Every week, we answer a common question about marketing or an aspect of business. This week, our question comes from a fan who entered our giveaway for an Amazon Firestick and Echo Dot bundle. Today, we are going to be answering a different type of question: “how do I stay productive while working from home?”

We’re all thinking it: 2020 has been QUITE the year. This whole post could, in fact, be dedicated to the craziness of this year’s events. But one common factor that we all share, at least in some small way, is that we’ve been stuck at home for at least some of it.

For some people, this is a blessing! For others, it’s a tough adjustment that has taken a lot of getting used to. The shift from working in an office to your living room is a big one. With a few tips and tricks, you will be well on your way to making the most of your time spent at home.

I’ve Been Working from Home for a While, But Not Everyone Can Say That

Before I delve into tips and tricks, let me explain my background a bit. Long before the pandemic, I switched all of my college courses to be online. At the time, this adjustment from being in a class to having to manage ALL of my time was really tricky.

Fast forward a few years, and COVID-19 hits. Now almost anyone who can work from home is. My first thought was welcome to the club! Now everyone is going to be working from home, and it’s going to be great! It didn’t exactly turn out that way.

As lovely as that would have been, this adjustment has been incredibly challenging for so many people. Through there is a stark difference between college and working in a professional setting, the key takeaways of effectively managing your time are pretty consistent. So, let’s jump into how you can maximize your time working from home. 

Basic Guidelines on Working from Home

Designate a work area, and try to the best of your ability to work there. When you’re done, leave the work there when you finish for the day. The balance between personal life and work has never been harder to maintain. This will help you draw the line.

It’s also good for your focus, too. With kids, significant others, roommates, and pets, there is a list of distractions a mile long. By designating an “office area” at home – whether that be a section of a table, a specific seat on the couch, the desk that nobody has used in 4 years – it will make “going to work” a little bit easier. I find that having a place that you can call your “office” at home lets you get into the work zone far better than just laying in bed or on the couch trying to tackle your tasks. 

Make a schedule, and to the best of your ability, stick to it! And yes, I know that following a schedule isn’t everyone’s cup of tea. But it’s crucial when working from home.

I personally love to plan, and it is one of the main reasons I think I have been able to work from home for now 3 years and not completely lose my mind. The importance of making and following a schedule can drastically improve your day to day efficiency. Skilledatlife.com says, “when we have a routine that we follow daily, it reduces the need to make decisions each day. It enables us to know exactly what tasks we need to do each day without having to contemplate, decide, or think too much. When we are finished with one task, we know what comes next without much thought. Activities become standardized and we become more efficient as a result.”

Actions You Can Take

I will say that there are so many ways to successfully balance home and work life. For me, music serves as an escape. I listen to music almost every hour that I am working. Business Insider states, “Listening to music at work can make you more productive, according to research. Listening to your favorite music in the workplace can be a mood enhancer. The consequent positive state of mind can improve your capacity for creative problem-solving and increase your productivity levels.”

If the thought of having yet another noise going while you are trying to work send you into a tailspin, then maybe consider investing in a pair of noise-canceling headphones. I personally did this about seven months ago, and to this day I believe it is one of the best purchases I have ever made. Here is a list of some of the most popular ones out there today if you are curious!

Work in relatively short, productive bursts. I find that for me, after about five or so hours of working on something, I start to become mentally fried. One thing I have started to implement alongside planning my days, is limiting work sessions to four hours at most before I take a short break.

Separating yourself from your work when you work from home is arguably the toughest thing to do. By focusing on keeping your work sessions at your own peak productivity, you will maximize your output in the long run. Everyone’s different when it comes to how long they want to work or can work while maintaining a productive pace. Learn what that is for you, and try to implement it into your at work-from-home life!

Final Thoughts

For many of you, working from home is a temporary fix, and the day will come that you can resume working in an office. That time sadly isn’t now, and I personally do not know when it will resume. Try to stay optimistic, and make the most of this time. Use this time to challenge yourself in ways that you haven’t before. Work on setting a schedule, making a plan, sticking to it.

I promise that if you can effectively work from home, it will help your productivity so much when you head back to the office!