Not Used To Working From Home? Here Are 5 Tips For Staying Productive

By Cam Velasco

CEO & Co-Founder
Published: Mar 22, 2024
Working from home can be a game-changer, allowing you to skip the commute and even work in your pajamas. However, it comes with its own set of challenges. In this article we'll share top tips on staying focused without the structure of an office.
A woman with curly hair laughing while looking at her laptop at a kitchen counter, suggesting a comfortable and joyful remote work setting.

Working from home can be a game-changer, allowing you to skip the commute and even work in your pajamas. However, it comes with its own set of challenges, like staying focused without the structure of an office. Here are five straightforward tips to help you stay productive while working from home:

  • Establish a Dedicated Workspace: Create a quiet, distraction-free area to work.
  • Make a Clear Plan for Your Day: Stick to a work schedule, plan breaks, and set a time to end your workday.
  • Optimize Your Work Environment: Ensure good lighting, minimal distractions, and comfortable furniture.
  • Use Tech to Keep in Touch and Cut Down on Distractions: Leverage tools like video call apps, chat apps, and digital whiteboards to stay connected with your team.
  • Prioritize Mental and Physical Health: Take regular breaks, keep moving, and maintain a work-life balance.

By setting up a dedicated workspace, planning your day, optimizing your environment, utilizing technology, and taking care of your health, you can make working from home a productive and enjoyable experience.

1. Establish a Dedicated Workspace for Working From Home

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It’s important to have your own work area at home to help you stay focused. Here are some simple ways to make your home office work better for you:

  • Pick a spot that’s quiet and away from distractions. A spare room or a corner in the basement can be great. Shut the door to keep out noise.
  • Use a comfy chair and a desk that doesn’t make your back or neck hurt after sitting for a while.
  • Make sure there’s enough light so you’re not straining your eyes. If there isn’t enough sunlight, a desk lamp can help.
  • Decorate your work area with things that make you happy and motivated, like plants or your favorite pictures.
  • Consider getting things like a stand for your laptop, an extra screen, and a wireless keyboard and mouse to make work easier.
  • Keep your desk clean and organized. Put away papers and notes so they don’t distract you.
  • Try having scents around that make you feel awake, like lemon or mint. Stay away from smells that remind you of the kitchen.
  • If you find it too quiet, playing some soft music or sounds of nature can help.

Setting up a spot at home just for work can really make a difference. After a while, your brain will start to think of that spot as the place to work, and it’ll be easier to ignore distractions.

2. Make a Clear Plan for Your Day to Day Working From Home

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When you’re working from home, it’s really important to know when you’re working and when you’re not. Here’s how to do that:

  • Decide on a work schedule and try to stick to it. Choose times for working, taking breaks, and doing other things like exercise. Find out when you do your best work and make sure to work during those times.
  • Make sure your work hours match up with when your team is around. Let them know when you’ll be available.
  • Use your calendar for meetings and calls to avoid getting too busy.
  • Take short breaks to clear your head, move around, or have a snack. A little time off can actually help you work better.
  • Pick a time to stop working each day. Stopping at the same time every day helps keep work from taking over your free time.
  • Do something to mark the end of your workday, like changing your clothes, going for a short walk, or listening to some music. This helps your brain understand that work is over.

Keeping a clear line between work and personal time stops work from eating into your evenings and weekends. Plan your day well and let your team know when you’re working. This way, you can focus better and get more done.

3. Optimize Your Work Environment

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To make your home office better:

  • Make sure you have good lighting. Put your desk lamp in a spot that doesn’t make your computer screen glare. Good light helps keep your eyes from getting tired.
  • Keep distractions low. Put your desk facing away from busy spots, turn off app notifications, and keep your phone on silent.
  • Add some plants. They can clean the air and make you feel happier.
  • Use headphones that block out noise during video calls and when you need to really concentrate. This helps you stay focused and makes calls clearer.
  • Turn on “do not disturb” on your devices when you need to work without interruptions. Block off time on your calendar for focused work.
  • Use a separate keyboard and mouse if you can. Also, make sure your screen is right at eye level to avoid neck pain.
  • Don’t forget to take breaks to clear your head and move around. If you can, step outside for some fresh air.
  • Drink plenty of water. Keep a water bottle by your desk to remind you to stay hydrated. Drinking water keeps your energy up and helps you focus.

