Working from home can either be the best or worst thing that happens to your professional career. The benefits are undeniable: the lack of a daily commute saves money on gas, you can cook all of your own meals, and you don’t have to wear office attire (but it’s recommended you avoid lounging around in sweatpants). Plain and simple, you can work from the comfort of your haven.
Still, there are downsides. With your bedroom nearby, pets running around your feet, and no one around to ensure you’re productive, it can be tempting to slack off. Deadlines suddenly feel more daunting, and stress can increase rather than dissipate. The key is to create a productive workspace at home by eliminating distractions and reducing downtime.
Chose a Smart Location
Not all of us are lucky enough to have an available room that can be dedicated to our home office. The rest of us have to get creative. Think about the layout of your house, and ask yourself where you are least likely to encounter distraction.
The ideal location will be comfortable, quiet, and somewhere that has enough space for you to organize all of your work. If you don’t already have a desk, consider investing in one that was designed with a home office in mind.
Even if you’ve chosen the perfect location within your home, having a cluttered desk will make you feel messy and unproductive. It’s worth cleaning the area daily, which only takes a minute or two but will ultimately lead to a more productive workday.
The items that you choose to keep on your desk should either be motivating in some way, like a picture of your children or an inspiring photograph or should be functional. A file folder can be handy and help you organize your work, and having a printer close by will help you get work done faster. Despite an ongoing laser printer vs inkjet debate, the right printer will be the one that is best suited to your specific needs.
Add Some Greenery
While you shouldn’t set up a full-blown nursery on your desk, a few potted plants can help you create a productive and creative workspace. They add a level of visual diversity that is both soothing and motivating. Plants also pump oxygen into the air, which literally adds life to the room.
You can even find websites that offer a large selection of plants ready for home delivery. Scroll through the possibilities and invest in a few that will sit comfortably on your desk and appeal to your sense of style.
When you’re at the office, it’s easy to keep the day’s tasks in mind. Other employees might be asking you for updates on a project, or you might attend meetings that keep crucial assignments at the top of your mind. When you work from home, you are solely responsible for staying on task.
If you’re a small business owner or someone who has to juggle multiple projects, making a checklist in the morning or the night before is a great way to stay on top of deadlines. Place it somewhere in your home office within your immediate line of sight. It’s a worthwhile habit that will keep assignments from slipping through the cracks and will help you prioritize the day’s work.
Take Advantage of Your Breaks
Instead of using your breaks to scroll through social media feeds, use them in ways that are beneficial to your mind and body. Working for hours on end, no matter how engaging the work, can be extremely exhausting. While at your home office, your breaks should be focused on replenishing your energy and helping you return with fresh eyes.
Read an interesting article or two, develop a quick workout routine, or practice mindfulness meditation. If you use your time wisely, you’ll experience less burnout and be less reluctant to sit back down.
Stick to a Schedule
Working from home can be a blessing and a curse. While it offers flexibility and the freedom to work on your own terms, it can also be difficult to maintain a structured routine. Without the accountability of a boss or coworkers, it can be tempting to sleep in or take long breaks during the day. However, this can lead to a decline in productivity and motivation.
By sticking to a schedule and maintaining a consistent work routine, you can keep yourself engaged during the hours you need to be. This sends a signal to your brain that it is time to work, which can help to improve your focus and motivation. When you have a routine, you can create a sense of structure and purpose, which can help you to stay on track and avoid distractions.
Moreover, having a routine can also help you to manage your time more effectively. By setting specific work hours and deadlines, you can prioritize your tasks and ensure that you are making progress towards your goals. This can help you to avoid the stress and anxiety that can come with procrastination or falling behind on your work.
When you organize your home office with productivity in mind, you can create an environment that helps you stay focused and get more done. The beauty of working from home is that you can tailor your workspace to suit your individual needs, preferences, and work style. But finding the perfect setup takes time and experimentation. You may need to make several adjustments before you find a system that works best for you.
The key is to keep an open mind and be willing to try different approaches. You may need to adjust your workspace layout, lighting, or ergonomics to find what works for you. You may also need to experiment with different tools and technologies that can help you stay organized and on task.
Once you find a setup that works for you, you’ll be amazed at how much more productive you can be in your home office compared to a standard office. With the flexibility and control that working from home offers, you can create an environment that maximizes your efficiency and helps you achieve your goals. So keep experimenting and fine-tuning your setup until you feel like you’ve got it right, and watch your productivity soar.