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How to stay productive when working from home

Tips on how to be productive when away from the office and co-workers

Tatum Ancheta
Written by
Tatum Ancheta

It looks like for the time being, most of us will get used to the work-from-home setting. For a lot of workers from various industries, the stay-at-home work arrangement will be a first, so, in the beginning, it will be a bit hard to concentrate and get things done as home feels like it is where you relax and sleep. Here are some tips on making the most out of your work from home setting. 

RECOMMENDED: Need a break from work and all the COVID-19 news? Watch these relaxing free online streams to keep you sane.  

How to stay productive when working from home

1) Get started early and pretend like you are going to the office

Yes, the allure of lounging in bed can be tempting. But you need to pinch yourself and get up as if you are preparing to go to the office in the morning. Get into work mode –prep as you would regularly do when leaving for office. Fix up, and get out of your jammies. You don't have to wear your office clothes, but dress up casually as if someone may  knock on your door at any time. If you feel like you are ready for anything, it will give you the drive to have a productive day.

2) Work regular hours

If your normal office hours are 9am to 6pm, stay with that schedule. Structuring your day will help you accomplish tasks properly. Segment what you will do and plot out your day's tasks. Keep a list of things you need to do, plan out ahead, and stick with it.


3) Choose a dedicated workspace

Get off the bed! Lounging in bed will make you sluggish. It is also not a good thing to identify your bed as a work area as this will stress you when you do need to relax. Keep the bed for sleeping or whatever it is you usually do on your bed, just don't work from there. 

Set up an area in the house where you will have less distractions. If you have an extra room like a library or study, it would be a perfect area to set up as your home office. If not you may enjoy typing on your keyboard while lounging on the sofa with raised feet, that is okay, as long as the area is energising for you and keeping you inspired to work.

4) Stay in communication with your officemates

Working from home may dampen a bit of the productivity because of less face time or delay in communication from the team. At Time Out editorial, we created an arrangement that everyone will be online anytime starting from regular work hours until the end of office time. When the office begins, we tell each other, hello at precisely 9 am, and we signal that we are ready to roll. Anyone should be prepared and available for a chat on Google Hangouts, video call, WhatsApp messenger, Slack, email, or any mode of network communication you have set up with your teammates. Real-time communication is key. When someone is not responding, give them a quick call to iron things out. Don't wait and always follow-up.


5) Commit to doing more

Staying in should mean more time for you as you will skip the usual commute going to work, lesser time applying that one-hour makeup and another one-hour of drying and setting your hair. So, commit to doing more. Keep a list of things you need to accomplish for the day and stay on schedule. If you finish early, then good, you now have extra time for yourself. 

6) Don't do house chores

Sorry, mom, wife, or to whomever you are living with – staying home doesn't mean you have to be the one to cook, sweep the floor, or whatever else you need to do during the weekends, you can do that when you log off after work. Because, well, you have to work. Doing regular chores that you wouldn't typically do during office hours will eat up your time and will divert your focus. But, if you can get creative, put a bit of laundry in the machine, let it wash and spin for 40 minutes and make this your alarm in doing your daily work tasks. That way you get things done, and actually finish some chores while you’re at it!


7) Don't let your work life bleed into your personal life

Even when you are working from home, you should still set the boundaries and balance so that you keep a healthy routine. Log off when it is time to log off unless you have some pending materials you need to submit, or you have overtime work to finish. Give yourself time to breathe and do the things you'd typically do indoors when work is done. Hangout with your loved ones for dinner and continue the chores you'd regularly do after office hours. We all need time for ourselves so that we can get energised to get back to the next day. 

8) Sleep Early

Just like on a regular weekday, make sure you keep your time in check. It may be tempting to Netflix Party with your friends until the wee hours of the morning or have a few drinks, but make sure you set your limit so you can still get back to your regular work schedule the next day. 


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