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For most people, working from home effectively is harder compared to the office.
If you think about it, there are numerous factors that influence productivity at home that you don’t need to care about in a corporate setting.
When you are your own boss or there is nobody else to control your progress and working hours, it’s all on you. You need to organize efficient daily routines and stick to them, set up a productive environment for yourself, and show up to your home office with the right mindset every single day.
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Let’s take a look at 6 important factors that affect your productivity at home and what you can do to make them work for you instead of against you!
1. Organized workplace
First of all, you absolutely need to dedicate a specific space at home that will be your office!
I’m not saying you can’t be productive while working from your bed.
However, your brain associates your bed with sleeping: this is most likely a strict pattern that you’ve been building for years. So it’ll require much more brainpower to work against your usual patterns related to that place and mindfully do something productive in bed for hours in a row.
Of course, you’ll probably break that pattern if you work in your bed every single day. But I’d rather not do this as it will inevitably mess with your sleep as a result!
Don’t worry, your home office doesn’t have to be a separate room! There are plenty of tiny home office ideas out there where people get really creative and set up a cozy office even in the smallest corners at home.
The coolest thing? There are no rules on what you can and can’t do when it comes to organizing your home office! Use anything and everything that makes you feel happy, organized, and productive.
Here are some quick ideas for things you may find useful for your workplace:
- Laptop stand
- Dual-sized desk pad
- Adjustable storage rack
- Cork board or wire grid
- Corner desk
- Floating shelves
- Inspirational posters
- Cute succulent pots
- Comfortable chair
- Motivational calendar
As long as you use your home office exclusively for work, your brain will start creating the corresponding neural connections. It will help you spent your time effectively and kinda trigger “work mode ON” the moment you enter your office area!
2. Work schedule
Whether you are a freelancer or an entrepreneur, you probably chose this lifestyle to get rid of strict schedules, right? That was surely a big thing for me! I hated sitting tight at the office for the same hours every day and not being able to go for a walk before it was dark outside.
Working from home gives you all that freedom to plan your day as you want it.
But, it doesn’t mean skipping the planning part altogether.
You still need to define hours that work for you and allow you enough flexibility for other stuff you need to do during the day. You need a system. You can’t be productive on a daily basis without a system in place.
It may be that 9 am to 5 pm, 10 am to 7 pm, or whatever your office hours may have been, is still a good fit for you!
Or maybe you are an early bird and can start working at 6 or 7 in the morning.
Wanna work 12-hour days to grow your business and then skip the whole days? Fine!
Or maybe you need a 3-hour lunch window to run some errands? This can work too!
You can decide to work on weekends and then take a couple of weekdays off instead. You are the only one to set the rules! Although this is not the best solution if all your friends work office jobs.
There are no restrictions here! Maybe just working two hours in the morning is enough for you so you have more time to care about your children. Or you may dedicate a few highly effective hours before bed to work on your side hustle.
Whichever system feels best for you, use it. You can still be productive if you work two hours a day! Just make sure you actually spare that time for nothing else but work. Choose specific hours and stick to them to become a highly effective person!
When the time comes, go to your cozy well-organized home office and start another productive day!
3. Productivity tools
Using the right tools for your work is the key factor that influences productivity in the workplace.
For example, I can’t imagine my life without tools like Evernote or Todoist. I use them constantly on a daily basis and they help me organize everything, stay sane keeping all the important stuff in place and focus on my work!
Here are a few tools that can make your work easier:
- Project/task management system: Teamwork, Asana, Trello, Monday, Jira (or my favorite minimal one – Todoist)
- Time tracker: RescueTime, Clockify or Toggl
- Note-taking app: Evernote
- Accounting software: FreshBooks
- Password manager: LastPass
- Grammar and spelling checker: Grammarly
- Other business tools: Pabbly, GrassHopper
More than that, nowadays we have so many cool all-in-one management tools that have been created specifically for freelancers and business owners! For example, one platform like And.co can take all the heavy lifting off your work: from proposals and contracts to payments and expenses tracking. And they even have a free plan, so definitely worth checking!
There are also amazing services like AppSumo that offer crazy deals for different platforms.
Really, their one-time prices are insane sometimes compared to the usual monthly payments for those products! Check them out by yourself and compare prices!
Besides, they have a great collection of tools that may be useful for you depending on what you do. This is one of those rare email subscriptions you have that are actually useful.
