18 clever tips to increase productivity when working from home
Writing a blog post with tips on how to stay productive when working from home was on my to-write list for some time now, for several reasons. First of all, a lot more people are working from home since the pandemic. This means working from home is still relatively new for many of you, and people are in need of good work-from-home tips. Now, more than ever before!
Secondly, I am writing this post, because by now, through a lot of trial and error, I feel like I found a good handle on the work-from-home thing. Working from home with a toddler running around, without getting extremely frustrated or exhausted anymore. That is why I would like to share my Working From Home Tips That Will Help You Increase Productivity Tips with you!
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Working from home has its advantages, but also comes with its disadvantages!
Working from home has a lot of advantages: you can wake up later because you don’t have to travel to work, you have more peace and quiet compared to working in a busy office, provided you don’t have children in the house, you can do your laundry and dishes during your breaks, and you can choose your own working hours.
But… as with everything in life, working from home also has its cons. I know that many people find it very challenging to work from home. Because how can you be productive – and stay productive – when nobody is there to check if you’re actually working? I mean, those lunches with your best friend take a lot longer now there’s no boss to monitor your lunchtimes any longer. 😉
Your phone, television and your children can be distracting factors as well when you’re trying to work. And some days you just don’t feel like working at all. So, how to make sure to finish all your tasks at the end of the week? How to stay productive? Here are my best Working From Home Tips that help to increase productivity.
18 Working From Home Tips To Increase Productivity
1. Wake up early
I don’t know if this works the same way for you, but I’m way more productive in the morning than I am later during the day. With a toddler in the house, I often can’t get much done during the day and in the evening, when she’s asleep, my battery is already running low. For me, it helps me to get up before my daughter wakes up, around 6 o’clock. If I’m lucky, she will sleep until 8, and that gives me 2 full undisturbed hours to work!
I can get so much done in those 2 hours that I feel much calmer the rest of the day and I even have time left for quality time with my family in the evening! If you’re not a morning person, I can imagine waking up early sounds horrible to you, but I promise you, it really helps and you’ll feel so good and satisfied for the rest of the day!
2. Get dressed
It sounds like the perfect day: you can take a shower and get dressed whenever you want because you work from home anyways! But if you want to increase productivity, this could be a giant pitfall. Have you ever noticed how your mindset changes as soon as you got dressed? Weirdly enough, I always take myself more seriously after I put on some clothes, and it helps me to be more productive throughout the day as well.
Even though you don’t need to go anywhere, you still feel a lot better when you take good care of yourself, right? Staying around in your PJs or tracksuit often makes you feel like you’re just hanging around and we tend to behave as we feel.
Also read: 18 tips to stay productive when you’re working from home
3. Positive mindset
Nothing can stand in your way like negative thoughts that are continuously running through your mind. Negative thoughts can distract you tremendously and they get you nowhere at all. That’s why it’s important to maintain a positive mindset, no matter the situation you’re dealing with. Try to see the positive side of the situation, turn negative thoughts around, and if that doesn’t work, take a break to meditate.
When I’m not feeling well mentally, my working day automatically becomes more stressful and tiring than normal as well. If you have an off day like this, and you feel like your thoughts are taking over, just pause and take some time for yourself.
Is positive thinking difficult for you?
Then take a look at my book tip by the amazing Gabby Bernstein at the end of this post. She is the queen of creating a positive (business) mindset and her philosophy on life can help you turn your thoughts around.
4. Create a morning routine
A morning routine means self-care and when you take good care of yourself, you feel better. And it helps to be more productive, too. Nothing helps me as much to stay productive during the day as sticking to my morning routine. For me, my morning routine consists of breakfast, yoga, meditation, reading my affirmations, showering, getting dressed, and cleaning up my house and workspace.
On most days this morning routine is way too ambitious with a toddler around. 😉 But on the days I manage to stick to this routine, the rest of the day feels much easier. More relaxed, more positive, and I have more energy. Try to create a morning routine for yourself, too! Choose things that work well for you and see if you can benefit from it!
