How to Work from Home Productively

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

how_to_Work_from_home_productively

Hey everyone and Happy Wednesday! Today I thought it'd be fun to share some tips for working productively from your home. Whether you are a teacher who needs to just grade some papers or create lesson plans at home at night, a full-time blogger who works from home most of the time, or a CPA like me that occasionally works from home these tips are applicable.

I will admit my first year at a public accounting firm I found it difficult to get work done or focus when I had the opportunity to work at home. I normally would actually go into the office (even though that meant putting on real pants) just to force myself to focus and be more productive. Over the past couple of years that I've been working I've gotten better and better and working remote and realizing what helps and what I need to avoid doing. So, here are my tips for how to work productively from the comfort of your home.

ONE // Set a consistent wake-up time and stick to it. Sometimes when you're able to work from home it's really tempting to sleep in until 10am everyday or go out late one night and sleep in the next day. However, not maintaining a consistent sleep schedule can make it so your body is constantly confused and always feels slightly tired. Also, if you begin working really late in the morning you won't be able to squeeze in a full 8-9 hours of work until all your friends are already out of work for the day. It's really frustrating when it's 5:30pm and you start getting texts about happy hour but you can't go because you've only gotten 4 hours of real work done that day.

TWO // Avoid doing household chores and running errands. Obviously part of the perk of working from home is getting to schedule appointments and such during the work day when most people wouldn't be able to go. While the occasional doctor's appointment is fine to schedule I've found it's best to avoid doing everyday chores like vacuuming or laundry because it distracts you from your work and is going to constantly break your focus. I used to always do laundry while I was working from home, I thought I was being super productive and killing two birds with one stone, so to speak. However I began to notice that always having to get up, change the laundry, put in a new load, etc. really broke my concentration and getting back into the zone took awhile. 

THREE // Take set breaks rather than constant mini-breaks. Treat your home like an office, don't allow yourself to take breaks every hour for 5 minutes to do this or that. Instead take a longer lunch break and snack break in the afternoon, or run and get a coffee in the morning and then get right back into work. I remember one time I was in the middle of reading this book and I decided I'd read for five minutes every hour as a little break. I thought this would actually make me more productive at home, but instead I just wished I took an hour for lunch to sit on my deck and read instead of getting little breaks every hour which I constantly wanted to extend. This doesn't mean don't take short mental breaks throughout the day, but doing activities you would normally do after work if you worked at an office should be avoided throughout the day. 

FOUR // Make sure you have all the supplies and equipment you need in a set area. It's the worst when you're working at home and a client calls and you cannot find a pen anywhere. Instead, make sure you have all your supplies laid out and organized before you start your work day. For people that work at home full-time, this is probably a given, however for people like me that only work the occasional day from home it's important to set myself up in the morning before getting started for the day. This includes getting out my mouse, dual monitor, plugging in my laptop, setting out my notebooks, and getting my highlighters, pencils, and pens out. It really makes me feel like I'm at the office when I have everything within a comfortable reach throughout the day. 

FIVE // Never work on the couch. I used to try and audit on my couch, mostly when I'd be doing extra work after I had already worked a full day at a client site and wanted to just get a few more things done. I figured it was fine since I was just doing a couple of things and it wasn't like I was really in my work day. However, I found I was so unproductive and so uncomfortable that tasks that should have taken me one hour would take three. I would end up staying up late just to get everything done and only being able to bill for one hour because I was so unproductive. This also means, if you have a desk, work at your desk. If you don't have space for a desk (like me) find a nice table to work at or any type of flat surface where you can sit with an upright posture. 

SIX // If you're having a really hard time focusing and not browsing the internet, try an app like Self Control, which is a free app to allow you to block certain websites of your choosing for an amount of time you select. You can also choose to only be allowed to access certain websites for a set amount of time. I used to use this all the time in college when I needed to study and it helped so much! Nowadays I will use it to block my favorite online shopping sites, blogger, etc. Sometimes after looking at my email I will type in Facebook or Twitter out of habit, so it helps that the block comes up to snap me back into focus. 

Do you have any tips for working or studying at home? I'd love to hear them, leave your best tips in the comments below!

19 comments:

  1. I need that Self Control app.. I am the worst at working from home. I get so distracted by everything!

    Christina :: Simple and Delish

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  2. Oh these are great tips!! I don't know if I would have the concentration to work from home, but I would like to try someday!

    xx Chelsea
    www.organizedmessblog.com

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  3. Not using the couch or sitting in front of tv is my downfall.

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  4. Having a designated work space is key for me! Otherwise I sit on the couch and catch up on the DVR.

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  5. I'm so awful working at home - this post really helps :)

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  6. I don't work full time at home, but when I am working on my blog, it is easy to get distracted with everything that can be done around the house. These tips are really helpful for that! Thank you for sharing!

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  7. I've never heard of that app before, I need to check it out!

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  8. I'll take note of this on Friday ;)

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  9. I have the hardest time staying productive when I do work from home because you do have a lot of luxuries. That website blocking app would be perfect. I also like the tip about taking longer breaks instead of fewer breaks more frequently.
    - Amanda Shuman | www.carrylovedesigns.com/blog

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  10. Great post, Laura! I don't work my day job from home, but I am constantly around my phone, so I always find myself taking mini breaks to check it. I feel like your tip to take a longer break can translate into the office as well!

    www.insearchofsheila.com

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  11. This is such a helpful post! I don't usually work from home, but have had a few snow days lately and it's been almost impossible to focus. I needed to review these helpful tips yesterday as I sat on the couch being unproductive haha

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  12. I see my future as a work from home mom! JK! Great tips there! x

    http://www.theprettycitygirl.com/

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  13. i need to print this out and tape it to my wall LOL
    XO JNESS
    jenessasheffield

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  14. Great tips. It's definitely easier to be productive when you treat working at home similar to how you would work in an office.

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  15. Great tips. I work for a public accounting firm as well and learned the necessity of learning to work from home.

    www.citybelleblog.com

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  16. These are great tips and I think they will definitely help me!! I currently sit on my couch and work on my laptop but I really need to move to a desk!

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  17. The self control app?! I never heard of that! Getting that now. I constantly find myself scrolling through facebook and it's like "what am I even doing?" I'm also guilty of working from my couch lol.

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  18. Such great tips. I am getting better at this simply from not having any choice if I want to get my work done. I do sometimes still just need to get out of the house to focus when I'm burnt out but setting a schedule and clear goals to finish has really helped

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  19. Great tips! That self-control app sounds AMAZING. While I don't want to block myself, I feel like it'd definitely be the most effective tool for me, especially when I need to be focusing on something else!

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