Let’s face it, working from home is a dream come true for many people. You get to spend more time with your family and save money on travel costs. However – with that – comes the distractions and temptations. The thought of being able to do a grocery run on a random day of the week may seem like a luxury, but it can turn into a form of procrastination when no one tells you to go back to work.
Depending on whether you are self-employed or have a remote job, your schedule can be completely flexible or as rigid as a 9-5. Perhaps you have been blessed with one day a week. You may have been working from home due to situations such as Covid-19.
Whatever your reason for working from home, you need to have great self-discipline and willpower to make it work. I worked from home and had to change some personal habits to be more productive. In a specific context, I split my work day between freelancing, content creation, and article writing for a remote job.
I always liked the idea of working from home instead of being in an office from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. These hours seem so arbitrary and it’s silly to think we can be productive for 8 hours. I found that sticking to normal hours makes it easier to regulate my work. Of course, I have the freedom to throw my clothes away while I work or take a trip to the grocery store, but regular work hours help. I recommend starting and finishing work at the same time each day. You don’t have to be at your computer at 9 a.m. sharp, but you are still responsible for getting your work done on time.
Create an office environment
I don’t recommend watching TV while you work, I do recommend some YouTube videos that will help create a quiet work environment. Here are some of my favourites:
Lo-fi Hip Hop Radio: they play relaxed music without annoying lyrics. The music has Coffee shop vibe and makes you miss having people around.
Old library room: The thunder and rain sounds from this one are super soothing.
To ensure you work effectively, make yourself comfortable. Light a candle, make background noise, make a cup of tea, and get to work. Finish important tasks first and then work you way down from there. This makes it easier to tackle your to-do list and meet deadlines.
Personally, I like having other people around while doing everyday tasks, but I need my focus and my quiet time when working. Some people think that working from home is more distracting than an office. Move to another room or listen to music to block out distractions when you need to focus.
Mind your eating habits
Have lunch at a normal time and try to eat outside of work. I also found that preparing meals in advance is very helpful. Although I can prepare my lunch at home, most of the time I don’t. I don’t want to spend a lot of time cooking at lunchtime. Having something prepared in advance makes life so much easier. It’s really tempting to snack all day when you have access to the kitchen, but try to stick to a snack schedule. If this is something you have a problem with. For example, I almost always take a break around 2 p.m. for a snack.
Manage your time
If you’re struggling to be productive at home or in general, try using something like Toggl to control your time. Tracking my time has helped me recognize when I am spending too much time on useless tasks. My personal distractions include dancing in the living room and organizing. When I measure how long these things take, I notice how much work time demands of me. Keeping track of your time can open your eyes to your procrastination habits. An added bonus is that, it can encourage you to be more productive because you feel like the clock is watching you.
Take breaks in between
If you don’t have a set lunch break, you can easily sit at your desk for 8 hours straight. Try working in increments of 30 to 50 minutes, then take a break. Get some fresh air. Do some quick stretches. Get up and go for a walk. Text or call someone if you feel isolated from others. You don’t want your work to wear you down. So make regular breaks a priority.