Photo by Vadim Sherbakov on Unsplash

Working from home has grown in greatly in popularity. The internet has gotten to the point where people can access anything around the globe, and you’d be hard pressed to find someone without an internet connection. Working from home for some is the ultimate goal. And what’s not to love? Setting your own hours, not having to put on pants, and being near your kitchen are all perks to working from home that attract a lot of people.

But let’s face it. It’s not for everyone, nor is it as easy as a lot of people think it is. It takes a particular type of person to stay productive during the whole work day when they work from home. It’s very easy to get distracted when you get to work from home. Especially if you have other responsibilities. Though there are ways to make working from home, work.

1. Make yourself a structured schedule.

A good way to curb distractions could be to create a schedule that you’ll stick to when you work from home. Designating your own hours and sticking to them will make a world of difference. And it’s not just saying you’ll work between 9a – 5p. It includes blocks of time you dedicate to certain tasks.

Say you want an hour a day to check and respond to emails. Now you can schedule it in a whole chunk in the middle of the day, or two half hour chunks in the morning and the afternoon. Whatever you choose, make sure it works for you and boosts the amount of work you get done in those timeframes. It can be done with any tasks you have to get done.

2. Set a To-Do List

In the vein of setting a schedule, make sure to have a to-do list. It’s easier to create yourself a schedule when you know exactly what it is that you want to get done. Have a list with the breakdown of larger goals/projects means you know what it is that has to get scheduled out. If you’re someone who bullet journals, you know what this process is like and that it works.

To create a successful to-do list, you have to start with the larger scale things you have to do, say “Freelance Project: Photo restoration.” From there you can break it out into: remove large rips/cracks, remove stains, remove other imperfections, color correct/colorize, send prelim to client, revise, send final. Once you have all those steps written out, you can schedule the blocks of time you suspect that they’ll need over the timeframe that you have. It’s especially helpful if you have multiple projects because you can schedule blocks of time going between them in order to give yourself a mental break.

3. Have a Dedicated Workspace

While it’s easy when you work from home to try and work from literally anywhere – bed, kitchen, couch, etc. – you really should be mindful of where you work. Instead of working on the living room couch with the tv on in the background, it’ll be more prudent to make a dedicated workspace. If you don’t have room for a full on office in your home, picking a spot in the house that’s quiet, and well lit will make a huge difference. It’ll help shift you into work mode.

Working from home can lead you to overworking because the boundaries between home-life and work-life blend together. Having a space in your home dedicated to work is a physical separation that helps maintain that mental boundary. In the effort of preventing burnout and sleep deprivation, it would help to actively keep this boundary.

4. Don’t Work in Your Pajamas

It seems counter-intuitive to the whole idea from working from home. It is one of the draws after all, not having to wear actual clothes. However, in the same way that having a dedicated workspace is good in making the shift to a workspace, so is wearing actual clothes. Wearing your sweatpants or pajamas just makes you feel like you should be relaxing. Wearing actual clothes is a physical way to help shift that mindset. Especially if you have a mobile setup and do work in public places like libraries or cafes.

That doesn’t mean your clothes have to be stuffy or office dress code compliant. It can still be comfortable to be in, it just has to be presentable. Jeans and a nice shirt can be the uniform of your work experience, even dresses or jumpsuits if you’re a woman can be a comfortable alternative to yoga pants and pajamas. Just make another physical switch into a work mindset.

While those four things seem incredibly simple, it still makes a difference in having a more productive way of working from home. Home is a place to relax and destress from the world, and working from home is bringing the stress there. Being able to contain it and utilize it is a skill all the same as everything else. The biggest takeaway is simply to maintain a mental split between working and being at home. That boundary is going to boost your productivity and make your whole work experience run much smoother.

July 17, 2019

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