5 Ways to Stay Productive in your Home Office
Working from home can boost productivity. However, that can only happen if you set yourself up for success. You need to have an environment that makes working easy and comfortable. Additionally, you need to embrace a few best practices, particularly those that boost focus.
If you want to stay productive in your home office, here are five ways to do it.
1. Wrangle the Distractions
Picture this; you’re sitting at your computer when that little notification box pops up in the corner, or you hear that familiar alert ping comes through your speakers. What do you do? Do you focus on the task-at-hand, or do you look to the source of that notification to see what’s up? If you’re like most people, it’s probably the latter.
Even if that shift in focus only lasts a moment, it’s surprisingly derailing. After that notification, you have to take a second to process it, decide whether it deserves your attention, and then refocus on your task. At times, you also have to refresh your memory about what you were doing, costing you even more time.
While that happening once or twice a day isn’t probably a big deal, if you’re getting a notification several times an hour, it is. On average, professionals receive 121 business emails every day. That’s potentially 121 interruptions, and that’s just email.
You can’t get into a flow when those alerts keep stealing your attention. So, if you want to boost productivity, stop those notifications in their tracks. Silence those little pings and shut down those pop-ups. That way, you can concentrate on the task in front of you.
Remember, you can always check your email or other notification sources between tasks. That way, you stay up to date without sacrificing your ability to focus.
In work as in life, some requests simply can’t wait. Create a working agreement with your boss to address urgent tasks. An unscheduled phone call from the office could indicate that there is an emergency and it’s time to switch gears.
2. Get Organized and Ditch Clutter
Organization can be critical for any work environment, including your home office. When every item is in its proper place, you can find it again with ease. No more hunting through drawers, under piles of paper, or anywhere else. That’s a big timesaver.
Getting rid of clutter also helps. Not only does it make it easier to stay organized, but it also makes your workspace less distracting. Your eyes won’t be darting across unnecessary items, and you’ll feel like you have room to work. Often, this can make handling your duties less stressful, something that can also boost productivity.
But don’t stop at your desk. Get your computer organized, too. Review your desktop and get rid of excess shortcuts. Store documents in a well-designed digital filing system instead of piling everything into one folder together.
When you eliminate clutter and get organized, you’re streamlining critical parts of your professional life. It’s easier to work when everything is where it should be, and anything else that isn’t necessary is gone.
3. Take Your Breaks
Alright, this tip may seem a little counterintuitive at first. After all, how can you boost productivity by putting your work down? Wouldn’t that make you less productive?
Well, here’s the thing. Your brain needs breaks. When you step away from your duties for a bit, you’re giving your mind a chance to process information. This can be critical for problem-solving, especially if you hit a mental roadblock.
You’ll also return from the break more productive. If you pause for five minutes and let yourself focus your attention elsewhere, you’ll come back with renewed focus. Whether you spend that time sitting quietly, listening to music, or watching a cat video doesn’t matter; it’s the break that makes the difference.
Even a 30-second microbreak can make a difference. Your productivity can go up by 13 percent after you give yourself that tiny bit of respite.
Plus, research on the topic shows that work breaks boost performance, enhance wellbeing, and even improve safety. That’s all good stuff. So, make breaks part of your home office routine, ensuring you get to experience all of those benefits first-hand.
4. Set Boundaries
When you work from home, it’s easy to overwork yourself. After all, your office is just a few steps away all day, every day. What does it matter if you decide to tackle that late-night email or squeeze in one more activity.
The thing is, working from home can make it hard to disconnect. As a result, your professional life starts bleeding into your personal time. You never give yourself permission to completely walk away, and that can have some harmful effects. Your stress levels may rise since you feel like you can’t escape, and you might start to resent your job. In some cases, it can lead to burnout, leaving you drained and dissatisfied.
The situation can be harder when your manager seems to expect you to be always-on. With that, you may believe that you actually can’t not be available. If that isn’t a morale buster, what is?
Luckily, by setting boundaries, you can have a great professional life without having to sacrifice your personal time. If you’re the one that’s having trouble ignoring after-hours notifications and requests, even though you aren’t expected to answer then, turn those alerts off. Completely disconnect from your work existence at a specific time every day.
If your manager is part of the equation, have a conversation about expectations. Let them know that your professional obligations are stealing your personal time and discuss how much after-hours work is genuinely necessary. Work together to find a balance, and get the arrangement in writing. Then, follow it to the letter.
5. Make Your Home Office Enjoyable
When the space you work in makes you happy, you’ll enjoy being there more. You’ll get a little mood boost every time you’re in your office, one that can boost your overall productivity.
When people are happy, they have an easier time maintaining focus. So, why not make your office the happiest place in your house? Bring in some plants to create a sense of freshness and life. Paint your room one of your favorite colors or a hue that puts you in the right mindset. Hang art that makes you smile. Open the curtains and let in natural light.
Sometimes even small changes yield amazing results. Take a moment to make your home office as enjoyable as possible, ensuring you reap the benefits of a space that makes you feel amazing.
Ultimately, the tips above can make a big difference. If you’d like to learn more about how you can nail working remotely, visit us at TrendsWithBenefits.org. We’ve got a bunch of handy resources that can make remaining a productive part of a remote workforce easier than ever before.
If you’re asking yourself, “Why is Walking Mountains talking about remote work?”
The answer is quite simple: we aim to reduce local carbon emissions by 50% by 2030. Telecommuting, compressed workweeks, and other flexible schedule options can reduce you and your business’s carbon footprint. With less commuters on the road, we can improve our communities’ air quality and put ourselves one step closer to achieving our carbon reduction goals. Drive less to do more for Mother Nature.