the task at hand, as action and awareness sync to create an effortless momentum.”
Also known as being “in the zone,” achieving a state of flow is the key to being productive for longer chunks of the day. When you’re working from home, you amplify “flow” and productivity by doing the following:
Choose the Right Location
The very first step is to be selective with where you work in your home. While you might not have much of a choice, be diplomatic with the decisions you do make. For example, if you have two spare rooms, choose the one that’s furthest away from common living areas (like the kitchen and living room). This will cut down on noise and distractions when other people are in the home.
Have a Plan for Noise
Speaking of noise, you need a plan for it. Outside noise – meaning anything that originates outside of your home office walls – can be a distraction. This includes outside street noise, a roommate down the hall, a crying baby in the nursery, a TV in the other room, or a noisy neighbor on the floor above you. You can’t always stop or prevent the noise, but there are ways to deal with it.
Common options for neutralizing distracting noises include white noise machines, noise-canceling headphones, and soundproof windows. You can also find sound deadening products like wall insulation and acoustic screens. Do some research and find something that will work for your space.
Get the Lighting Right
Lighting is actually a very important part of your workspace environment. Harsh artificial lighting can cause you to squint and strain. This leads to fatigue, headaches, eyestrain, and even irritability. Natural light, on the other hand, may help you feel focused and inspired.
Carefully consider how you can achieve the optimum blend of natural and artificial light to boost productivity. It’s important that you strike a delicate balance between the right amount of natural light and too much exposure (which leads to glare and exposure to UV rays). Selecting the best blinds for your office can make a huge difference.
Manage Digital Distractions
Now that we’ve discussed some of the ways to deal with physical distractions in your home work environment, et’s mention digital distractions. Because for many people, this is the biggest issue.
You’ll have to make decisions that work with your job responsibilities, but it’s helpful to institute blackout periods throughout the day. These are chunks of time where you silence all notifications – including email, phone, SMS, and social – and tackle your most important work. Then there are other times when you triage notifications, respond to the most important ones, and get rid of the ones that don’t matter.
If you live with other people – including a spouse, significant other, kids, or roommates – you have to be proactive in setting clear boundaries. It’s easy for other people to forget that you’re working or to assume that you’re available simply because you’re physically present. Make it clear that you’re on the job and set very specific rules about how and when you may be contacted. A failure to do so will lead to serious frustration that will hurt your productivity and compromise your relationships with others.
Get More Out of Your Work Day
Not every day is going to score a 10/10 on the productivity scale. But if you can have more 7s, 8s, and 9s than you do 3s, 4s, and 5s, that’s a net win. And by implementing the tips outlined above, you’ll find it more possible and practical to consistently reach a state of flow when working from home.
Begin implementing this week and notice the difference!