Working from home might sound great at first, but trying to stay productive isn’t as easy as it may seem. With so many surprising distractions, work from home productivity might seem like more of a dream than reality.
However, there are ways to improve your productivity and start accomplishing far more during your day than you ever thought possible. You can even apply some of these techniques to daily tasks, not just your job.
Take Scheduled Breaks
Break time doesn’t mean you’re not productive. In fact, breaks are great for your mind. Your brain isn’t meant to stay focused for hours at a time. It gets tired and looks for a distraction to help it refocus. As strange as it sounds, taking a brief break gives your mind a chance to relax, switch gears, and come back to a task refreshed.
Think about it as the same as taking a power nap. You wake up and feel much better. All it takes is 5-10 minutes. Try to take at least one break an hour or use the Pomodoro technique where you work in 25-minute sections, each followed by a break. There are free Pomodoro timer apps and websites to help you master this technique.
Giving your brain a break helps reduce the temptation to give in to distractions. After all, if you know there’s a break coming up, you can save the distraction for the break.
Put Together the Perfect Playlist
One of the most straightforward and enjoyable work from home productivity techniques is music. While it’s true some people do work best in complete silence, if you’re struggling, give music a try.
The perfect music for you varies based on how your brain works. For many, classical or any instrumental music works better because they’re not distracted by lyrics. However, energetic music, even with lyrics, helps boost your mood and may make you feel less tired. This leads to higher levels of productivity.
Music streaming apps like Spotify have productivity playlists for you to try. Or, create your own. Experiment with different types of music to find what works best.
Exercise During the Workday
Since you’re taking more breaks, make the most of them. Exercise gets your blood pumping, helps clear the cobwebs from your brain, and is healthier than downing energy drinks to stay awake.
You don’t have to run to the gym either. Instead, add a yoga mat to your home office for some quick stretches during a break. If it’s nice outside, walk a few laps around your house. Of course, you could check out quick workouts on YouTube or an app like FitOn. When you’re already stretched for time, fitting in a few 5-10 minute workouts during the workday not only boosts your productivity but your health.
Look up work from home productivity, and one of the first tips you’ll usually see is “make a to-do list.” That’s a great tip, but if you can’t motivate yourself to complete your list, it’s not effective.
If you’ve tried writing a list or using list-making apps without any success, try a different approach. Gamification turns your to-do list or daily tasks into a game.
Depending on the app or site you use, you create your list but assign different criteria to it. For instance, if you wanted to clear out your emails before lunch, you might assign skills to it, such as organization and speed. As you complete tasks, your skills level up like they would in a video game.
Some platforms let you buy virtual equipment to decorate your avatar and even go on special quests. If you enjoy gaming, gamification might be the productivity secret you’ve been searching for.
Other platforms let you create custom rewards that you buy with coins you earn from completing tasks. For example, you might want to try a new restaurant. Complete your tasks on time to earn enough coins to buy that reward for yourself.
If you want to try this for yourself, Habitica, EpicWin, and SuperBetter are all great options. They do have premium features, but you can use the free versions too.
Write in a Journal
Before you discount this one, give it a try for a week. Stress is a productivity killer. If you don’t get it out, it ruins your productivity, no matter where you work from. However, it hurts work from home productivity even more as you don’t have co-workers to talk to and share what’s going on.
A journal gives you a chance to get it all out. There’s no judgment. Use it as a sounding board.
There are also several more benefits. You don’t have to just write about your stress. Gratitude, mindfulness, and future-self journaling all help boost productivity. Spend a few minutes each day to write about what you’re grateful for, which helps improve your mood and allows you to see things in a more positive way.
Use mindfulness to write about how you’re feeling right now. Keep your journal nearby to jot down what’s going on when you procrastinate or feel low. This helps you discover patterns and triggers to build better habits.
Finally, use future-self journaling to write about your goals and how you’re working to achieve them. Giving yourself a sense of purpose makes the daily grind seem more important. This leads to less procrastination and more motivation, even if your kids, pets, and spouse aren’t exactly respecting your office hours.
Try these simple techniques for yourself. Stick with them for at least a month, and you’ll notice positive results. You’ll also start to see a better work-life balance.