Working from home is a dream come true for many. But when you're working from home, it can be easy to get distracted and lose focus. Everyone who is self-employed or works from home knows how challenging it can be to staying productive. Many remote workers are prone to distractions from family members, phones, television, and many other things that can make this experience a nightmare. This need has let us ask what "25 productivity hacks to use when working from home?"
Some of the productivity hacks you will read below can be started immediately. They include creating a priority list, turning off phone notifications, creating a morning routine that energizes you, setting boundaries between your personal life and work-life, and self-evaluation. These are just a few techniques you can use to see improvements immediately - no matter if you are your own boss and have your own business or if you work from home as an employee.
If you are ready, let's get started to know the 12 productivity hacks that will help you stay on track- even when working from the comfort of your own home!
1. Start Working on The Most Challenging Thing First
Just like Brian Tracy says in his book, 'Eat that Frog,' start by working on the tasks that you think are most difficult to do, first thing in the morning. Brain Tracy describes the arduous task as a ‘Frog’, and he advises to 'eat it’ in the morning when you are most alert. For most people, the mornings are when they have the highest energy, which makes it important for doing the most difficult tasks that must get done. When you finish these complex tasks, you can do the less difficult things later in the day when your energy is lower.
2. Use A Task Management System to Get Work Done
Avoid getting overwhelmed by all the work you have to do by using a Task management system. Though this kind of system is used by remote teams, where all duties per person are outlined, you can also create one.
A task management system can help you keep track of what needs to be done and set priorities for urgent tasks and keep everyone on the same page.
How Can You Use a Task Management System?
- Track tasks to be done on Google Spreadsheets and Google calendar.
- Start handwriting all your tasks on sticky notes, a planner, or calendar and arrange by priority
- Use a whiteboard to write on your tasks and track progress
- Use project management software to manage your to-do list, track progress and provide reminders.
By creating a system, you'll be amazed at how much more efficiently your work gets completed this way! And some of these tools, like Google calendar, are free to use.
3. Create A Prioritized To-Do List
To achieve your work goals, you must list all the actions that need to be done. Then put them on a to-do list and highlight the three most important tasks you must do for the day. Handwrite them and display these three in a place you can see (by your computer) before you start working.
By choosing just three main tasks, you have created a manageable, realistic expectation of yourself. This helps you to avoid getting overwhelmed and anxious at the end of the day. Once you finish the three main goals, you can pick another activity that follows in priority to be done.
To improve the success rate, block periods of time to do each task for that day and commit to staying focused until it's done.
Keep these to do lists in your computer as a Google Sheet and update and check off the list as you go.
4. Use The Pomodoro Technique
The Pomodoro Technique is a productivity technique developed by Francesco Cirillo in the late 1980s. It uses timer intervals to break down work into periods of 25 minutes each. They are separated by short 5 minutes breaks between each interval called "Pomodoro."
This technique was created as an effective time management system for professionals to focus on their tasks without interruption from emails, a video call or phone calls while still having a social life outside of work hours.
It is believed that a Pomodoro session at 25 minutes is the perfect length of time to be productive and not procrastinate. A Pomodoro helps you stay focused on any task at hand without feeling pressured or overwhelmed. It can also help you work faster by creating an urgency of finishing the task in 25 minutes.
The 5 minutes breaks are used to refresh. What are some activities you can do in the 5- minute break?
- Take a short walk
- Do deep breathing exercises
- Do a quick 5 minute clean up
- Check-in with family or a babysitter
- Create 5-minute stretching or yoga routine
- To walk outside and get some sun and fresh air
Does it work? The technique can be applied for those challenging tasks that you tend to procrastinate on. Its success also depends on personal preferences, work routines, and energy. But for many who work remotely, it's a great help to stay productive during working hours.
5. Automate Your Work as Much Possible
Luckily there are many online tools you can use to automate repetitive low priority tasks. By automating these tasks, your productivity is bound to increase. Examples of tasks you can automate are sending a standard welcome email to new and potential clients that subscribe to your service and more.
But how do you know what task to automate?
1. The task has to be repetitive or done frequently on a schedule. For example, if you attend weekly virtual meetings with Google Meet or Zoom and spend time looking for the meeting links. You can automate the virtual meeting links to be put into your calendar as you confirm attendance.
2. If it involves moving information between Apps. For example, copy and pasting or exporting documents and importing them into another.
3. If it is mundane and does not require much thought. Consider if it needs any creativity or problem-solving. If not, it is an excellent task to automate.
4. If it takes you away from your core work, such as replying to frequently asked questions. The activities that take more than 15 minutes of your time should be automated.
Some automation tools you can use can be found in Zapier.com, Snaplogic, Automate.io, Chat software like Freshchat, and more.
