Working from home has become the norm at almost every company. Plenty of people dream about working from the comfort of their home, saving time on commute in favour of more sleep or time to exercise. However, working remotely is a tricky situation to be in. Yes, you can be home all day, but being able to focus can be a challenge. Whether it is the pile of dishes in the kitchen that suddenly looks way more appealing than your long to-do list or a quick Marie-Kondo-inspired spring cleaning, staying productive can be extra demanding.
So first thing’s first, sit comfortably and let us give you 14 essential tips on how to make the most out of your home office. Starting with a bonus tip – do not waste time reading tens of articles on productivity and concentration. This is the only guide you need.
Your home office
1. Choose a well-lit space
When you are contemplating on which part of the house to position your home office, choose a space that has plenty of natural light. This will keep you more awake and alert, as well as it will not be as harsh on your eyes when staring at the screen and your notes all day long.
2. Make yourself comfortable, but not too comfortable
Whereas the idea of working from bed can sound nice, it is not recommended. It can interfere with your sleep quality. There should be a separation between home and office even if you are working from home. Having your laptop and perhaps work phone while in bed can make you associate that space with stress.
Instead, choose a desk or a table where you can create your workspace. Pick a chair that is comfortable for your back and makes you sit straight. Maybe even put a pillow behind you in order to reduce stress on your back.
3. Clean up everything you don’t use on a regular basis
Once you have found your work corner, it is time to declutter the space around you in order to avoid distractions. Pick your essentials and move the rest to another part of your house.
Now that you have set up your working space and have made sure that there are no distractions, it is time to focus on how to be most productive.
1. Prepare your meals the night before
Start with preparing your food the night before so that you do not have to waste time. Lunchtime is not the best time to prepare your favourite Thai curry chicken recipe that you saw on Tasty the other day.
2. Get started early
While working from home can be tempting to hit snooze to your alarm more often than you should, make sure you actually get up early and have enough time to get ready for work. Not only does that make you more productive, but it also gives you a proper rhythm to follow.
3. Have a morning routine
What do you usually do before you go to work? Get up, shower, grab a cup of coffee, have breakfast, meditate, change clothes. Having a morning routine allows you to prepare your mind for work and be more productive throughout the day.
4. Plan out what you’ll be working on ahead of time
It is easy to get lost in between all the tasks you have to do. Make sure to have a plan or a to-do list for the day so that you can properly get things done. Which leads us to the next point.
5. Work on one task at a time
Multitasking usually results in getting things half-done. Instead, work on one task at a time so that you can devote your full attention to it and make sure it is properly done. Then you can move to the next task.
6. Always cut to the chase
Just get to it. Small talk, delaying, waiting around… it’s a waste of time. Sit down and get things done.
7. Take regular breaks
It is important to take small breaks every 40-45 minutes or so. Make a cup of coffee or walk around the room. Also, schedule some time for lunch and an afternoon break because your brain cannot concentrate properly for a big chunk of time at once.
8. Put your phone away
Intuitive, yet so many of us are guilty of it. Notifications can distract you so put your phone on silent and put it away until your next break.
Schedule some time for exercise. It can be part of your morning routine or after working hours, but exercise stimulates your brain and can make you more focused on what you need to do later. Plus, staying fit is an added benefit especially when sitting at your desk all day long.
10. Generate ideas and write them down
Record all your thoughts and ideas. Some might come in handy now and others later, but it’s always good to keep track of what you come up with. Brainstorm some of them with your team members if needed, since feedback is always good for keeping your creativity going.
Next, rank your ideas using the RICE or any other method, in order to find out which one is the best to begin with.
11. Log off
As much as our managers would like us to work 24/7, that is not beneficial for you, nor the quality of your work. So make sure you set a time when you can call it a day and wrap things up. The best thing to do before that is to think about and plan your activities for the next day so that you are ready and well-prepared.
The tips we have provided you with should set you up for success when making the most out of your home office. In addition, getting a good night’s sleep is key for being more productive and alert the next day.
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