10 Easy Ways to Be Productive While Working From Home
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9th Dec | 6 min read

While working from home can seem like a dream come true for some, for others it can be quite a challenge. The lack of collaboration and being physically away from your team can make you feel disconnected and you might find yourself struggling with being as productive as you want yourself to be. Whether it’s due to the pandemic, or because you signed up for remote work since the beginning of your job, many employers and employees currently have to work from home. However, recent studies have shown that people who work from home earn more than those who commute. U.S. Census data have indicated that 5.2% of U.S. workers, which is around 8 million individuals, have completely worked from home in 2017, as indicated by Quartz

Therefore, after asking around to find out what steps professionals usually take to perform their best and what works for them while working from home, we gathered a few tips on how you can be productive and perform your best by avoiding distractions. 

“I personally believe that work from home is not a perk but rather a necessity aligned to our much talked about topic 'work-life balance'. I truly believe work is where your laptop is. As long as you are aware of your priorities and deadlines, working from home should be fine given that companies nowadays use great communication tools like Skype, WebEx, Slack, etc. Don't work where you sleep and don't do anything that you wouldn't usually do at your work (i.g. watching Netflix in the background.)” 

- Md Tanvir Islam, Business Analyst Consultant, JP Morgan & Chase

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1. Avoid working in bed

One of the biggest challenges of working from home is that your bed seduces you with its warm blanket and feathery pillows to spend a little more time with it. You lay there and feel like you’re cheating on your work, because you were supposed to start work at 9:00 am, and it’s already 9:10. So what do you do? 

Well, we suggest just to get up and get it over with. Make your bed, tidy up your room, and do NOT hit the snooze button. Your bed becomes the mistress trying to get you to cheat. Do NOT give in to the temptation. Avoid it during the day, at all costs. 

Try to avoid working in bed so that you don’t fall asleep or get lazy while working, and avoid working where you sleep. Change out of your cozy clothes and create a sense of going to work by freshening up, making your coffee and what you would usually do if you were going out to work. 

2. Set boundaries with other people at home

 “ As someone who has been working from home ever since I joined the workforce, one of my most heard phrases is “You’re lucky you work from home. You can do whatever you want.” The truth is, NO. I can’t do whatever I want. I have to work just as hard and be just as dedicated as someone who goes to an office to work.” 
- Zina Kaufman, Freelance Writer 

Ask your roommate/family members to leave you alone when you’re working and not distract you. Tell them when you plan to take a lunch break so that they don’t reach out to you before then.  

3. Take breaks

“Take breaks whenever you feel like you're losing focus. I find that taking small incremental breaks really boosts your productivity in the end.” 
- Maheeb Chowdhury, City national bank

Take breaks whenever you will like you are losing focus and set a timer. For example, if you plan to take a 30 min break, then set a timer from the time you start the break and also set one for 25 minutes so that you can mentally prepare yourself to go back to work in the next five mins. This personally works really well for me.

However, it is important to set a designated time for your breaks. For example, if you plan to take a lunch break at 1:00 pm, be strict with yourself that you will work until then, and avoid all distractions.

“If you feel lazy and tired, take a short break and workout for a few minutes to get the mental energy back.”

- Akib Amin, Co-Founder, GAFFL

If you feel lazy and tired, take a short break and workout for a few minutes to get your energy back. You can also take a short walk around your block to feel more productive. 

You can connect with friends or colleagues who are also working from home to feel like you are not alone, and seeing others do it might inspire you too. 

4. Designate a place for you to go and work

“Have a place you go specifically to work such as a desk, chair, or room”
-Z. Khan, Freelancer

Turn a specific place or corner of your home where you only work and turn that into your office. Pretend that you’re not home, and treat that place the way you would treat an office. If you have a spare room, even better. If you don’t have a room, turn a corner of your room away from your bed into a place that gives you the feeling that you are at work. Decorate your desk like you would if you worked at an office. 

5. Prepare for work the night before

Your mind will try to get you to do certain things such as laundry, cooking, etc. just to give yourself an excuse to take a break when you don’t feel like continuing your work anymore. Therefore, prepare for work the night before and get your chores out of the way, such as by preparing meals, so that you don’t end up going away from your computer to cook or clean, no matter how tempted you get.  Try your best to avoid all distractions. 

6. Wear work clothes

Change out of your pajamas and wear something you would wear outside. Give yourself the idea that you are going to work, even if it is from one room to another. Create a routine that you strictly follow and avoid doing anything you wouldn’t do in an office setting outside of your home. 

7. Write things down

Write down the tasks you intend to complete for the day and scratch the item off once you’re done. Once you do that, you will realize how good it feels to get a task out of the way and you will be excited to go for the next one and get it off your list too, and continue till you reach the bottom of the list. Once you reach the bottom of the list, you’ll realize how productive you have been. 

8. Avoid Social Media and close other non-work-related tabs

Avoid using social media when you’re working and close all non-work related tabs. Logout of all social media when you work. That way, the sign-in page will remind you why you logged out in the first place and you can push yourself to go back to work. That includes online shopping too. 

9. Whenever possible, do video calls with your team


Do video conferences with your team whenever possible, since seeing your teammates and how they are working like you are can give you a sense of belonging and that in itself can be very valuable. Not only that, seeing and discussing the progress of the work of your team and colleagues will inspire you to focus on yours too. 

10. Assign time slots to your tasks

Assign time slots to your tasks depending on how much time is required for the task to be completed and set a goal for yourself. For example, if you have to write a report and it usually takes an hour to do it, set a timer for an hour, and aim to get it done in an hour. 

Establish clear working hours so that you stick to a schedule and keep reminding yourself of the tasks you need to complete before the working hours come to an end. 

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