The Nudge Series #7: 5 Ways To Stay Productive When Working From Home!

I love being able to roll out of bed, put on my robe, turn on a kettle of hot tea and get comfy in my little workspace. Sounds perfect right? Well, if only it was that easy!

Sometimes I find it extremely difficult to stay focused and I am not as productive as I could be. There are so many distractions at home and it can be tempting to get caught up doing anything other than work. So, I recently started implementing new habits to improve my productivity at home and I am hoping it could do the same for you all!

1. Create the perfect ambiance
Working from home has its advantages, especially having control over the type of environment you are in. If you don't have a home office, create a dedicated space to work from home. My home office space is a corner in my living room and decorated with motivational quotes above my desk, equipped with pretty stationery, stocked with inspirational books, fresh flowers, a large desk with just the perfect amount of leg and arm space. Everything about my space puts me in the right mind-frame to do work and if I ever drift off or lose inspiration, it helps to look up and see quotes from people that inspire me. Creating an ambiance that works for you is critical and can set the right tone for you daily. Just make sure your dedicated place isn't your bed or couch.

2. Set an alarm and pretend you are going to work (this one has worked for me)
It is a proven fact that the mental association you make between work and the office can make you more productive, and there's no reason that feeling should be lost when you are working from home. Start your day like you would any other workday: Set an alarm the night before and prepare yourself for the next day's work. Wake up, put on nice clothes (comfy of course), make a cup of tea or coffee, and head to your desk. You should get to work first thing in the morning, otherwise, you will waste time slouching around your place and losing any motivation to start your work.

Extra tip: If you use Google Chrome, you can set-up multiple accounts with different toolbars on top. This would allow you to separate a toolbar for home and a toolbar for work. Maintain your home toolbar clear of any social media platforms, youtube channels, or any sort of entertainment that would distract you.

3. Structure your day as you would in the office
When working from home, you have to remember that you are your manager. Without conference calls or group meetings to break up your day, you can easily burn yourself out. Learning to manage yourself the right way is important and that includes giving yourself breaks, especially to ensure that you maintain your sanity and eat (I have skipped a lot of meals working from home).
Break up your day into sections, hold yourself accountable, and maintain a calendar. Keep yourself on track by creating personal reminders that tell you when to end tasks and when to start new ones. Google Calendar makes it easy.

4. Make it harder for yourself to mess around on social media
Social media is probably where most people struggle the most. Sometimes you can easily get lost in the matrix and spend hours scrolling. At work, the temptation isn't as strong, especially when you are around people or working in a group setting. Although there is a lot of convenience of working from home it can also be a detriment to your productivity.

To counteract your social networks' ease of use during work hours, remove them from your browser shortcuts and log out of every account. It's a guarantee that you won't be tempted into taking too many social breaks during the day.

5. Plan out what you'll be working on ahead of time and stay busy
So, you think you can just work on a wimp? No, make sure you plan your day the night before. Have a to-do list ready and create clear daily tasks with deadlines. Some things may come up that will cause you to divert from the plans but try to stay as committed to your list as you can. You should wake up every day knowing exactly what you will be doing and where you will start. Also, try to stay as busy as you can and if you have momentum going, keep it. Trying to re-create it again may be hard, so take advantage of your focus when it's on a full drive and get as much done as possible.

Lastly, do the best you can. Every day won't be perfect but taking these little extra steps will go along way.

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