When you first start working from home, it seems awesome. You can start work in your PJs, run into the kitchen and grab a snack when you please, and even see your kids more often. But it's easy to lose track of time.
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Reality and temptations start to settle in. You may feel tempted to turn on daily talk shows instead of work or spend too much time aimlessly browsing on social media. Before you know it, you've lost time.
Not being productive, whether you work from home or have a traditional job, can have serious negative impacts on your work and cause you to feel more stressed. We all have our less productive moments, but it's actually easier to fall off track when you're working independently from home.
If you recently started working from home and have already noticed a productivity slump, here are a few things you can do to get back on track.
Set Working Hours
Working from home is flexible, but that flexibility has limits. You have to get your work done some time. So, if you're not working for a specific employer who sets your hours, it's best to set a rough schedule detailing when you plan to work.
You should choose a realistic time frame that has been proven to allow you to maximize your productivity. Some people prefer to work mornings while other people prefer to work nights or split shifts.
I definitely feel more energized in the morning so I wake up early and try to get most of my most mentally challenging tasks completed before 2 pm. Then, I take a break to pick my son up and do homework with him. Some days I may work again for another 60-90 minutes on smaller tasks before I cook dinner.
Cut Out Distractions
Distractions at home can be tricky. If you are easily distracted, be sure to shut off the TV, silence your cell phone, and temporarily block social media websites so you can get more work done.
If you work best in silence, you may also want to create a designated ‘office space' in your bedroom or another quiet place in your home. You don't need a fancy office with all the latest equipment. Just throw a desk in the corner of your bedroom, shut the door, and get to work.
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Change Your Scenery
Sometimes it helps to work from different places since the change of scenery can improve your motivation to work. For example, you can work from your designated office space some days. But feel free to switch it up and work from others areas of your home.
You can try to work outside of your home one day of the week. You don't need to spend money on a fancy space. Go to a local coffee shop or a library in your area and take advantage of the free WiFi. Try it out and see if you are able to work more productively in a different setting.
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Work in Chunks and Take Breaks
Finally, you want to work in chunks and take small breaks. If you try to do too much too quickly, you may wind up getting nothing done. Get up every 45 minutes to an hour and stretch your legs. You can grab a snack, run to the bathroom, or go on a 10-minute walk around the block.
When you think about it, spending 10 minutes going on a brisk walk is much better than wasting 30+ minutes getting distracted.
Final Thoughts on Managing Your Time
Gaining productivity when you work from home will almost always be a work in progress. Developing better habits and using these tips will help you be able to get more done in less time. What do you do when your productivity levels slow when you need to get work done?
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