10 Ways To Be More Productive When Working From Home

Many entrepreuners find themselves working from home these days, whether it be a solopreneur situation, working as a part of a virtual team, or managing employees from a home office.

One of the dangers of working form home is being unproductive. There are distractions at home that we do not see in an traditional office environment – housework, interruptions from family members, running non-business errands, social media, television, pets, etc.

Here are a few ways to help you be more productive during your work day.

1. Go To Work

It is important to “go to work” in the morning. This doesn’t mean shuffling to the coffee maker in your slippers and then plunking yourself in front of the desk in your pyjamas. Create a morning routine – the same sort of routine you would have if you were leaving to go work in an outside office. Grab a shower, have breakfast with your family, shave or put on your make-up, put on fresh “work” clothes, and then start your workday.

2. Create A Physical Office

Working at the kitchen table or at a desk in the livingroom does not lead to a productive day. If possible, claim an area of your home to be “your office” – a spare bedroom, a section of the basement that you can transform by building some walls or section off with office dividers. Make sure everyone in the household knows this is your private work area, and that it is off limits. If you can, create a space that has a window. Exposure to natural light helps to regulate sleep, puts us in a better mood, and, yes, boosts our productivity.

3. Be Tidy

Nothing causes an unproductive day like clutter. Make sure your work environment is neat and orderly. Resist the temptation to use your office as storage and remove anything that does not pertain to your work. This is your office, not a playroom or a hobby center. Use shelving and cabinets to organize your equipment, supplies and paperwork.

4. Get Proper Furniture

This is a biggie. You are going to be spending the better part of your day in this space, so make it as enjoyable, and as comfortable, as possible. Invest in a good desk and chair – spend as much as your budget allows on this. Avoid the urge to “make do” with items you have around the house. Purchase a used desk if it serves you well, but don’t skimp on your chair. Find an ergonomic chair that has back support and is adjustable. You’ll thank yourself.

5. Ensure You Have Good Lighting

As I mentioned above, simply having a window in our office can raise productivity, but proper incandescent lighting is just as important. Fluorescent lighting can, for some, lead to headaches. Invest in a good desk lamp as well as some secondary office lighting (floor lamps, recessed lighting, etc).

6. Purchase The Best Equipment You Can Afford

When comes to office equipment, purchase the best that you can. If you need to do a lot of printing, spend a few extra dollars and purchase one that will fit your needs. Invest in the best computer that you can afford. If you create podcasts, invest in a proper microphone. Get my drift?

7. Install Productivity Apps

Having the proper apps installed on your computer can save you more time than you think. This is another area where you don’t want to skimp. Wasting time with apps that don’t do what you want or what you need is just, well, wasting time. There are some great free apps on the market, but don’t always settle for free when there is a better alternative.

8. Take Breaks

If you were working in a traditional office environment, you would expect regular breaks and a lunch hour. It’s just as important, in fact more important, to do this when working from home. We can become quite isolated when working from home. In a traditional office environment you would be chatting with co-workers, sharing ideas, going to lunch together, etc. When working from home, we do not often have these opportunities, so it is important for us to leave our “office” for periodical breaks. Resist the urge to work at your desk during lunch. Get up and take a 10 minute walk every couple of hours. You’ll come back refreshed and maybe even have a solution to a problem that has been nagging you.

9. Make it Yours

Decor can go a long way in being productive. We all have our own tastes and styles. If you can, take a day to paint your office in colours that inspire you. Hang pictures or other artwork to match your individual style. This is your space, so make it a place where you can feel creative. Check out Pinterest boards for ideas if you need some inspiration.

10. Play Music

While some people prefer peace and quiet, some studies show that music can reduce stress and improve productivity. I almost always have music playing while I work. Music can drown out external noise (traffic, kids playing outside, family members talking or watching TV, etc) and can help us remain focused on the task at hand. If you do want to play music, I suggest investing in a good set of speakers or a comfortable set of headphones.

 

What are some of the ways you stay productive in your home office? I’d love to see your comments. 

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Mark Pridham

Mark Pridham is the owner of The Pridham Group, a digital agency based in Saint John, New Brunswick. A life long resident of Saint John, Mark is passionate about design, entrepreneurship, and supporting and promoting local businesses.

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