Top 3 Ways To Be More Productive From Home
Working from home is often considered the ideal working environment – but it can be difficult to keep on track
There are approximately 4.2 million homeworkers in the UK, or 13.9% of those in work. Productivity is one of the most common reasons for workers saying that they would prefer to work away from the office: 76% of workers would prefer to work from home to avoid interruptions from colleagues, with a close 75% saying that home-working has fewer distractions. In fact, homeworking was overwhelmingly preferable for those surveyed, with a staggering 93% of workers saying that they would not choose the office as an ideal working environment.
Working from home offers a wide range of benefits, including setting your own hours, creating your own working environment, and saving money and time by eliminating the daily commute. But keeping yourself motivated can be difficult when you’re home alone. To avoid disappointing your employer or client, these are the three main tips for keeping yourself motivated and productive.
1. Optimise your working environment
Sitting on the same sofa you use for relaxing and watching TV is going to put you in that same mind-set – and that blank TV in front of you is just asking to be switched on! If possible, set aside your own room that is exclusively for work. It can be something as simple as a re-purposed closet, utility, or spare bedroom: as long as there’s space for desk and chair, you’re good to go. If you’re really pressed for space, consider creating a nook in the dining or living room.
Keep your space clean and tidy so that everything is where you need it and you aren’t distracted by clutter. Artwork on the walls or small house plants such as cacti can make your work space more attractive and an enjoyable place to work rather than feeling like you’ve been put in isolation. If you like to be surrounded by people, consider taking your workspace to a coffee shop or public library for soothing background noise that shouldn’t be too much of a distraction – particularly if everyone else is working too.
As part of your office environment, dress appropriately. You don’t have to don a suit to be an effective freelancer, but getting out of pyjamas or loungewear and into something less “comforting” will prep your psyche for the working day.
2. Plan your time
Set a routine that works best for you, even if it isn’t the typical 9-5. Keep your other priorities in mind: if you know you have to pick the kids up at three (and that you’ll be unable to work once when they’re home), structure your day so that your work is completed by the time you leave the house. This might mean starting work within half an hour of waking up or taking a short lunch break – or taking a longer break three ’til seven and then getting in an extra hour after dinner. If the thought of early hours leaves you cold but you find yourself productive once everyone else is in bed, then make night-time working part of your routine.
Break up your daily tasks so that you know exactly how you’re progressing, and you can feel accomplished throughout the day as they’re ticked off. Small tasks are much more manageable than one giant project that doesn’t seem to be going anywhere.
3. Step away from the desk
A great benefit of home-working is that you can leave whenever you want. Factor breaks into your day, especially walks outside: keeping active is good for your cardiovascular health, natural light provides vitamin D, and a break from the computer screen refreshes your eyes and restores your focus.
And remember to shut the door on your office at the end of your office hours, whether that’s literally refusing to go back inside your working space or turning off your phone. Working from home doesn’t mean that your home is a constant workspace. Reclaim your free time to keep yourself motivated for the next day.
Make home-working work for you
Although working from home is preferable for the majority of workers, whether it’s foregoing the office one day a week or full-time, it can quickly become a wasted opportunity if you aren’t prepared. Our homes should be restful and places of leisure, and so it can be difficult to transform it into a productive workspace – which then has to become a relaxing environment again. These three tips are the backbone of effective home-working, but remember that there is unlimited potential for personalisation to ensure that it works for you.