How to Keep Productive When Working from Home

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This post was written by Neil Dagger, Head of Marketing, Planning, Insight and Analysis at Nominet, who run, the home of Welsh domains and 

Running a business from home is an ultimate goal for many of us. While the lack of commuting and freedom to get out of bed later are definitely perks of working from home, it does still have some drawbacks. Finding the motivation to be productive is more challenging than we may think, especially when you replace the surroundings of colleagues to the distractions of home life, without anyone to cast a disapproving look over your lack of productivity.

Despite this, many of the world’s most successful people work from home. Whether you already run your own business from home or it’s your goal to start working from home in 2018, here are some great tips to help you make your working days more productive.

  1. Dedicate a separate place for working

Although there are few good things when it comes to commuting, one of them is the distance it puts between you and work. When working from home, it can be tricky to achieve this sense of separation and balance between your work and home life. This is one of the reasons garden offices are so popular with those who work from home, they separate work from your living quarters, helping you to feel in the work frame of mind.

If having a garden office is unfeasible for you, try and set aside a tidy area in your house that is dedicated solely to work, one where ideally you won’t get disturbed by other distractions, such as family members. It’s hard to get into the work frame of mind when working from your laptop in bed or on the sofa, and home offices don’t need to take up a huge amount of space (here are some ideas for inspiration).

It might also be useful to try dressing as though you were going to work, rather than lounging in home clothes, to help get into the work frame of mind.

  1. Log off social media

Social media is a main offender when it comes to draining time, and staying off of your favourite platforms is easier said than done, especially if you need to be online for your job. If you find yourself getting lured in, there are apps available to install on web browsers and phones to restrict and even block access to these social media sites.

For example, Freedom, SelfControl, and Stay Focused can all be used to block certain sites from your devices for a period of your choosing. If the app you choose doesn’t block social media on your phone, you could always try disabling notifications to stop you checking on that instead.

  1. Structure and schedule your day

One of the great things about working from home is the freedom to stray from the normal working hours, you can be as flexible as you like. This allows you to work when you’re most productive, some of us are morning people whereas others prefer to work later on in the day. Whatever time of day suits you best, it’s worth establishing a routine around your productive times, and if it helps giving yourself a defined start and end time too.

It’s really important to schedule in breaks as well, these give you something to look forward to, as well as a much-needed break from screens. You’ll also be less productive if you try and stick at something for too long without a break, research from the Posture Group suggests that productive people work for 52 minutes and take breaks for 17 minutes.

  1. Utilise a project management tool

It can be difficult to be productive when your mind is overwhelmed with a backlog of work, deadlines and different dates. This is where using a project management tool, such as Trello or Asana, can be a great help.

Using a tool like these, you’ll be able to visualise your workflow, perhaps dividing your projects by stage (in progress, waiting for approval, etc.) and priority level. Try assigning yourself tasks for the day ahead, complete with some smaller ones that you can tick off easily (for a morale boost) and a longer one which will require more effort.

Working from home can take some getting used to if you’ve only ever worked in an office, but being disciplined and following these tips will help you establish a way of working that works for you and keeps you at your most productive.