7 Productivity tips for your home office

Posted on June 11, 2014


productive home office
More and more people are working from home these days, either because they’re self-employed or companies are trying to cut their real estate costs. Whatever the reason, there are lots of us. I recently attended a Meet-up for those who work from home.

The whole day was a blast! This meet-up took place in the South End, the new trendy Boston neighborhood. Between the tree-lined streets and the interesting brownstones, it was a joy to walk around there.

But enough of the streets, on to the meat of this post. Working from home can be great because you have less work distractions from annoying coworkers or a long commute. However, working from home can be tough because of other distractions.  Never has cleaning the bathroom had more appeal than when you have to do some work.  How about when the mailman becomes your best friend because he’s the only human being you see all day?

Here are some tips for being productive when you work from home:

1. Have a designated place for your “office.”

Even if you don’t have the luxury or the space for a separate room, designate a chair as your work chair.

2. Know your energy cycles.

By this, I mean if you’re a morning person, do your tough tasks that require a lot of thinking in the morning. Knowing you get sleepy and distracted at 3:00 pm, plan to take a stretch break and walk around.

3. Take time for yourself.

With people being connected 24/7, it’s especially important to turn off work. Do you really need to check and reply to emails at 9 pm on Saturday night? It might make you feel important, but it probably isn’t necessary.

I love the idea of scheduling your exercise or other “me” time just like you would any business meeting. If it’s on your calendar and the time blocked off, you’re more likely to do it.

4. Get dressed!

This one seems so simple and it sure is easy to let this one go, but it’s important. If you’re sitting at your computer in your sweat pants, there is a very different thought process than if you’re sitting at the computer in work clothes. I find I am even more productive on those days that I have meetings in Boston. For those meetings, I am much more dressed up. I even put on make up and jewelry. But, you know what? When I get back to my computer, I am really into work mode and can crank out the blog posts or client reports or whatever I need to do that day.

5. Plan your day the night before.

I think this is my favorite tip. The night before, write down 3 or 4 things that you MUST accomplish the next day. Don’t just think about them, write them down! There have been lots of studies that show when you write things down, there are new connections made in your brain and you are much more likely to do them. This is assuming that you put your list in a prominent place in your office. I’ve been known to write things down and then promptly lose the list.

Only put three or four things on your list, if you have too many things, the list becomes useless because you’ll be overwhelmed and not know where to start.

6. Plan your time in 90 minute blocks.

Our concentration wanes after 90 minutes or so, so you should be aware of this.

Every 90 minutes you should get up and stretch. Even better, you should take a quick walk. I love to do a 10 minute easy YouTube video by Jessica Smith or Leslie Sansone. This gets my blood moving and my brain refreshed.

7.  Get out of your house and meet people.

It can be very lonely working at home.  Doing Instant Messaging or Skype or talking on the phone isn’t the same as real face-to-face contact.  Schedule lunches or meetings so you get out of the house.

Do you have any other tips on being productive when you work from home?  If so, I’d love to hear about them!