Working from home comes with many undeniable and obvious perks. You won’t get stuck in the morning and evening commute, you can have more flexible working hours, and you can see your family members in the next room.
However, getting work tasks done from home isn’t as easy as you’d think. You can easily get distracted and unproductive from the comfort of your humble abode. The961 asked people who work from home, including its team, for tips that help remote workers be productive. These are the most relevant ones:
#1 Fix up a dedicated working space
“Avoid setting up your workspace in your bedroom. You don’t want to wake sighting first your workspace,” says a published author who’s been working from home for 10+ years.
“It’s not good for your mental health. Take your time to wake up, have your coffee and breakfast, and then ‘head to work’.”
“Do not set up your working space in the family room or the TV room where you can get easily distracted,” she adds. “The size doesn’t matter. It could be a corner. It’s the appropriate working ambiance that does.”
#2 Create a daily routine
“Respect your working hours as you would if you worked from an office,” says Rami Alameddine, who has been working from home since the revolution.
Create a work schedule with comfortable working hours. Customize your hours to your daily tasks, and make sure you have adequate time to complete your work.
#3 Dress for work
“Even though I’m sitting at home, I find that I’m not productive unless I change out of my pj’s. Sometimes I even put makeup on and then I’m ready to focus,” says Nadine Finge.
While there’s no reason to bring out your suit or office dress, feeling professional puts you in a mindset that’s ready for being serious. Comb your hair, put some pants on, and start your workday feeling fresh.
#4 Take breaks every few hours
Take a couple of minutes to refresh every two hours,” says Rayan J., a content writer and mother of two, “10 minutes won’t hurt your work. Also, have a decent lunch break like you would at the office.”
Working from home means long hours sitting in the same position with tension on your neck and shoulders. These 10-minute breaks away from your screen will get you to stretch, hence loosen up the physical tension, as well as reenergize you mentally.
#5 Set boundaries between work and home life
“Change the ambiance,” says Mohamad Abou Baker. “Make it different from what your personal life feels like. Make your workspace differ from the spaces you’ll sit in after work or on the weekends. Don’t share the spaces you sleep, eat, or relax in with your workspace.”
The senior editor at The961 adds, “If you’re a parent and your kids are at home, which is the case now with the quarantine, arrange to keep them occupied during your working schedule. It will also do them good to feel productive. Avoid answering personal calls that are not urgent; like chitchatting with friends or family members, which will make you lose focus and/or distract you.”
#6 Do not procrastinate, make a to-do list
Nour Abdel Rida, a staff writer at The961, recommends planning your workday to set a goal for the day before starting. Goal-setting helps you prioritize your tasks and makes you feel productive.
“It is so easy to fall into that lazy trap when working from home. Abiding by a set schedule and organizing your to-do list ahead of time, even working a weekly calendar of tasks to complete, will help you avoid postponing them,” advises a senior translator who’s been working from home for over a decade.
#7 Listen to your work playlist
Yes, even work has a soundtrack. Some people like listening to Lo-fi, while others prefer classical music to help them improve their focus. If you are among those who can work with music, turn on your playlist in the background to boost your efficiency, mood, and creativity.
#8 Time yourself
“The thing that helps me a lot to work is setting a timer,” says Hussein Yassine, a staff writer at The961. “For example, if I have to work and I don’t feel like it, I set a timer for X hours and commit to spending them working without distractions. An app called Forest really helps with that.”
#9 Make your favorite cup full of energy
“Make a cup of tea or coffee as an energizer,” says Nour Abdel Reda. Besides setting that perfect workspace aesthetic, a cup of caffeine will give you an energy boost as well as serve as a mini-escape through tiny sips.
#10 Follow the Pomodoro technique
Reem Hamoui, a Lebanese web-designer working from home in Canada, recommends using the Pomodoro Technique, which is a process that breaks down work into intervals that help improve focus.
This method is meant to help you power through work by taking short breaks and encourage you to stay focused during the time allocated for work.
The first step is deciding on the task to be done.
Second, set the timer to 25 minutes.
Third, work on the task until the alarm rings, then put a check on a piece of paper.
Now, you can take a short break of up to 5 minutes.
You repeat the first four steps four times then you can get to step five:
Step 5: Take a long break (15-30 minutes).
The Pomodoro technique entails some of the above-mentioned tips shared by The961’s team and others, like timing yourself, taking breaks, and not procrastinating.