Top 10 Tips To Be Productive When Working At Home

Roughly 8 to 10 million people in the US work from home including freelancers and short-term gig workers. This number is growing each day. More and more businesses are providing infrastructure to work from home. Working from home saves time in travel and traffic and ends up saving you money overall. Working from home can also be more productive.
 
Tips for remote work 
 
Here is a list of my top 10 tips that can make you productive at work.
  1. Train your mind to work from home
  2. Prepare yourself to get ready to work
  3. Assign a fixed work area that should be used for work only
  4. Create a fixed schedule and stick to it
  5. Make a daily ToDo list and try to finish it each day
  6. Take frequent mental and physical breaks
  7. Find your focus and don’t force it if you can’t focus
  8. Change scenery from time to time
  9. Switch conference and phone calls to video conferencing
  10. Add physical activities and stretching during work 
With recent disasters like Coronavirus COVID-19, most of us are forced to work from home.
 
While working from home sounds fun and easy, saving money and a traffic headache, it can easily be non-productive and frustrating if planned improperly. Self-discipline and self-motivation are two of the most important factors to being productive and happy while working from home.
 
Let me start with the fact that everyone's situation is different. Some of us live in big homes, while others live in small apartments. Some live with family with children, while some live by themselves. Some may have roommates, and some may have pets.
 
In this article, I will share my top 10 tips that can help you not only be productive, but also motivated and happy while working from home.
 
Train Your Mind 

Tip #1. Train your mind.

 
If you’ve never worked from home, it’s going to take some training and discipline. At work, most of us have bosses, schedule, and a team. We have a process. At home, no one is watching you. Distractions are everywhere. You need to tell your mind when you’re working and when you are home. You’ve to mentally be at work while physically you’re at home. This might take a while to train your mind.
 

Tip #2. Prepare yourself to go to work.

 
How do you tell your mind that you're ready to work? While its easy to sit around and work in your pajamas and on couch, but that will make you lazy. You need to get ready and build a schedule like you would do to goto work. Take a shower. Put your clothes on. Eat breakfast and everything you would usually do for regular work schedule. Try not to be too comfortable.
 

Tip #3. Assign a work desk.

 
I know not everyone can own a dedicated room and work desk but you must assign a work area where you will do majority of the sitting. The area should be that's not a common area where everyone in family is hanging out. It should be a corner or a room where you can close doors. The area should have surroundings that gives you a feel of work environment. If you have young children, it won’t be easy to keep them away but build a discipline and habit not to invite children in your work area. It's not a playground. Trust me, it can be very difficult, but children are adaptable. Once they know that this area is off limit, they will learn.
 
work from home 
My two children, Neel Beniwal and Diya Beniwal
 
Create Schedule

Tip #4. Create a schedule.

 
Creating a work schedule and following that schedule every day is very important. A schedule trains your mind unconsciously to be prepared for it. Your schedule should not only include work, but also include playing and spending time with your children. Find time to work when children are usually sleeping, tired, or taking naps. I try to get 2 hours work done before anyone is awake. Then I get 2-3 hours work done at night when the children are sleeping past 9pm.
 
Make to to do list 

Tip #5. Make a Daily TO DO List.

 
Create a daily to do list that is achievable that day only. The list should be in front of you all the time. Don't over promise yourself otherwise you will get demotivated. Break down tasks in 1 hour or 2-hour increments, depending on the task. Make sure to check the task off of your list and enjoy it. Give yourself a high five for completing your task on time.
 

Tip #6. Take breaks.

 
To be productive all day, 5 days a week, it’s very important to take frequent breaks. Taking 10 minutes break every couple of hours is very good for longevity and productivity. The break should be both, mental and physical. If you leave your computer and go watch TV or get on social media is not a break. You need to give a break to your brain, eyes, and back.
 

Tip #7. Find Your Focus. 

 
The hardest part throughout the day is keep focus. There are so many distractions. There is TV, social media, phone, Instagram, chats, and text messages. There are Coronavirus updates and many others. Find your focus buddy. Each of us have a different way to get focused. Some prefer music. Some chew gum. Some drink tea or coffee. Some even have a TV noise in the background.
 

Tip #8. Change Scenery. 

 
Not everyone is lucky to have big homes or separate work areas. But from time to time, you need to change your work areas. You can't be stuck in the same room all day. It may get overwhelming. It's not a bad idea to go out and work from public places once in a while like at a library or a Starbucks or a local coffee house or coworking space, depending on what you have access to. I actually have three different areas in my home for morning, afternoon, and evening.
 

Tip #9. Do Video Conferencing.

 
If you have a choice to convert your phone calls and teleconferencing into video conferencing, do a video call. Video conferencing helps to connect people live and gives a feeling that you're at least working. Not only that, it gets you prep for the meeting.
 
Physical Activities

Tip #10. Physical activities during work. 

 
Physical activities are good for us. Not only physical activities like light workouts, stretching gives our brain a break, but it also gets our blood and energy flowing. Stretching during breaks is not a bad idea. If you've a walking area outside, walking for 10 mins during your break is not a bad idea at all. Playing with your pets and children can also be a part of the routine. Watching TV, social media, or on the Internet are not breaks, they are just distractions. You must move away from the screens and give your eyes and brain a break.
 
Summary 
 
Don't force it. If you can't be productive, take longer breaks and do something else. When I can't work, I go outside and do cleaning and spend time in my flowers. If you don’t have much room, get plants and flowers for your room or balcony.