Tips for Boosting Home Office Productivity
Make Your Work Hours Count
If you’ve made the switch from an office job to working from home, you’ve probably discovered some pretty terrific perks. You get to sleep in, you can work in your pajamas, you don’t have to do “team-building exercises.” Still, one thing you may miss about the old nine-to-five is that it clearly started at nine, and clearly ended at five; at the end of the day, you got to go home. One of the biggest stressors on people who work from home is the blurring of this distinction, so that you’re never really off the clock. Here are some tips to make your work hours count so that you can knock out your projects and then have the rest of the day completely to yourself.
1. Get a good time-waster filter for your browser
There are several free browser extensions to control when you have access to “time-waster” sites, and for how long. Customizability is key here: some people won’t get anything done if they have access to Facebook and YouTube during their workday, while others can be refreshed and more productive by a cat video or two during the day. The really good options (including Leechblock for Firefox and StayFocusd for Chrome) allow you to set which sites you’ll block, and exactly how much access you want to have during your work day. Your rules can be as specific as, “Between 10:30 and 6:30, I can only be on Facebook for five minutes per hour”, and a good extension will accommodate you.
2. Subdivide your tasks by complexity
This is a big one, because we need different circumstances to do different kinds of work. If part of your job is menial, and doesn’t require a lot of thought, it helps to have a Netflix movie in the background or some good music; but those same elements that keep you sane during the grunt work can be a real hindrance when your task requires critical thinking. Bearing that in mind, split up the two kinds of work whenever possible. Maybe creative, analytical work is easier for you to do in the afternoon, or maybe you like to wind down with the brainless work. Whatever’s good for you; just do it deliberately, and make your environment conducive to the task at hand.
3. Keep distractions close at hand, but not too close
Breaks are essential; to confront problems with your full faculties you need to be able to cut loose every once in a while and think about something else. What matters is that you’re able to make a clean break, really stopping work and doing something else. It helps to have a specific space to do this; buy comfortable chair and set it in the corner by your bookshelf so you can tear through a chapter of a good book every couple hours. Bring your guitar into the office. Keep things around you that invigorate you—but that force you to get up and away from the “work zone”.
4. Give yourself a workday
This is something that you may not like—the rigidity of deadlines and dress codes may be what you work from home to escape—but in this case, setting a specific workday is strictly for your benefit. As a freelancer myself, I can’t tell you how many times I’ve stalled out and wasted time during the day, because I’ve thought of my work day as “whenever I get around to it”. By setting a dedicated time to work (and to be done working), you can force yourself to get the job done on time, and get on with your life!
About The Author
Gina M Casillo is a staff writer for Serenity Living Stores, your Ergo-friendly place of choice to buy an Eames chair. Gina enjoys writing about home décor—especially when it comes to the spaces she’s most intimate with—decorating the perfect play spaces and bedrooms for her two active twin boys, and decorating the ideal work sanctuary. You will often find Gina tucked away in her cozy home office concentrating on her favorite pastimes, which are writing and blogging about interior design.
Filed under: Work From Home
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