We’re halfway through May and summer vacation draws near; this means for the next few months I’ll be working from home. #SoExcited
As a professor, the summer months are some of my most productive times of the year. Without the distractions of grading, meetings, and lecture prep, I have the opportunity to dive into major projects and focus on furthering my big goals.
With that being said, working from home can also present challenges. I’m often distracted by household chores. I battle the dwindling motivation that accompanies beautiful weather. And I work through the sudden drop in social interaction with others.
Since many of you wonderful readers also work from home – whether you’re a full-time mompreneur, you split your days between the home and the office, or you’re working on your side hustle on the weekends – I thought you might relate to some of these challenges.
Therefore, I wanted to share some of my top tips to effectively work from home so you can start crushing your to-do list and start reaching those big goals.
Are you ready for this?
Let’s do it.
Top 5 Tips to Effectively Work From Home
Work-Life Separation: Create a Designated Work Environment
When I started working from home, one of my biggest challenges was feeling like I was always at work. Even when 5:00 rolled around, it never felt like the workday ended. Because I couldn’t separate home from work in my mind, I continued logging hours late into the night.
Once I designated a specific workspace, however, I found it much easier to reinforce that elusive work-life balance. When I was able to literally close my office door at the end of the day, it provided the important boundary that I needed to step away.
So if room allows, set aside an area in your home specifically dedicated to your work. By taking this important step, you help reinforce the healthy separation of work and life.
Additionally, as you decide on that workspace, try to choose an area that is relatively quiet and free from distractions.
Sure, lounging on the couch may sound more appealing than sitting at the dining room table. But the couch is also where you hang out, watch TV, play games, etc. In other words, sitting on the couch probably doesn’t scream, “get work done!”
So choose a place as distraction-free as possible, and get to work!
Lacking motivation? Try creating a more welcoming workspace where you want to spend time. Decorate your area with things that inspire you. Hang pictures on the walls, add a few stickers to your laptop, and make the space your own.
Shut Out Distraction: Embrace the White Noice Machine
I am super noise sensitive, so when I’m working on a challenging project, I find myself constantly distracted by excess noises outside, the television downstairs, my husband talking on the phone, etc.
Thankfully, I discovered the wonders of the white noise machine, which helps me drown out distractions and keep my attention focused on the task at hand.
There are lots of different white noise options. Simply Noise is a great (free!) online tool; I love the brown noise, and I use it anytime I’m flying or stuck in a noisy public space when need to focus.
If a have the choice, however, I use my absolute favorite white noise machine. It uses actual air, which whooshes through a fan and it is so soothing. Seriously. I love this thing.
So if you find yourself easily distracted by the noises around you, you might consider giving a white noise machine a try.
Engage in Conversation: Emerge From Isolation Every Once In a While
As I mentioned above, working from home can often feel isolating.
We’re sucked into our work all day, we venture from our office to our kitchen for lunch, and our longest conversation might be with the UPS delivery person dropping off our latest Amazon package.
In short, social interaction is rather low.
In fact, as a self-proclaimed introvert who loves her alone time, even I feel a bit isolated when this routine becomes the norm.
So if you find yourself engaging in lengthy conversations with your dog or the delivery person, it might be time to take a break, call a friend or family member, and catch up for a bit.
Alternatively, you might meet a friend for lunch and get out of the house for an hour or so.
We are social beings, people. Find some way to make those connections.
Switch Things Up: Vary Your Work Week
It’s no secret that I’m a creature of habit, and I love a good routine. Nevertheless, it’s helpful to change things up every once in a while.
Simply put, it helps keep things fresh. It helps us avoid falling into a rut.
And remember, these changes don’t need to be big. For example, you could work on a set of tasks in a different order each day. You might try batch working different projects each week. Or you might even consider shortening your work week a bit.
By making these small changes in your daily schedule, you help keep things fresh, interesting, and exciting. This, in turn, helps boost your motivation to get more things accomplished.
Take a Break: Enjoy Yourself!
One of the most surprising tips to effectively work from home is to take breaks.
Yes, you read that right.
If you want to work at peak productivity, then you need to give yourself breaks throughout the day as well.
You see, when you allow your brain time away from the tasks at hand, you have space to refresh your mind. This way, when you return to your desk, you’ll feel energized and ready to get back to work.
For example, I get up around 4:30 each morning. I get let out the dog, pour myself a cup of coffee, and then I get to work for about three hours. At 8:10, I hop in my car and head to the gym for an 8:30 gym class. This break in my day allows me to get my blood flowing, think about something entirely different, and return to my work feeling refreshed. It’s awesome.
I encourage you to find some fun, enjoyable activities to do during your work breaks. Whether you read a book on your deck for 20 minutes, walk the dog during your lunch hour, or spend some time in the garden, stepping away for a short break is a great way to maintain your motivation throughout the day.
There you have it, friends – my top 5 tips to effectively work from home.
Want more of my favorite strategies to boost productivity when you’re working from home? Grab my list of 25 simple tips here, and start crushing your to-do list today!
Do you ever work from home? What challenges do you face? What are you favorite strategies to effectively work from home? Share your thoughts below!