5. Set deadlines and break down your tasks into smaller tasks
When you’re working on a big assignment that needs to be finished on time, you sometimes don’t know where to start. As a result, you start to procrastinate or you don’t even start at all, or much too late. In that case, it can be helpful to break this assignment up into multiple smaller tasks and to set a deadline for each of these mini-tasks. This way you make it manageable and doable for yourself.
3 small daily tasks / 3 big weekly tasks
Another method that can help is by giving yourself 3 tasks every day that need to be completed at the end of the day and 3 larger tasks that need to be completed at the end of the week. This way you force yourself to set priorities. Plus: it feels good at the end of the day to see that all 3 of your daily tasks have been completed.
You can also choose to divide your goals into daily themes; for example, on Monday and Tuesday you work on new blog posts, on Wednesday you create all your Pinterest Pins for the coming week, and so on. This will help you to keep it clear to yourself when you’re doing what, and you will feel less tempted to work on tasks you haven’t prioritized for that day.
By setting deadlines and breaking your tasks into smaller tasks, you can also track your productivity stats so that you can see how much you have accomplished at the end of each day, week, or month.
6. Turn off radio/television or listen to classical music
I always feel a bit uncomfortable when a room is completely silent, that’s why I always turn on some kind of sound in the background. And for some time, I manage to be very productive with that “background sound” from the television, or from Spotify, but at a certain point, when they start to talk about something interesting, I get distracted big time. Happens every time!
That’s why I now choose to listen to more relaxing or classical music in the background instead. They say classical music increases your ability to focus! Which is great. It means I don’t have to deal with this deathly silence, and I’m getting more productive at the same time! White noise can also help to block out background noises that distract you. White noises are sounds that overshadows distracting background noises. You can find free White noise apps in the app store of your phone.
7. Block apps and websites that distract you
For most people, their biggest Productivity Killers are social media and their smartphones. Even when you just use social media for business purposes. There’s no need to always see what someone has liked, to immediately respond to a question, or to keep up with the latest news all day long.
There are special apps that let you block the apps or websites that distract you between certain times or when you feel like you’re using them excessively long. I use the BlockSite application (Android) for this, for example. I use it to block all news sites on my phone. If I want to watch the news now, I have to do it on my laptop, and because of that, I often check the news much later. Too much effort! There’s really no need to read the same news 10 times a day.
And, I block applications with the Block app (Android). This really is the invention of the century to me! You can choose to block apps between certain hours, but you can also choose to block an application if you used it for an x-number of minutes per hour. It’s brilliant!
This is a perfect way to control your social media behavior and to quickly get your focus back on the things that really matter.
For iOs I found a few apps as well. However, I can’t test them myself, because I don’t have an iOs device.
To block websites: Blocksite App
To block apps: Freedom App
Do you know a better app for iOs devices? Let me know in the comments!
8. Focus on 1 task at a time – Time Blocking Method
With 1,001 tasks on your to-do list, it can be tempting to work on all of them at the same time, as well. I tend to “multitask” all the time because I always feel like I don’t have enough time to do it all. Ironically, this multitasking behavior is part of the reason why I’m running out of time, to begin with. Because when you do multiple things at the same time, you don’t get anything done and you can’t be productive.
If you’re a “multitasker” as well, I recommend you to start blocking your time. Make a rough schedule at the beginning of the day where you indicate for yourself between which hours you plan to work on each task. This way you will still work on all priority tasks, but much more efficiently than when you don’t have a schedule attached to them. If you don’t complete a task within the given time frame, you schedule the follow-up for that task for the next day.
When you work for yourself from home, you can be tempted to finish that series on Netflix first, and plan to work later. Or you want to clean the bathroom before you start working because that bathroom is so icky… it really needs to be done! But if you’d work at an office, you can’t clean your bathroom first. You’re expected at the office in the morning, and you’ll have to wait to find out how that thrilling episode of your favorite series ends until you come back home in the evening.
You should think the same way about your day when you’re working from home. You start your day working, and when your Work from home day is finished, you can relax and clean. If you don’t have this mindset, you’ll never really get to work.
By the way, taking on some small chores during your workday might seem harmless, but…
…according to research, it takes around 25 minutes to be able to fully focus again on your job after you’ve been distracted.
