Everything about working from home sounds great… until you’re actually living it. No commute? Sounds like a time-saver, until you’re at the desk an hour into work, still not fully woken up. No office chit-chat? Sounds like a productivity boost, until you start missing your desk buddy. Working from home productivity doesn’t always come easy.
If you’ve been working from home for a while – aka bouncing your mouse around to make sure your desktop doesn’t fall asleep at the end of your work day – then you’ve probably fallen into some pretty bad habits. To stay productive, you have to pick up some new habits. Luckily for you, we’ve got all the new habits you need right here, along with all the tips.
Get Serious About Your Workspace
Working from home is here to stay. We’ve lived through the year-who-must-not-be-named, and workplaces have adjusted their routines in light of what we’ve learned: at least 47% of employed Australians are expected to maintain the same hours working from home during 2021, with 8% expected to increase their remote hours.
If you’re in the same bandwagon as those Australians and you’re likely to continue working remotely, this is your sign: set up your workspace properly. It’s been over a year. It’s about time you stopped working from
the dining table, the kitchen counter whatever you’ve MacGyver’d to work from home.
Take yourself seriously by setting up a serious workspace. You deserve a real office with a real desk, a real ergonomic chair, maybe even a file cabinet if you want to take your working from home productivity real seriously.
Nobody has space, but we’re going to have to make some; you spend 40-something hours working from home, you can’t keep living like this. When it comes down to it, your productivity is more important than the stuff eating up space in your spare room.
Do your desk a favour and give it the space it deserves. Box up the stuff you love but don’t necessarily need. Put it in a TAXIBOX and declutter your head. You’ll be more productive in no time.
Keep Things Healthy, Commit to Your Desk
Choosing a workspace and committing yourself to it is easier said than done. Sometimes, working from home productivity means duct-taping yourself to the ergonomic chair to keep yourself from escaping the desk to take cover on the couch.
Save yourself the duct-tape pain by working on a healthy relationship with your desk — don’t feel like you’re forced to work there. Make sure you actually want to.
Pick up healthy habits:
- Take your breaks elsewhere (if it’s nice out, outside)
- Don’t eat lunch at your desk
- Never work from the couch, take regular time out instead
Basically, you want to associate your desk with productivity. When you eat lunch and take breaks at your desk, you live in a limbo: you’re never fully at work, but you’re never fully relaxing either. If you treat your desk better, you’ll work better.
Get at Least a Little Dressed
Got your shit together? Doesn’t matter. Getting dressed will make you feel like you do, even if you don’t. Putting proper clothes on makes you feel like a proper person, even when you’re not acting like one or interacting with any.
Remember — your trackies will continue to let it slide every time you slack off. An elastic waistband will do wonders for your ego and nothing for your workload. Remember why you’re reading this. Say goodbye to the trackies (sorry about it) and opt for some real pants instead.
You won’t feel like wearing real pants everyday of the week, so keep things realistic. Let yourself off every once in a while and just get dressed from the waist up. It’s important to live a little. If you don’t leave a little leg room to chill out now and then, you won’t have anything to look forward to.
Keep Everything Clutter-Free (Not Just Your Desk)
We know you’ve heard it a thousand times before — tidy space, tidy mind, we don’t just get it, we are constantly on about it. It’s a Marie Kondo mantra and we wouldn’t blame you if you’ve over it, especially if you’re like every other person on the planet: you’ve got stuff and need space.
When it comes to working from home productivity, everyone’s #1 rule is to keep your desk clear. And you should, but don’t forget that on the way to your desk, you have to walk through your whole house, and there’s probably clutter there, too. Here’s the tough love: that clutter is going to be just as distracting as your desk clutter.
In the office, you’re expected to clean up after yourself. At home, there’s no one around to judge. If you really want to boost your productivity, you have to hold yourself accountable.
Keep your space clear on screen and IRL:
- Keep your surfaces clear
- Do your dishes
- Take the bins out
- Stay on top of your inbox
- Tidy your desktop
Remember, you’re working from your whole home, not just your desk — you have to walk around, be in the space, turn your head 360 degrees (if you’re an owl or an alien, which WFH will turn you into pretty soon if you don’t develop a good routine). Keep your space distraction-free by putting the messy stuff somewhere else.
Keep Your Distractions Distracted
Work from home, they said, it’ll boost your productivity, they said as your cat climbs onto your laptop, your kid knocks over an entire bookcase, and your internet cuts out. Working from home is full of distractions, both in the social media world and the real world.
Do yourself a favour, keep your distractions distracted:
- Lock yourself out of social media
- Hide your phone, if you can
- Keep your pets at an arm’s length (smother them with affection later)
Pro-tip! If you’re juggling at-home parenting with at-home working, try working in bursts. Give your kids something that will steal their attention for an hour two. Tend to them. Then repeat.
Set a Timer to Set Your Focus
There’s a reason characters in horror movies can always suddenly run incredibly fast all of a sudden, as soon as the villain’s on their trail, regardless of whether they’re wearing heels or not. We perform better under pressure. Same goes for working from home.
When you clock on at 9am, it feels like you’ve got all the time in the world. You slack off, you check the time, before you know it, it’s 4:55pm… and your list hasn’t gotten any shorter.
Make use of your time, compete with the clock. Set timers for focus periods, and vice versa for breaks when you need them. Having an end in sight (outside of your clock off time) makes getting the work done feel actually achievable, especially when you’re working towards a goal (like a quick break).
Don’t Forget You’re Human: Eat, Blink, Sleep, Go Outside
Without coworkers around to remind you that you exist (you’re not invisible WFH, you just haven’t spoken to another human all day), it can be hard to remember to take care of yourself. When you’re working from home, it’s easy to forget the essential stuff that helps you function.
Remember the basic survival stuff:
- Eat real food
- Take real breaks
- Get real sleep
- Talk to real people
Eating healthy can boost your productivity (cheers to that, energy), so try to make a real meal when you can. Save the unhealthy stuff for snacks when you need them.
Pro-tip! Need to make a few calls? Step outside and take a walk while you talk.
Set Your Rules and Stick to Them
When you’re working from home, your work life tends to bleed into your home life. Eventually, time starts to evaporate and you forget to clock off at the end of the day, nearly every day. Keep your home life intact by sticking to your own rules. It’s simple but it’ll do the trick.
Set up a schedule you can maintain. That means you have to finish on time, every time and — we hate to say it — but there’s no exception to this rule. Make sure you start on time, too.
Remember to set alarms to make sure you take your breaks and, for the millionth time for good measure, never let yourself work from bed. It’s bad for your back. And your brain. Don’t do it.
The secret to productivity isn’t in the caffeine hit (…but coffee does help). If you really want to wave burn-out goodbye, you have to take care of yourself. Take a breather. Make some space for working from home productivity; get rid of the stressing-you-out stuff. Fill a TAXIBOX and set up your dream WFH office with only the essentials. With TAXIBOX, there’s no distractions when you’re working from home — we take them away for you.