Making these changes to your work space and habits can help you work better from home. Try different things to see what helps you the most.

4. Use Tech to Keep in Touch and Cut Down on Distractions When Working From Home

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When you’re working from home, it can be tricky to feel connected with your team and stay on task. Using the right tech tools can help you avoid getting sidetracked and make working together easier.

Here are some straightforward strategies:

  • Use video call apps like Zoom or Microsoft Teams for meetings. It’s nice to see your team’s faces, as it makes talking feel more like you’re in the same room.
  • Try using chat apps like Slack or Microsoft Teams to send messages, share files, and answer questions quickly. This keeps the conversation going, making it feel like you’re all working side by side.
  • For brainstorming, try digital whiteboards like Miro or Mural. Everyone can put up their ideas and talk about them together, just like you would on a real whiteboard.
  • Create a casual chat channel for talking about non-work stuff. It’s a good way to keep the social vibe alive.
  • Block off time in your calendar for focused work when you won’t check messages or emails. Let your team know when you’ll be busy.
  • If you need help focusing, apps like Focus@Will or Noisli play background sounds that can help drown out distractions.
  • Set up separate virtual desktops for work to keep work and personal stuff apart. This helps you stay focused on work when you need to.
  • Turn off notifications you don’t need during work hours to keep your phone or computer from interrupting you.

Using the right tech can really smooth out the bumps of working from home. Find the tools that fit best with how you and your team work to boost your overall productivity.

5. Prioritize Mental and Physical Health

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Working from home can sometimes feel lonely, so it’s super important to look after yourself. Here’s how:

  • Remember to take short breaks during your day to stretch, grab a healthy snack, or just give your brain a rest. A quick pause can actually help you do better work.
  • Keep moving. A quick walk or some simple exercises can make you feel refreshed.
  • Keep up with friends, family, and coworkers with video chats. Talking to people is really important for feeling good.
  • Set up a cozy spot for fun stuff like reading or music that’s separate from where you work. It’s good to have a clear difference between where you work and where you relax.
  • Try to get outside for some fresh air and sunlight. Being in nature can help you feel less stressed.
  • Make sure you’re getting enough sleep, eating well, and drinking plenty of water. Turn off your work stuff at a certain time each night to help with this.
  • If things get too much, talk to someone about it. Let your boss know if you’re struggling with your workload or deadlines.
  • It’s okay to take a day off for yourself every now and then. We all need a break to get back to feeling our best.

Looking after yourself is really important. If you’re feeling good, you’re going to do better work.

Conclusion

Working from home can be a bit of a change, especially if you’re used to the hustle and bustle of an office. But with a few smart moves and taking care of yourself, anyone, from marketing experts to remote team members, can make their home a great place to work.

Here’s what to remember:

  • Choose a specific workspace that’s just for work. This helps your brain get into ‘work mode’ when you’re there.
  • Plan your day so you know when you’re working and when you’re off. Tell your team when they can reach you.
  • Use tools like messaging apps, online whiteboards, and apps that play background sounds to make talking and working with your team easier.
  • Make your work area nice and comfy. Good lighting and plants can help increase productivity.
  • Taking care of yourself is super important. Make sure to take breaks, move around, chat with friends over video, and keep up healthy habits.

Following these tips can help you get more done, enjoy your job more, and find a good balance between work and life. Working from home might seem tough at first, but with the right setup and routine, your home office can be just as good, if not better, than a regular office.

Try different things to see what helps you work best. Notice when you feel most ready to tackle tasks and set up your day around that. Don’t hesitate to try new tools or ways to keep noise down. Talk with your coworkers and boss to keep improving how you work from home.

With some effort, your home can turn into a fantastic place to work. It’s all about finding the right balance and making sure you’re taking care of yourself. The switch to working from home is a big deal, but with these changes, it can be a smooth and rewarding one.

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Cam Velasco

CEO & Co-Founder

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