How to Be Productive when Working at Home

I love being productive, and I love working from home.

Even when I worked for an organization where I had a physical office, I always did much of my work at home. I have always had a workspace that included a desk and a designated spot for my computer (usually a laptop, but not always).

Working at home has always worked for me and my professional situation. I enjoy working uninterrupted, and I know that I have more control over my home workspace than I would if I worked in an office with other people.

That being said, it can be a real challenge to stay on top of your work when all you really want to do is curl up on the couch and binge on Netflix/cuddle with the dogs/read the five novels that you have stacked on your end table.

After 13 years of working from home (some of those years working at home and in an office), I’ve learned a thing or two about staying productive at home.

Tips for Staying Productive while Working at Home

  1. Choose the right tools to track your projects and how you allocate your time. I use a combination of my time management tool (to track how much time I have in a day, and how I will allocate that time) and Wrike, a robust project management tool that I use for everything, even personal projects.
  2. Be protective of your time Just because you’re working at home doesn’t mean you have to accept every lunch date, coffee date, midday phone call, etc. Treat your workday as your workday, no matter where that space may be.
  3. Stick to a schedule. Schedule regular breaks to maintain focus, and choose a set time to start and finish tasks and your workday.
  4. Have a dedicated workspace. I’m not going to say too much about how your workspace should look — some people like a minimalist environment, some people like having everything they need at their fingertips. But you should absolutely have just one space that is a dedicated workspace, so that when you arrive at that space you know it is time to work.
  5. Minimize distractions. This is best practice for any workspace — cut down on distractions that keep you from focusing on your work. This can include social media, news sites, your phone, etc.

Do you work from home? What are some tips you have that have helped you stay productive?

 

Tracking Learning with Degreed

One of the things I have been wanting to do for a while is track my growth in learning new skills. I’m a learning addict, so I like taking new courses and reading books about topics that interest me, but it’s not necessarily anything I track. And, I hate to admit this, but I sometimes buy

Read More

The Meaning in Work

One of the ways I keep myself motivated to go to the gym is the promise of listening to great podcasts (from this Freakanomics podcast episode I now know this is called temptation bundling). One such podcast is the TED Radio Hour. This week I listened to the episode on the Meaning of Work, featuring highlights of

Read More

“Be curious, not judgmental.” -Walt Whitman

In this Age of Snark, it’s not easy to separate judgment from our lives. If you’re reading this, then you have experience reading things on the internet, which means that you’ve witnessed any number of negative, even vitriolic, exchanges between two or more parties who just know that they are right. If you haven’t witnessed

Read More

On Country Music and Career Warnings

If you know me in real life, you know I love country music. And I LOVE (all caps on purpose) Willie Nelson. So, of course I love the song he covers with Waylon Jennings, “Mammas, Don’t Let Your Babies Grow Up To Be Cowboys.” And while I love the song, the lyrics reference something that bothers

Read More

The Truth About Quitting

I’m sure you’ve heard these expressions before: Quitters never win. Don’t quit! You’ll regret it! Quitting is for losers. Never, ever, ever give up. Even if none of these expressions have been directed at you, it’s still likely that you’ve heard them said about life in general. These sayings assume that quitting is due to lack of

Read More

The Art of Saying No

If you’re a small business owner, saying no needs to be part of your business strategy. This has become more and more apparent to me as I try to map out the coming months and years ahead of me. When I first started out, and for much of last year, I accepted almost every job that came

Read More

Stories of Growth Podcast

I’m a month and eight episodes in to my new podcast, Stories of Growth. I’ve been publishing a new episode every week, and have all episodes planned through the end of this year. It’s been a very fun experience so far, and it helps that this is my second podcast. I’ve gotten to speak to

Read More

[Time] Waste Management: 5 Ways I Cut Time Waste

Patience is not one of my virtues. Just ask anyone in my family. I can get frustrated quickly, and my anxiety definitely kicks in when something comes up that is unexpected AND a time suck. Needless to say, I hate wasting time. Over the years I’ve developed some strategies for cutting back on those time

Read More

Learning = Growth

I recently had the pleasure of recording a podcast interview with Jennifer Sacco, and we had a wonderful conversation about business and life. One of the questions that Jennifer asked me was, “Besides family, what do you care most about?” My answer: learning. I believe deeply in the incredible capacity that we have as humans

Read More

My Favorite Resources for Learning Online

You know what experts LOVE doing? Learning. I am a learning addict. I love learning new skills, and deepening my knowledge and applications of skills I already have. Access to high-quality courses is better than ever, and it’s only going to get easier to access excellent content to help you grow your expertise. Udemy. I’ve

Read More

What’s the Value of Your Degree?

It’s possible you may have missed the release of Georgetown University’s report The Economic Value of College Majors from earlier this year. If you did, I recommend taking a look—it’s fascinating information, even if it doesn’t go into the amount of detail that language majors would probably appreciate (e.g. there are two categories for languages, “common” and

Read More