Having trouble staying focused and productive while working from home? You’re not alone. It’s challenging to transition from in-office work to working from home, especially when the shift comes as abruptly as the stay at home orders did in March.
Workers are working more at home than they ever did at the office, which is alarming considering that productivity per hour declines when a person works more than 50 hours a week.
If you find yourself distracted by every news story, every ding of your phone, and even by the squirrel playing on the tree in your backyard, we’ve got a few tips. Armed with these tips, you’ll be able to stay productive and probably even shave a few hours off your workweek.
How to stay productive
1. CREATE A SEPARATE WORKSPACE
It’s essential that even if you’re not physically going to work, you create a space for yourself that feels like you’re at the office.
During the first few weeks of working from home, it’s tempting to stay in your PJs and work from bed. Enjoy the novelty and then prepare for productivity. If you have space in your home, use the study or section off an area of your living room for use as office space.
Decorate it as if it were your real office to keep distractions to a minimum. This space should feel separate from your living space. If it helps, set an alarm, get dressed every morning, walk around the block, and then head “into” your new at-home office.
2. INSTALL WEBSITE BLOCKERS
Social media is addicting; there’s no question about that. It’s pretty difficult not to quickly open up Facebook in your browser as you’re transitioning from one task to the next.
While we often avoid these actions in the office for fear of getting caught (come on, you know you do it), there’s nobody at home watching over your shoulder to ensure you’re staying on task.
StayFocused, LeechBlock, and FocusMe are all great options. You choose which websites you want to block and set a limit for how long they’ll be blocked.
3. MOVE AROUND
When you work from home, it’s easy to get into a sedentary routine. You’re not walking to work or even walking up the stairs to get to the office. However, because you’ve freed up the time you’d otherwise be using for your commute, you have an extra 30-60 minutes to engage in physical activity.
Start your day with something light such as yoga, jogging, or a quick swim. Whatever you do, ensure that you’re stretching your body correctly to prepare to sit comfortably at your desk for the entire day.
Then, set an alarm every hour or so (depending on your tasks). When the alarm goes off, get up and move around. Engage in deep breathing exercises or some light stretches to relax your brain and refresh your mind.
4. REMEMBER TO EAT HEALTHILY
If you thought the office pantry was tempting, just wait until you’re stuck at home all day with your favorite snacks and nobody to guilt you into avoiding them. When trying to stay productive while working from home, eating healthy foods is crucial.
Finance Online reports that healthier employees are more productive. When an employee eats healthily, the company sees a 25% better performance from that individual. Fuel your brain and body with the right foods and supplements, and you’ll notice yourself whizzing through your daily work.
Consider eating foods such as fatty fishes, pumpkin seeds, blueberries, and oatmeal. Feeling sluggish in the afternoon? Swap the coffee for some warm green tea.
5. PLAN YOUR WHOLE WEEK
Staying productive is hard when there’s so much going on in the world right now, so it’s best to give yourself as much support as possible. Every Sunday evening, if possible, plan your whole week.
This is especially helpful if you’re a very visual person. Write out your week and all of the tasks you have to take care of in a planner to visually prepare yourself for the week ahead. Be sure to schedule personal time to exercise, spend time with loved ones, and take a break from anything work-related.
6. BE SMART ABOUT SCHEDULING
It can be overwhelming to look at the laundry list of tasks you have to complete before the end of the week, making scheduling an anxiety-inducing nightmare. To alleviate some of this pressure and to allow yourself time to truly be productive, be smart about your scheduling.
Akemi Sue Fisher, Amazon millionaire and business strategist, recommends scheduling tasks for no longer than 2 to 30 minutes. If it helps, physically block this time off in your calendar, so you know that, if you need to call a client, you’re planning on condensing that call to meet the 30-minute maximum.
7. USE A SECOND PHONE NUMBER FOR WORK
Striking the perfect work-life balance during “normal” times was hard. Now, it can seem nearly impossible. Unless your company has set you up with a nice phone system at home, you’re probably using your personal phone for quite a few work tasks.
This makes it hard to stay productive as you’re able to access work messages and Instagram notifications on the same device, among many other things. To make things easier, it’s best to use a second phone number.
With the help of an app like Burner, you’re able to create Burner lines for different areas of your life. Create one for freelance work and another for regular business calls. You get to choose the area code to ensure you still look professional, and nobody has access to your real number.
That means no unwanted work calls from that intense client at 11 pm on a Wednesday. At the end of the day, you can mute your Burner lines and enjoy a work-free evening.
To learn more about what else you can do with a Burner phone, check out our guide on How to Use Burner’s Business Features or go ahead and sign up for your free trial today.