How to have an extremely productive day working from home
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If you need help being as productive as possible when working from home, then you’re in the right place.
Working from home is challenging, especially given the fact that our homes are designed primarily for rest and relaxation.
If you’ve ever tried working on your laptop for an extended period of time while seated on the couch, chances are the laptop found itself on the side and your head was laying down on the cushion with your eyes closed.
If you have kids or pets it can get worse; your workspace can easily become overrun in seconds and turn into a beehive of activities not related to work in the slightest.
At the heart of it, if you really want to have an extremely productive day while working from home, you’ll need to put in some effort to plan and prepare both a workplan and a suitable work environment.
If you can follow a realistic workplan and create a conducive work environment, you’ll be miles ahead in getting actual work done in the shortest time possible at home.
Let’s go over the steps you need to implement in order to have an extremely productive day working from home.
1. Set up a dedicated work area at home
As humans, we are often influenced more by our environment and immediate surroundings than we would like to admit. If you’ve ever tried to work in your living room with the TV on, you likely didn’t get much work done due to the constant distraction when you look up.
In order to be extremely productive while working from home, you’ll need to setup a dedicated working space where you can shut out most, if not all distractions for a continuous period of time.
Your mind needs an opportunity to focus and get into a working mode so having a space that is only meant for work will go a long way in helping you be productive.
If you don’t know where to start or how to set up a dedicated work area at home, we have a detailed article on how to set up a home office for maximum productivity.
2. Create a workplan for the day
Once you have a suitable work area at home, you’ll need to plan the actual work you’ll be doing for the day. Planning allows you to identify the key tasks that you need to accomplish. It also helps you to rank your tasks in terms of importance and urgency.
Getting the urgent and very important tasks out of the way early will give you a small win which will hopefully motivate you to keep going and get more work done.
One of the most effective and simple ways to create a workplan for your day is to take a pen or pencil and write down everything you need to do on a piece of paper. This may sound obvious but many of us fall into the trap of relying on memory, which typically let’s us down at some point.
You could capture your tasks on an app or planning software once you become more disciplined and advanced in working from home, but for most people, keeping it crazy simple with a pen and paper will be the best way to go.
You can prepare your plan for the work day on the previous night or have it as the first order of business once you’re ready to start working for the day.
3. Allocate enough time to the tasks in your workplan
Once you’ve identified the tasks you need to accomplish for the day and sorted them by urgency and importance, you need to give yourself enough time to complete each activity. Approximate how long each task will take to accomplish and write down this number next to the respective task.
By allocating time to each task, you give yourself a metric that enables you to track your progress. When you first implement this step, you’ll quickly discover that it takes you way more or less time to do certain tasks compared to others.
Developing this awareness is important to refining your planning and execution skills. It also helps you to be realistic with what you can accomplish within a given time frame.
This way, you won’t find yourself feeling guilty or disappointed when you don’t finish specific tasks that require more time than others. You’ll also be able to split or combine tasks in your workplan accordingly.
4. Establish dedicated working hours
If you want to be extremely productive working from home, it’s essential to establish dedicated working hours where you can focus on executing your daily tasks.
During this time, your focus should be on getting as much work done as possible with little or no distractions at all. This is easier said than done, especially for busy and large households.
Whether it’s unplugging the TV for some time, getting a nanny for the kids or waking up early before everyone else, you’ll need to set aside some blocks of uninterrupted working hours.
5. Test and adjust your workplan and workspace accordingly
At the end of the day, being extremely productive while working from home is a skill. As with any other skill, you’ll need to practice and refine the process until you become a master of the craft.
This means it may take several tries until you’re truly able to have extremely productive days working from home. That’s where the testing comes in. Think of your list of tasks as a blueprint for having an extremely productive day working from home. If you manage to accomplish all your daily tasks, then, by definition, the day is a success.
Take the first few days or weeks to closely observe how long it takes you to perform the tasks on your workplan. At the end of the week or after a few days, ask yourself the following questions:
- Did I manage to finish all the tasks on my workplan
- Do I need to add more time for certain tasks
- Do I need to add more tasks to do within a certain time
- Are there any distractions preventing me from completing my daily tasks
Answering the above questions will help you identify and remedy problems in your workplan as well as workspace. Typically, you’ll find you may need to add more time to your working hours or reduce the number of tasks you need to get done per day.
6. Take regular breaks from work
While you might think taking a break is counter-productive to getting work done, the opposite couldn’t be more true. Not taking breaks regularly greatly diminishes your concentration levels and drains your motivation quickly.
Since most of us work on a laptop or computer, working non-stop can also compromise your posture and lead to neck or back pain. These conditions tend to creep up on you and worsen over time.
If you don’t do anything else on our list, just be sure to get up from your seat after every 30 minutes or so and do some physical activity for at least five minutes. You can stretch, take a short walk or quickly wash a few dishes. The main thing is to get your body moving.
In order to have an extremely productive day working from home, you’ll need to create a suitable workspace and follow a realistic workplan.
You’ll need to clearly establish work hours when you can actually get work done. You also need to test your workplan and make changes based on your experience after a few days.
Having an extremely productive day while working from home doesn’t just happen, it needs planning, testing and most importantly execution of the steps mentioned above.