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20 Ways to Stay Productive Working From Home

As our companies become more nimble and our jobs become more flexible, more and more people have started to work from home.

It can be hard to stay productive for people who are new to working from home. I’ve spent the past four years working from home as a consultant – these are my top 20 tips for staying productive when you work from home.

A woman working from home.

Being Productive When Working From Home

With flexibility, comes responsibility. When you set the schedule for your day, you have to take ownership of how much gets done and what to prioritize.

Whether you’re an entrepreneur, consultant, or remote employee – these 20 tips will help you accomplish the most you can each day.

  1. Have a dedicated workspace – even if it’s just a specific chair you always sit in, have a spot that you know means work. Don’t sit in bed. 
  2. Shower and do your personal care routine each morning – keeping a routine during the workweek is essential. 
  3. Dress like you are going to work, or at least in business casual clothes – you don’t have to wear a suit but wear pants with a real waistband (no sweats, no yoga pants)
  4. Make a schedule for what you’ll get done, the night before – setting your priorities the night or afternoon before will focus you and you can get right into your projects the next day.
  5. Set timers for projects – determine the amount of time you should be able to get things done in and then set a timer. You only have to focus on that project during the time you’ve set. 
  6. Track the amount of time you’ve worked on projects – using a tool like Toggl or Harvest lets you see where you’re spending your time and you can readjust if it’s not how you want your day to be structured. It’s also very helpful if you’re billing clients. 
  7. Give yourself a lunch break – allow your mind to rest for at least 30 minutes to one hour during the day, it will help you focus during the afternoon.
  8. Give yourself breaks to go for a walk – get up and move periodically throughout the day. It’s easy to be sedentary when you work from home. It keeps your mind and body sharp to get some fresh air. 
  9. Exercise each day – choose some time in the morning or evening to move your body. This goes back to being more sedentary when you work from home. 
  10. Connect virtually with colleagues if you need inspiration – if you are feeling stuck or need a pick-me-up, share a laugh or consult with a colleague. 
  11. Keep your workspace clean and organized – having a tidy workspace allows your mind to focus. A cluttered desk, a cluttered mind. 
  12. Have somewhere to keep your files – don’t allow loose papers to pile up, have a system for them and a place to store them like you would in an office. Or better yet, if you can, shred them and get rid of them. 
  13. Mute notifications on your phone and computer – turn off all unnecessary pop-ups and notifications on your devices. It’s too distracting if you let them ping away through the day. Set a time to check them though so you don’t worry about what you’re missing. 
  14. Use the newsfeed eradicator on Facebook – social media can be a huge temptation and time waster. Use an extension like Chrome’s newsfeed eradicator to take away the distraction. 
  15. Give yourself something to look forward to when you accomplish a big task – this could be a walk around the block, 10 minutes playing a fun game on your phone, or anything else you enjoy. 
  16. Listen to background music, but only if it helps you focus – some people really need a little noise to focus. I wouldn’t recommend having Netflix on in the background – anything with words can be distracting. 
  17. Do chores around your house the night before – make your bed in the morning, but try to have everything else around your house tidy from the night before, so you aren’t tempted to clean the kitchen instead of working. 
  18. Let people know your office hours – let your colleagues, friends, and family know the hours you work. Your clients and colleagues should expect to be able to reach you during a certain time and your loved ones should know when you expect to be given space. 
  19. Get noise-canceling headphones if you need to – if your roommates or partner also works from home, it can get noisy. If you’re in a small space, you may need to invest in noise-canceling headphones. 
  20. Stop work at the end of your set workday – it will be there again tomorrow.

Have more ideas of what keeps you focused and on track when you work remotely or from home? Let us know in the comments below.