So just calculate how much time you lose on doing a couple of 5-minute small house chores in between. If you have a partner or children, it is important to talk about this with each other as well. When you’re working, it means you’re working and there won’t be time for household chores or playing. When you’re “at work” playing with the kids, or doing chores is up to your partner, or babysitter.
If you can work, without being disturbed, you can work much faster, and more efficiently, and you will end up having more time for your children, your partner, and the household later. If you don’t do this, you will be working all day, doing chores all day, and you’ll never feel relaxed enough to spend quality time with the people you love.
Also interesting for you to read: Small Home Business Ideas to start
10. Reward yourself
You’ve been super productive and you’ve reached your goals! That’s great! But what do you give yourself in return for your hard labor? You don’t need to gift yourself a new car for finishing one blog post, but it does help to motivate yourself with a small reward for every achievement. It can be something small, like a Pumpkin latte from Starbucks, a hot bath, or a refreshing walk outside. A reward also forces you to disconnect from your work for a bit and to give yourself some Me-time!
And for the bigger achievements, you should reward yourself with something of the same magnitude, of course. 😉 Like a weekend getaway or that beautiful dress. It’s fine, you’ve worked hard for it!
11. Create a comfortable workspace
One of the things that can distract you the most from work, is a workplace where you don’t sit and feel comfortable, which is incredibly counterproductive. I often work while I’m sitting on my couch, with my laptop on my lap, and it never takes long before I start to feel it in my neck, back, and shoulders. Make sure you have a proper table/desk to work on, preferably a standing desk. And in any case you need to invest in a good office chair that supports you well and that you can adjust to the correct height. If you work on a laptop, with a touchpad, please connect an ergonomic mouse to your laptop, and use it at all times.
Dear friends, this is really worth the investment. We’re talking about your long-term health here. I’ve been suffering from shoulder problems for years now because I didn’t know how to adjust my office desk the right way when I started working at my job 10 years ago. It’s still haunting me to this day. You really don’t want that! Pain can be a huge distraction and very difficult to get rid of. Just make sure you create a comfy work-from-home space for yourself, you practically live there!
12. Take enough breaks
Don’t work too long without taking a break. Move away from the computer screen every now and then. Go out for a short walk, do the dishes, do some stretches, or get a few groceries. You’ll feel refreshed and sharp again when you come back and you’ll prevent physical pain and discomfort.
13. Finish tasks you don’t like first
Begin the day with the tasks you like the least. Now, you still have the energy for it, but after a few hours of work, you really won’t be in the mood for daunting tasks. I know that I start to procrastinate and distract myself with other things if I save these tasks for later. Reserve the 1st hour of your day for the tasks you are most reluctant to tackle. Once these tasks are completed, you will feel a lot better for the rest of the day and you can spend the rest of the day focussing on tasks that make you feel happy!
14. Use a productivity planner
A great way to boost your productivity is to make your goals concrete and measurable through the use of a planner. Writing your goals down, gives you peace of mind, too! Which helps you to focus better on your tasks instead of just thinking about them!
Etsy offers some great printable planners, created by amazing designers. They’re so gorgeous and yet, very affordable!
15. Healthy lifestyle
Self-evident, but it’s still important to emphasize this. Especially if you’re a workaholic like myself, it can be very tempting to eat something easy and unhealthy or to just skip entire meals. Prepare yourself before your workday starts, and make sure you have enough healthy, nutritious food in the house.
And once again, don’t forget to move a little! Working from home is perfect, but when I still worked in an office, at least I had to take regular walks. From the subway to the office, to meetings, and getting lunch during breaks. When you work from home, you move less. That’s why exercise is essential, for your mental and for your physical health. It helps you to stay sharp, productive, and positive.
16. Set an end time for your workday
It is ok to stop working at the end of the day. I know it’s tempting to work non-stop when you’re working from home until you go to sleep, but enough is enough. Shut down your laptop, stop answering messages, don’t post anything on social media, and don’t check social media anymore. It’s time to live a little and to refuel, so you can continue completely refreshed tomorrow!
