10 Tips to Help You Stay Productive While Working from Home

There’s a very good chance that you are reading this while at home. 

You wanted to take a ‘quick break’ from work but you just looked at the clock and realized you spent the past hour reading breaking news story after breaking news story. And now you’re playing catch up. 

You stop and think to yourself, ‘This is ridiculous. I am not doing well working from home, I CANNOT stay focused for the life of me! How on earth do people do this?’ Then in an effort to stop procrastinating you search for tips on WFH or how to be productive while working from home or something along those lines. 

And you landed here.

Hi, it’s nice to meet you! We feel your struggle. Don’t worry, there’s a way through this.

Everyone is writing tips about working from home, but what about the feelings of isolation and loneliness most of us are feeling right now?

We are stuck at home, with no true idea of what’s going to happen next. We don’t know how long the social distancing will go on for, and some of us are met with a feeling of loneliness and uncertainty. Especially while working from home. 

ELS is always striving to help administrative professionals become their best selves, so we put together a list of ways to stay mentally healthy while working from home. 

Don’t worry after this article you will have all of the necessities you need to work from home, distraction-free! Part of our team is remote so our tips and tricks come from experience, not just speculation. We talked with our team and compiled our 10 favorite productivity tips for working from home!

10 Tips to Help You Stay Productive While Working from Home:

  1. Close Social Media Tabs: Have you realized that the blinking message sign from Facebook is almost begging you to check it? That’s sort of the point… Don’t tempt yourself with social media. Close windows on your computer and put a time cap on your phone (we recommend starting with 30-45 mins less than what you’ve been spending and weaning yourself down from there). You can also download a monitoring app for reinforcement. SelfControl is a good one. They block distracting websites until the time limit you set is up.
  2. Keep Your Morning Routine: Do you have a morning routine? Keep the same schedule. Wake up at the same time and plan to ‘leave for work’ at the same time. Sometimes it’s hard to transition from relaxing mode to work mode without your normal drive. It’s easier to separate your relaxing (morning routine) area from your work area. If your kitchen table doubles as your workspace, take a few minutes after your morning routine to stretch, walk around (maybe change into work clothes) and sit back down with your ‘ready-to-work’ mindset. 
  3. Write a Daily/Weekly To-Do List: Plan out your day in the morning. What do you need to accomplish? Put a checkbox next to each task and prioritize them. What needs to be done first? What takes the most amount of time? Set up your schedule around your tasks. Start with the hardest/top priority and work your way through. Don’t forget to schedule a lunch break!
  4. Set Timers: Have some fun with it! Challenge yourself by estimating how much time a task will take you and then set a timer and try to beat your time. Sometimes a little competition against yourself is just what you need to crunch through a big to-do list. You may surprise yourself with how efficient you actually are. 
  5. Don’t Work with the TV On: Trust us, as much as you think you won’t be distracted, you will be. If you’re really craving some TV time, work through your hardest/top priority tasks first and then leave the mindless tasks to complete in front of a TV show. ‘But I need some sort of noise to focus!’ If that is the case, try out an instrumental music station. You get sound, but no words (or Real Housewives drama) to distract you from your work. 
  6. Remember to Exercise: Even if you just have to do workouts in your home, don’t forget to get up and stretch your legs every so often. You can also take this time to go for a walk and call a friend. 
  7. Make Your Workspace Comfortable: Get a nice chair to work from and put your laptop at a position where you aren’t looking down (this is where the kitchen table really gets you!). Put it on a box or a bunch of books so that you’re looking straight ahead instead of down. Your neck will thank you later. You can also try putting something soft (like a balance ball or a small pillow) underneath your seat, it’ll help your back and keep your hamstrings from getting too sore.
  8. Remember to Eat: Once you get into the zone, it may be hard to get back out. Set one of your timers to remind you to take a lunch break around the time you normally do. It’s important to keep a normal schedule in place. 
  9. Keep Your Workspace Clean: The most common complaint we hear from those working at home is that they get distracted by wanting to clean their house. Yes, that laundry pile DOES need to be taken care of but not right now. If you feel the need to clean, focus on cleaning everything you can see from your workspace and your desk. Alternatively, move your workspace against a wall. Try to compartmentalize ‘after-work activities’ to keep them from becoming ‘during-work’ activities. 
  10.  Enjoy This Time: Try to make the most out of working from home. Cook yourself nice meals, listen to smooth jazz, work in comfortable clothes (not your pajamas, but something that is comfortable!), wear a facemask while you work (unless you’re jumping on video calls), and enjoy the unexpected benefits. 

You got this! And if you want to stay sharp and up-to-date on your professional development while working remotely, we’re now offering a series of online webinars to help you do just that. Check out our full schedule of online training here!