6. Get Enough Sleep
Sleep is a crucial factor in determining how productive we are. When you're not getting enough sleep, your body releases a hormone called cortisol, making it harder to concentrate and be alert at work. Sleep-deprived people often have trouble learning new material quickly because their cognitive skills slow down as they become more tired. Additionally, lack of sleep may lead to an increased risk for heart disease if combined with stress or other health problems such as obesity.
Sleeping less than six hours per night over three months leads to sluggishness during the day, making it harder to focus. Working from home, you are prone to anxiety and depression. When you sleep longer hours, it boosts your emotional and mental health.
7. Create a Morning Routine for a Successful Day
The way you start the day affects how the rest of it will go. No matter if you are a morning person or not, create a simple morning routine that prepares your body and mind for the work ahead. An example of a routine you can follow can be as follows:
1. Wake up after 7-9 hours of sleep. Make it a regular wake-up time every day.
2. Every morning when you wake up, drink a glass of warm water to help your body hydrated.
3. Do some exercises. This can vary from a cardio gym workout to a run outside to a yoga session or simply to get some fresh air. Moving your body in the morning will help you feel better and energized for the day. Exercising also improves your focus.
4. Meditate or Pray. Starting with some quiet time with meditation or prayers also helps prepare you mentally for the challenges of the day ahead.
5. Shower and get dressed. The simple act of getting dressed will jolt your mind from the relaxed mode in pajamas to performance of work mindset. Your dressing up will help you make a mental association to your office and puts you in a work mode automatically.
6. Have a healthy breakfast. Load up on healthy energy-rich foods to fuel your body for the day ahead.
7. Set your goals for the day ahead. You can also do this the night before so that you have a head start on the day.
8. Start your work at the same time every day. Learn how to set a start and end time to your work routine. This will help you schedule your home life around your work. If your own schedule changes often, it will create a chaotic day and significantly reduce your productivity.
8. Create a Boundary Between Work and Home Duties
One of the biggest distractors of working from home is the other family members, especially kids. If you have to work with kids in the house, you will need to work in a different room and schedule your working time by their activity level. Activities that require your attention at home such as grocery shopping, laundry, cooking must be planned into your day to avoid rushing and feeling unnecessary stress.
9. Turn Off Notifications from Your Phone and Social Media
Turn off all phone notifications from your phone. That enchanting 'ding' of a new text, social media post, apps, or incoming email is the fastest stealer of your time. Whenever it rings, it takes away your focus from the work at hand, and you get distracted. It slows down your work, especially if you decide to answer the message, and it takes time to re-adjust yourself to where you had left off on your work. This simple hack will allow you to gain hours of work time back and remain productive.
10. Delegate Extra Work to Your Team or Outsource
If you work with a team, discuss the option of sharing out tasks that are not core activities to what you need to do. Alternatively, reach out to your supervisor or boss and request them to delegate a few of the duties you have to give better quality work.
If you work alone, consider outsourcing some of the activities that you are not very good at, such as the bookkeeping of your accounts or the social media posting process. There are virtual assistants you can hire and pay per hour to assist you with these activities. Delegating will save you the time it takes to complete your core income-producing activities.
11. Experiment with Your Schedule
Try not to get too comfortable with a schedule until you have tested several variations and settled for the best. It's important to evaluate how effective a schedule is for you. A schedule that works for your co-workers is not necessarily going to work for you as well.
Be flexible enough to experiment with the hours and the type of work you do. For example, try to start working an hour or two earlier or even later than your usual time and note how it works for you. The goal is to use the freedom of working from home to create the most productive work schedule for yourself.
12. Self-Evaluate Yourself and Your Team
Get into the habit of evaluating yourself at the end of the day, week and month by asking these questions:
1. What did I do well today?
2. What didn't work so well today?
3. What I'm I excited about in my work?
4. What can I do better tomorrow/ this week/ month?
5. What is stressing me out?
6. What is the plan of action for tomorrow/ this week?
These are also questions you can use to evaluate with a team on their progress regularly. Once you take responsibility for your activities, you will be much more productive and motivated to see milestones reached. You will also move faster because you know what's working and what you need to do better for the next day or week.
13. Take care of the small things first.
If you are working from home, you may find it difficult to stay on task. It can be tempting to answer emails or check social media, but if you want to get anything done, you need to focus on the tasks at hand. Try to take care of the small things first.
For instance, if you have a pile of dishes in the sink, wash them before answering any emails. If your trash is full, empty it before checking your social media feed. Once you have taken care of the small things, then you can start working on the larger tasks.
14. Make your home office a pleasant place to work.
If your home office is your dedicated workspace, so it's important to make it a space you enjoy. You can do this by decorating the walls with inspirational quotes, putting up photos of your family, and making sure you have a comfortable chair.
You can also create a separate space for eating, and make sure you have a good desk lamp and ergonomic chair. It's also important to make sure you have a good internet connection and plenty of natural light.
15. Get dressed for work when working remotely.
This one sounds obvious, but it's amazing how many people get caught in PJs all day. Get dressed for work. It's a small thing, but it makes a big difference. If you're wearing pants and a shirt, you're more inclined to stay on task.
