5 Habits to Stay Productive When Working From Home
Working from home comes with its own set of challenges. There are always distractions around – everything from Netflix to social media to even housework can interfere with your focus whilst working. WFH also makes it challenging to create healthy boundaries between your responsibilities at work and your responsibilities at home. When one area spills into the other, it makes it a lot harder to stay focused and give a 100% to what you’re doing.
That is why, when I decided to start working on my business full-time from home, I knew I needed to put in the effort to make sure I can stay productive during a work day.
Here are the five daily habits I cultivated to help me get things done.
#1 Create a clean and tidy space
This first one is kinda obvious but that is only because it really does go a long way.
I always start my morning by tidying up my bedroom, living room and kitchen. This includes making the bed, putting away the dishes, fluffing cushions and putting everything back where they belong. For me, this only takes 20-30 minutes but it not only helps me warm up for the day, it also means I avoid having that nagging feeling in the back of my mind that some chore somewhere in the house needs to be taken care of.
#2 Write down a schedule or to-do list (or both!)
The second is to, of course, plan out your day. But how you do that depends on your personal preferences and needs: are you a more schedule-oriented person or to-do list-oriented person?
To answer this, you should ask yourself some questions. For example, does your day typically involve a lot of time-based activities such as meetings, appointments or classes? If this is the case, you might want to plan out a daily schedule. Our Daily Planner No. 11, which features a half-hourly schedule, is perfect for this.
Personally, I prefer a simple to-do list since I rarely have things scheduled. If you’re in the same boat, I would also suggest writing down your top three priorities for the day in addition to your to-do list. It’s tempting to write down as many things as possible on your to-do list at the start of the day but you risk feeling disappointed when you couldn’t cross everything off by the end of the day. Instead, by writing down your daily priorities, you will know exactly what to focus on when you feel like you won’t have enough time to do everything.
My current favourite daily is the Daily Planner No. 7.
#3 Signal when the work day starts and ends
This is probably the single most helpful tip for me when it comes to creating a healthy work-life balance and that is creating a signal or a ‘trigger’ of when the work day starts and when it ends.
As a shop owner, I have a list of tasks that I do at the start of the day and again at the end of the day. My ‘Daily Shop Tasks’ as I call it, includes checking emails, replying to customer messages and responding to comments on social media. This set of tasks serve as a trigger for me of when I’m logging into work and when I’m logging out. Any time outside of these triggers, I avoid doing any work-related things, unless absolutely necessary.
#4 Do time-bound tasks when taking a break
We know it’s important to take regular breaks throughout the day. BUT it’s equally important not to find yourself in the bottomless pit that is Instagram explore feed 2 hours later (totally not speaking from experience).
This is why I would suggest doing time-bound tasks or activities when you’re taking a break. Personally, I prefer doing chores like washing the dishes or folding laundry because there is an end in sight. But it could also be things like watching a short YouTube video, reading a chapter of a book, making a cup of tea (or coffee) or going for a short walk around the neighbourhood.
#5 Be kind to yourself
Whilst being productive feels satisfying and empowering, the fact is that you can’t be on top of your game all day every day. There will be days when things just don’t go your way or your energy level is low and you can’t be do everything you planned to do. These are the days when it is most important to be kind to yourself. Just remind yourself that you did your best and that tomorrow is another day and you can always try again.
I hope this post has given you some ideas of what you can do to boost your productivity when working from home. If you have any other tips, share them below!