December 1, 2021

How to Be Productive at Home? 12 Tips to Stay Focused

Productivity
How to Be Productive at Home? 12 Tips to Stay Focused

Working remotely - sounds like a luxury, doesn't it? Getting up 15 minutes before starting work, lying on the couch under a blanket, walking in sweatpants, and more free time. It's a perfect job, everyone's dream! But how long does this situation serve us? When our productivity ends and problems with work-life balance begin? Quite fast. That is why we have prepared 12 productivity tips for you at the home office and take care of occupational hygiene.

Quick navigation: 

1. Plan your and your family members’ day

2. Design your office space

3. Take care of your (morning) routine

4. Plan your workday

5. Do to-do list 

6. Take care of breaks

7. Eliminate distractions - stay focused

8. Multitasking - in life - yes, at the home office - not necessarily

9. Plan and prepare meals in advance

10. Take care of work-life balance

11. Stay in touch with co-workers

12. Take care of movement, preferably on fresh air

Plan your and your family members’ day

Remote work is so complicated that we are often not alone in the house. We have children, roommates, parents, or partners who want our interest and often need help. It is important to make a daily schedule accordingly and set boundaries. Inform that you are unavailable or unable to talk during the given hours. A good solution is to hang a plate or card with a color (green and red light) to inform them whether you can be interrupted or not. Such a signal will be much more understandable for your family members, especially for children - it can be a kind of fun.

 

Design your office space

Appropriate design of the workspace is the key to maintaining work-life balance. The ideal situation is when you can devote a separate room to the office, then the closed door is a clear signal - do not disturb. However, if you do not have such an opportunity, make sure that your work environment (no matter if it's a bedroom or a dining room) is equipped with a comfortable chair or armchair, space for a laptop, and notes. Ensure as much natural light as possible - it helps stay productive too (unless you are a night owl). A desk by the window is a good solution, it makes it easier for us to relieve our eyesight from constantly looking at the computer screen. Try to arrange your space to resemble an office space as much as possible.

 

Take care of your (morning) routine

Even though the word: routine is not very exciting for us, it is important for our body, which, accustomed to certain habits, can easily enter the mode: work or rest. A daily routine helps to increase our productivity levels and not to fall into stagnation when working from home begins to overwhelm us. It's best to start with simple steps - get up at the same time every morning, the sooner the better. Eat breakfast or drink coffee, take a shower, and most of all get out of bed, which should be only a rest zone. Having a good morning routine that works for you can help you get started on the right foot

 

Plan your workday

Productivity tracking report

When you have completed all your morning routine points, make a work schedule for the day or even the week. Determine when you reply to your e-mails, what time you have online meetings (especially video calls when everybody can see your house), and when you devote yourself to multiple projects. Such a constant cycle will allow you to focus on each task hard enough to get it done, but at the same time briefly enough not to lose your motivation. 

If you want to supervise your time even better and see how much time you spend on daily tasks, and how much time on ineffective activities, use TimeCamp. Time tracking has never been easier! TimeCamp runs in the background, tracking how much time is spent on specific tasks, when you take breaks, and when you are entertained. It shows your working hours down to the second. At the end of the day, you can analyze your statistics and fine-tune your work even better. After a few days with TimeCamp, you will see the overall progress you did.

 

Do to-do list 

boards-view-heyspace

Every day brings new challenges, especially when you work at the home office. Therefore, to organize tasks, but also to ensure psychological comfort, it is worth creating a to-do list. This is one of the best productivity techniques when you visualize your responsibilities. They will no longer be overwhelming, you will take control of them and calm your mind. You can put on it not only the tasks that await you at work but also after it, set priorities, and focus on one activity. 

Start writing your list on a paper sheet and then change for an online tool, like HeySpace. It allows you to create boards (task list), divided into cards, which are tasks to be performed. You can easily move them from to-do to in-progress or done sections. You can assign the name of the responsible person to the cards, but also a checklist or the start and end date of the task. Thanks to the use of Kanban boards, you can easily visualize your work, and most of all, you will not drown in tasks. With HeySpace every day will be a productive day.

 

Take care of breaks

Even the best employee gets tired someday, and the most creative one notices a creative blockage. That's why breaks are so important! Even successful people rest! Working for the entire day without even a single small pause kills your productivity faster than you think. Our organisms are not machines connected to electricity, to which access is permanent. Without food, a moment to stretch, a few minutes' walk on fresh air, or just airing the room, we get bored and quickly lose our motivation. 