A business casual attire, just if you dress like you're going to the office, you'll be more likely to act like it. You'll also be more likely to keep your house tidy and clean if you feel like you're going to be judged by someone else.
16. Keep a clean home office.
If you work from home, you may be tempted to let things slide around your office. But a messy home office can make it hard to get work done. If you want to be more productive, clean up your home office at least once a week. Y
You might find that it's easier to get work done when your desk is clear and you don't have to worry about looking for a pen or paper clip.
17. Make your space comfortable.
It's important to make your home office a dedicated workspace that you enjoy being in. This will help you to stay focused and productive. To do this, make sure your desk is in a place where you can see the outdoors and have natural light. You might also want to consider getting a comfortable chair. A good chair can make all the difference when it comes to comfort and productivity.
If possible, try to keep your home office away from other things that might distract you, like the TV or kitchen. When you are working from home, it's easy to get distracted by the laundry, the dishes, or your cat. To keep focused, make your space as comfortable as possible. Make sure the temperature is just right and that you have a comfortable chair.
18. Get out of the house.
If you're working from home, it can be easy to get stuck on a task and not realize how much time has passed. To avoid this, try setting a timer for 30 minutes and then taking a short break. If you need more than one break, don't worry. Just make sure you get back to the task at hand.
Also, if you're working from home, it's important to take care of yourself and your family. You may want to do chores or run errands during the day or take a walk in the evening. You'll be more productive when you come back to work refreshed.
It also will help you to have a healthier work life balance.
19. Take a break when you need to.
It's hard to work all day, everyday. It can lead to burnout, which is when you are so stressed out that you can't do anything. To avoid this, take a break when you need to. For example, if you need to get up from your desk and walk around for a few minutes every hour, do it. Set a timer or alarm on your phone to remind you to get up and move around.
You can also use the Pomodoro technique to break up your work day. This technique involves working for 25 minutes, then taking a five minute break. You repeat this process four times before taking a longer break.
20. Create a routine for your day.
When you are working from home, it can be hard to stay productive. You have the freedom to do anything you want. When you have this much freedom, it becomes difficult to focus on what is important. To help yourself stay productive, create a routine for your day.
This may include waking up at the same time each day, eating breakfast, and taking care of the house. If you find yourself getting distracted by something that isn't important, don't let it take over your day. Set a timer for five minutes and when it goes off, come back to what you were working on.
21. Be present in the moment.
When you're working from home, it's easy to get caught up in distractions. You might find yourself checking your email or Facebook, or you might be tempted by the TV to watch a show. If you want to get more done and make the best out of your work hours, try to stay focused on the task at hand. Remove any distractions from your work environment, and set a timer for how long you want to work.
If you have an hour to work, set a timer for 30 minutes and when it goes off, take a break for 10 minutes. Then set the timer again for 30 minutes. This way, you'll be able to focus on the task at hand without getting distracted by other things that come up.
22. Take care of yourself.
You might be sitting in your living room, but that doesn't mean you can't take care of yourself. Get up and walk around. Take a break to do something physical. If you're feeling lazy, find ways to make yourself more productive.
For example, some people have found that working from home is more productive if they wear their pajamas or workout clothes, although for most this is not advisable.
But some found it helpful to make their home office their own workspace, where they love to be in order to avoid distractions.
23. Don't multitask too much.
Multitasking is a myth. It doesn't work. So, if you're working from home, don't try to do two things at once. Instead, focus on the task at hand and finish it before moving on to the next one. This will help you stay focused and productive.
If you're working from home, it can be tempting to try to multitask. But this isn't a good idea. Multitasking is inefficient because you're switching between tasks and are constantly interrupting yourself. It's better to focus on one task at a time. If you need to take a break, get up and do something else for 10 minutes before going back to the first task.
24. Stay off social media when working.
You know it's bad for you, but we're all guilty of wasting hours scrolling through Facebook, Instagram or Twitter. It can be hard to stay on task when you're working remotely from home. One way to avoid this is to turn off your social media apps and just use them like any other app.
You can also create a strict schedule for yourself. For example, if you work from 9 A.M. to noon, don't check Facebook until noon. This will help you stay on task and avoid distractions.
25. Nix the TV.
Watching TV can be a great way to take a break from work, but it can also be a huge time suck. If you're working remotely from home, it's easy to get sucked into the vortex of your favorite show and forget to do anything else.
Try turning off your TV and using that time for something more productive, like taking a walk or getting some work done.
Despite the challenges of working remotely from home, it can be a very rewarding experience if you take time to plan your day with these hacks in mind. As you get better at being productive, you will achieve bigger goals for your and your family's success. We hope these 12 productivity hacks will come in handy for your own work-from-home routine. Also, share them with a friend who might need the advice! If you have more productivity hacks to share with our readers, feel free to comment below.