17. Bonus tip for moms and dads who work from home
Yes, you! I know who you are! 😉 Be nice to yourself! Working from home with small children running around the house is not an easy task, to say the least. A few days ago I even joked that the movie “Mission Impossible” should be about parents working from home with kids around because it often really IS mission impossible. So, be proud of yourself for everything that you get done each day! I consider every 30 minutes spent working productively from home as a win because that’s what it really is!
If you have the option to do so, find a great babysitter to help you out a few days of the week! I know that us moms and dads prefer to do everything by ourselves, but accepting help is a strength, not a weakness. We really don’t have to be a Super Woman or Super Man.
18. Book Suggestions
David Allen – Gettings Things Done
If you want to learn to be productive from the Master of Productivity himself, you should read this book!
Gabby Bernstein – Super Attractor
Gabby has been my go-to positivity and business guru for a while now and her books are very pleasant to read. Her philosophy is focused on positive thinking and the law of attraction and she believes that you can live your dream life and create your dream business with the right mindset. Must read!
Stephen R. Covey – The 7 habits of highly effective people
Honestly, I still haven’t read this book, but it’s been on my to-read list for a long time! That’s why I felt I still needed to share it with you here, in this post. The people I know who read it, are now big fans of Covey and his method. Have you read it yet? I’d like to hear your honest opinion!
Working from home can be great and comes with many pros, but it’s not always easy to be – and stay – productive throughout your working day. The Working From Home tips I mentioned in this post can help increase productivity and make your workday from home more comfortable and easier. Choose a few that you think might work best for you and apply them to your workday! I would love to hear if this post has been helpful to you!
Do you have other suggestions/comments / questions? Leave a message in the comments in the comment section below! And don’t forget to share this post on social media. Sharing is caring! <3!
You really hit each one of these tips perfectly! Honestly, I do most of these and highly recommend them all. Having a routine that involves getting up early and making sure you are getting ready (out of your pajamas at least) is absolutely crucial! I have also been loving listening to a Spotify playlist called calming acoustic, and that is amazing for my concentration as well because it is also instrumental like classical music is, too. Thank you for sharing these awesome tips!
Thank you for the Spotify-list suggestion! Will add it to my account, I love great playlists like that! And thank you so much for taking the time to comment. 🙂
I agree with all of these tips! When I first started working from home, I took advantage of the extra time in the morning and slept late. But I definitely realized I was more productive when I woke up earlier and gave myself time to ease into the day instead of having to jump right into work first thing. I *have* found myself getting distracted during the day recently, so I might have to try the Blocksite app soon. Thanks for the recommendation!
You’re welcome, and thank you so much for commenting! I now started to wake up at 6am consistently and my days look completely different, so I totally understand what you’re saying. The Blocksite app really helps. We don’t even realize anymore how often we’re going back to the same websites and apps to see the same things we already saw 5 minutes before. I hope it will help you. :))
I always try to create a routine. Even though sometimes I don’t follow it. I need to work on that..
Thank you for taking the time to comment! Same here, I have a routine… do I stick to it? Nope! Let’s both work on it 😉
Definitely some helpful tips here. I’ve been struggling to stay focused since working from home. Hopefully, this will help me.
Thank you so much for commenting! I hope my tips will help you, too. I know it can be so hard to stay focused, distractions are surrounding us constantly.
Fantastic tips to stay productive!!
Thank you Deepti!
AMEN to time blocking!
Seriously what a life saver!
So many great tips here in a great post!
Thank you so much for taking the time to read and comment! I agree, time blocking really is a life saver. 🙂
Thanks for these helpful tips!
This is great! I love working from home but sometimes it is hard to focus because there are constantly things to distract me. I love how detailed and great tips that you shared! 🙂
Thank you so much! 🙂
Planning a morning routine has really helped me out! Also, finally setting up an actual home office space with a desk, chair and an inspirational bulletin board has really helped me stay productive while working from home. Thanks for sharing this!
That’s great! I hope to have an office space like yours too one day. 🙂 And morning routines are key! On days I don’t stick to mine, I feel so stressed throughout the day.
These are great tips! I have a planner that I like to use and it’s helped me with managing all my tasks! I find that waking early also ensures that I finish everything on time. x
Planners can be so helpful, right? I keep a digital one, and when I use it properly it helps a lot! X