Try the Pomodoro technique Focus on the task at hand for 25 minutes, and then take a 5-minute break. After four such series, you should have a longer break (from 15 to 30 minutes). However, remember to keep an eye on the time allocated to work and not exceed it by even a minute. Thanks to this, you will use your time effectively, and keep a healthy balance.

 

Eliminate distractions - stay focused

Working from home, in addition to being comfortable and saving time, also brought us a sense of less control by our employers. As a result, we allow ourselves to use the phone more often and scroll through social media (cat videos are so funny, right?), instead of making daily tasks. It is our main distraction at work, and it not only reduces our productivity but also literally consumes time! During work hours try to put your phone aside, turn off notifications, preferably the internet. Not everyone has the willpower strong enough to do this, if you are in this group, lock specific apps at certain times. 

However, some other distractions do not enable us to stay focused. It can be a television, a loud ticking clock, or a renovation at your neighbor's. Some of them you can't help too much (except maybe buying earplugs or going to the coffee shop for renovation time). However, you can easily eliminate some of them and, for example, by replacing the background noise with music for work.

 

Multitasking - in life - yes, at the home office - not necessarily

You probably know how often the topic of multitasking comes up when looking for a job or already doing it. There is a belief that doing several things at once is very effective, helps stay productive so is a valuable skill. What if I told you that multitasking is not always good? 

When you work on one task, but your thoughts are on several other tasks, your productivity decreases. Instead of focusing on making the most of your time and skill to finish one thing, you make plans in your head about what and how to do the rest. Multitasking is great when you run a house and need to cook dinner, talk to mom and change your baby simultaneously, but it doesn't always work at work. It increases stress levels and damages the rule: stay organized. Why? Because it creates chaos around you and switches your work mindset to "I can't! It's too much". Act according to the above rules, use the Pomodoro technique, and stay focused on one task.

 

Plan and prepare meals in advance

Nothing takes as much time as meal prepping! Especially when you add time to shopping and coming up with a recipe. When you are working remotely, you do not have as many options as in the office - you will not go to lunch with your colleagues, you will not take advantage of the delivery of meals to the office or you don’t have a pizza day. Therefore, it is worth considering the menu for the whole week in advance and preparing at least some of the meals the day before. You will save not only time but also nerves. You won't have to break your work rhythm anymore, because your stomach will ring in protest.

Bonus tip! By planning and preparing meals on your own you will spare some money and get more free time. You can use it on board games, a new hobby, getting to know new friends, or starting new habits.

 

Take care of work-life balance

Theoretically, since you are in remote work, taking care of work-life balance should be much easier. You just close your laptop, mute your phone, and "go home" straight away. Well no! It's hard to refrain from checking your email in the evening (sometimes even before going to bed) or making sure that the project goes according to plan. Your laptop is at your fingertips, so a 5-minute look is no sin, is it? Unfortunately, with this behavior you disturb the rhythm of the day, the balance between work and personal life begins to blur, and you have the impression that you never leave work. Therefore, when the time you set for your work end is over, close your laptop (but really close) and rest. Believe me, it is not just a tip for staying productive, but for your health too.

 

Stay in touch with co-workers

chat-view-heyspace

Closing at home is also a significant reduction in contact with your colleagues - you no longer have the opportunity to meet for a coffee in the kitchen or exchange a few innocent rumors. Therefore, take care of communication, even virtual. Here again comes to the rescue HeySpace, which in addition to task management also offers a chat, which is perfect for maintaining relationships in the team. Create a separate channel for memes, trivia, or just conversations when someone from the team needs contact. Don't forget that there are lots of remote workers struggling with the home office and all its pros and cons. Mutual support may turn out to be crucial in small crises.

 

Take care of movement, preferably on fresh air

Working at home limits our mobility, we no longer have to commute to work, stand in traffic jams, or travel with the crowd in one vehicle, but at the same time, we significantly limit our movement. At some point, we become lazy and our only exits from the house are to the grocery store (unless we use food deliveries). This can quickly translate into our condition, which is why it is so important to not forget about an evening walk, cycling, going to the gym, or early morning exercise. An oxygenated organism works more efficiently, and sport also helps to relieve stress and negative emotions. So don't wait, go outside today and start with a short (or long) walk. 

Do you prefer watching and listening than reading? Check our video!

 

We hope you use these "how to be productive at home" tips to increase your productivity and help you work at home as efficiently as possible. And if you are not a home office enthusiast anyway, we wish you to return to the office as soon as possible!


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