Working or studying from home comes with a long list of benefits. It’s flexible, there’s no need to commute (other than from your bed to your desk) and you can wear comfy clothes all day if you want to! The only trouble is, when you are at home there are plenty of things to distract you — and there’s certainly plenty of room for procrastination.
So whether you’re a full-time remote worker or just stuck at home temporarily due to COVID-19, these 6 simple productivity tips from the founder of Standout CV Andrew Fennell, will help you to shut out those distractions, maximize your productivity and keep your focus. Andrew is a former recruitment consultant and contributes careers advice to websites including Business Insider, The Guardian and Fast Company.
1. Make yourself a workstation
One of the best ways to stay productive is to make yourself a dedicated workspace. This could be anything from a foldaway desk, to a full home office. Having a clear space where you can focus stops you from ending up slouching on the sofa or climbing back into bed. For the best results, make sure your workstation is comfortable, has plenty of natural light and that you have plenty of space to keep everything you need to work or study effectively.
2. Get dressed
Okay, so we did say that one of the perks of working from home is that you get to wear comfy clothes all day. But this doesn’t mean you should spend the whole day in your pyjamas! Getting dressed can help to signal to your brain that you’re in work or study mode. Of course, this doesn’t mean you have to put on your usual smart attire — loose, comfy clothes will do just fine! But simply getting dressed can help to prepare you for the day and switch you into the right mindset, resulting in an increased level of productivity.
3. Set aside dedicated time for working
Whether you are working or studying will impact how much time you need to set aside for your work. But either way, it’s important to set aside dedicated hours where you will focus on your tasks. And it’s equally important that you schedule some breaks in, too! Being at home doesn’t mean you should be glued to your computer all day. But equally, you probably shouldn’t be sitting on the sofa for two hours watching TV. Setting out a daily schedule can be useful for keeping you on track and productive, but still ensuring that you get some rest and don’t become overworked.
4. Get out of the house
Working or studying from home means you can wave goodbye to your commute to the office or university campus. While this comes with its benefits, you should still make sure you get out every now and then to avoid the dreaded cabin fever. Why not start the day with a run, go for a walk on your lunch break or give yourself a 15-minute break to sit in the garden every few hours? Being cooped up inside all day isn’t good for your mental health and it certainly won’t help you stay productive. Make sure to get outside and breathe in some fresh air!
5. Create a to-do list
Ahh, the humble to-do list. It might sound simple, but it really is productivity’s best friend! Having a clear list of tasks to complete will help you to stay on top of your workload and get a clear idea of what you need to achieve each day. It also feels surprisingly good when you tick each item off your list! Get into the habit of starting every day by making a quick to-do list, putting your key priority or most challenging task at the top. This will give you some direction for your day and help to keep you on track.
6. Minimise distractions
Between your bed, the people you live with, the TV, your phone and the ever-growing pile of laundry, there is plenty to distract you when you’re at home. To stay efficient and productive, you need to do all you can to eliminate distractions. For example, if you know you can’t go more than 10 minutes without checking WhatsApp, then it might be best to leave your phone in another room. If you’re prone to getting distracted by morning television or your favourite soaps, pull out the plug and opt for gentle music instead. After all, the less you have nearby to distract you, the more productive you can be!
It’s time to focus
There’s nothing more satisfying than ticking everything off your to-do list and proudly closing your laptop after a productive day. Use the six tips above to help eliminate distractions and keep you from procrastinating while you’re studying or working at home!