4. Unlimited distractions
Everyone’s home is different. For someone who lives alone it may be a quiet and peaceful place compared to a crowded office. But for someone who lives in a small apartment with a big happy family it may be the opposite.
Of course, people are just one of the many distractions you can be facing in your home office. Thankfully, there are things you can do to minimize distractions even when you have never worked from home before and don’t have much self-discipline yet.
- Set rules with your family members
Teach your children not to disturb you when you are working. Occupy them with a quiet hobby that will grab their attention for a longer period of time. Come up with a system that makes it easier for everyone to support your work. At the very least, have that talk with whoever lives with you to make them understand how important it is for you!
If nothing seems to be working, consider looking for a coworking space where you can escape the home chaos a couple of days per week.
- Limit your phone interactions
There is an unlimited ocean of information around us these days. We can easily drown in it if we aren’t careful!
I’m sure you faced a situation when you lost a chunk of time on thoughtless scrolling through a social media feed. Likely, more than once or twice, am I right?
I can’t promise it will never happen to you again. But I have some tricks to minimize cellphone distractions that will help you focus on your work!
- Use tools that stop you from getting distracted
Even if you are the master of self-discipline, you don’t have to always rely on your self-control. We are all humans! And various digital services make it their mission to grab and keep our attention.
Luckily, there are the opposite services, let’s call them “good” services. These ones are created to help you focus and keep the distractions away. I personally use a beautiful Forest app: the idea is that you grow a tree if you keep focused for a chosen amount of time but your tree will die if you get distracted. You can even see how productive your week or month was according to how big of a forest you’ve grown!
Other tools to help you focus:
5. Consistent routines
When you stay at home 24/7, it’s easy to get caught up in an endless cycle of chores. There are always things that need to be done and other seemingly urgent things that require your immediate attention.
Sometimes you get so busy with running errands that you don’t find time for actual work. That’s very unlikely to happen when you work at the office, right? This is why you need to create systems for yourself and follow them to the T to be as productive at home as you could be in the corporate setting!
As soon as you come up with a work schedule that works for you (see factor 2), you can build your day around it. Dedicate time for everything that’s important to you, whether it’s chores, time with your loved ones, a beauty routine, your daily workout, or even answering social media messages.
If you enjoy an hour-long bath every other day, put it into your schedule so it doesn’t interfere with any other activities. By using a time blocking technique you’ll see how much time you really have in a day and what’s more important to you. Make sure you don’t sacrifice your fixed work time for “emergencies” too often!
Another thing worth mentioning here is having consistent sleeping patterns.
When you wake up at the same time every day, your life gets a rhythm and it’s much easier to follow your schedule. Also, according to different studies, sleepiness affects your work in many negative ways besides just being less productive! So take good care of yourself and get your beauty sleep!
Being motivated to work is another one, if not the biggest, of factors that influence productivity at home. It can work both ways: from getting unmotivated and staying in bed all day to diving all-in for a 15-hour work day. Both will probably happen to you at some point when you start working from home.
The problem is, there is nobody else to motivate you on a daily basis, so you have to motivate yourself with all the ways you know!
If you have a “normal” remote job with a boss who can motivate you, you can skip this part.
When you sit at the open-space office and someone is watching you all the time, or when you have to log your time and progress and get performance reviews, you can’t just be slacking all day. Compared to a nice comfy bed nearby that calls for you and nobody else to track your progress – that is how it is when you work for yourself.
Obviously, it’s harder to be productive when you feel lazy at home but you have to watch yourself and keep yourself accountable! That’s why it’s called being your own boss!
Incorporate a growth mindset, watch one or two motivational videos before you start your day, set SMART goals, and reward yourself when you achieve them.
You are the only one you can count on, so be your own best friend, boss, and colleague, and put on the necessary hard work to reach your goals!
Final thoughts on factors that influence productivity at home
Those were six crucial factors affecting your productivity levels at home. If you have anything to add to this, please leave a comment below!
Working from home is nothing like being in the office with all your team members, having organized processes and a productive work environment. There are systems there created specifically to increase employee productivity in the workplace.
When you are working for yourself, you are on your own. You need to create your own systems that influence your work in all the good ways: help you focus, remove distractions, and consistently improve productivity.
But this is the best part at the same time! You can set up a perfect work environment that works for you, decorate it so you feel motivated every time you show up to your home office, and nobody will be there to judge you!
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