How to Still Be Productive When Working Remotely

Just started working from home? It’s a gig with all of the obvious perks: churning out the same amount of work as you would in a regular office, but in the comforts of your own home. Making coffee in your own kitchen, staying in comfortable clothes, and plopping on the couch with your laptop and your dog certainly holds more appeal than a stuffy office cubicle with what feels like sub-zero temperatures.

But how do you find the balance of being comfortable, but not overly relaxed? There is still work to be done, and it may take a little while to find your groove of being productive in your new home office.

Here are a few tips to get you started:

Have defined work hours.

This is very important to abide by. Be sure to have an exact time that you plan to start and stop each day, and notify your colleagues of this schedule as well. Sticking to a schedule will keep you on the same line of discipline you were on in the office. Ideally, working a schedule similar to the one your colleagues are working will allow you to stay in the loop with them real-time, and minimize spending longer hours catching up to an overwhelming inbox of email threads.

Most importantly, having designated hours will help you to avoid burnout. In an office environment, your separation of work from home happens when you get up to walk out of the door. Since your home and office are now the same place, your schedule now serves as your separation between work and life. Following it will allow you to avoid unusually long work hours.

Create a designated work space

How did you decorate your desk in the office? Carry that same style over to your home office. Make it fun, make it inspiring, or give it a feel that allows you to channel your zen for maximized focus during the day. Whatever the decor is, it’s important that you have a space that allows your brain to shift into productivity mode once you get settled in. If you are someone who gets energized by the outdoors, place your desk close to a window to allow in natural light. Customize it to your tastes, and make it clear to your family and your household that it is a space for your work only, and for no other purpose.

Send daily updates to your supervisor or team to keep you accountable

We all start our day off with a to-do list longer than our bodies, but how much progress do we actually make on them? Ending the day by sending an update to your supervisor with a list of tasks you’ve completed keeps you on track, and lets them know that you are making the most out of your remote opportunity. It is also helpful to send any necessary follow-up emails to colleagues informing them of a status update on any requests they’ve asked of you, or ongoing projects. Place any outstanding requests at the top of your tackle list for the next day. This will demonstrate to your team the value and dependability you have in or out of the office.

Send daily updates to your supervisor or team to keep you accountable

We all start our day off with a to-do list longer than our bodies, but how much progress do we actually make on them? Ending the day by sending an update to your supervisor with a list of tasks you’ve completed keeps you on track, and lets them know that you are making the most out of your remote opportunity. It is also helpful to send any necessary follow-up emails to colleagues informing them of a status update on any requests they’ve asked of you, or ongoing projects. Place any outstanding requests at the top of your tackle list for the next day. This will demonstrate to your team the value and dependability you have in or out of the office.

Minimize distractions

Crying babies? Roaring lawnmowers? Kelly & Ryan talking to you on the TV in the background? It’s time to focus. Hire the teenager on her summer break next door to watch your baby in the next room while you power through your inbox. Put on your favorite playlist, and pop in those earphones. Turn off the TV for now, and focus your attention on one screen only. The more you focus on your work during work hours will allow you to be present in your leisure time. You won’t have the nagging thoughts about whether or not you sent in that last project on deadline, or if you caught your colleague’s input before they left for vacation. Being fully present with no distractions will also allow you to stick to your designated work hours, leaving you more time to live your life.

Change up the scenery when necessary

Energizing home workspace not doing it for you? Just not feeling the energy today? Make time to get away from the house on occasion. Pack up your laptop, and go support your local coffee shop or bookstore. It could be the exact shot of espresso you need injected into your daily routine. Meet up with a coworker for lunch to swap out another email for a little face-to-face interaction.

What’s important is to figure out what works best for you. These tips will get you started on a great track, but feel free to change it up to whatever allows you to be most efficient during the workday.

Are there any major tips we left out that work well in your home office?

This is a guest post by Josh Elkin, founder of Best Coast Marketing – a marketing agency which helps increase their clients’ traffic through organic link-building. Josh enjoys writing about entrepreneurship, marketing, productivity and self-improvement.

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