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6 Ways To Stay Productive When You Work From Home

b_dmarius profile image Marius Borcan Originally published at programmerbackpack.com ・5 min read

This article was originally published at https://programmerbackpack.com.

Thank you so much for reading this article! Interested in more? Follow me on Twitter at @b_dmarius and I'll post there every new article.

Working from home or working remotely is an option that more and more people chase because it offers us comfort and it wins us lots and lots of time due to the fact that we don't have to commute(and don't tell me you don't hate commuting, I won't believe you).

But even so, have you ever felt that you are not as productive at home as you are when you're in the office? Is it a matter of too much comfort? Or do we get distracted? Maybe it's harder to stay connected to your colleagues when you're not in the office. If you're in this case or if you just want to improve your work from home routine, then here's 6 ways to stay productive when you work from home.

Choose your best setup

When you work from home it's best if you can find yourself a comfortable place to work. I don't recommend that you work from your bed, as it is bad for your health and can make you feel and be less productive, but if that's what you prefer, then you're free to do it.

Personally I enjoy working on a small table I have in my dining room. I prefer having a desk that's not too cluttered since having a workspace that's not organised steals my concentration away from me. Are you getting tired of sitting on a chair? Then I recommended jumping on your sofa for an hour and then come back to your desk. The change of scenery and a little bit more comfort can make your work from home day more enjoyable and productive.

Do you have a balcony or a terrace and the weather happens to be nice today? Then as long as you have a fully charged battery on your laptop, I don't see why you can't get outside for a bit. I personally really really like working on my balcony when the weather is nice.

Choose a playlist

If you're like me, then you enjoy working while listening to music. I like to listen soundtracks which I've listened many times before(so that I don't get distracted by the lyrics) or movie sountracks(because most of them, again, don't have lyrics). I listen to music in short bursts of highly productive work sessions because after a while I get tired or my ears start to hurt.

But I get more done in one hour of listening to music than maybe 3 hours of working without music. It helps me stay focused and don't fall into distractions, especially because I have an undisciplined mind that likes to carry me away and make me lose focus.

Find your favourite playlist and listen to it for a short period of time. Take a break and then do it again. You'll feel more energized and more productive.

Stay focused

It's usually easier to get distracted while working from home than while working in the office. In the office everybody is at their desk and doing their job, while when you're at home is just you.

And imagine, it's your home, you're surrounded by all your favorite distractions. It's very easy to worry less about your job and more about your game console or about your pet or about that new Netflix special.

My advice is disconnect from anything that is not absolutely necessary. Ideally, you only have your laptop near you. TV shut down, your phone on silent mode unless you really need it not to be. You should treat a work from home day just like any regular work from office day.

Thinking about taking a break? I absolutely recommend breaks, but take them responsibly and just like you would take them in the office. If you think that your colleagues need you anytime soon, stay around your laptop and/or your phone and be available.

Stay connected

Talking about be available, you should always be available to your colleagues or to your bosses when working from home. Working from home has only recently been accepted in most of the big companies around the world and it's only because these companies have seen that employees usually stay at least as productive as while working from the office, if not even more.

So it's important for us that we prove that we can stay productive while working from home and that we take our assignments and responsibilities seriously. Therefore, stay connected by all means of communication that your team uses, be active on all channels. These way, your employer will trust you and allow you to work from home even more in the future.

Dress up

One way to get you in the mood for working is to get dressed up like you do when going to the office. Especially if it's a day when you know you're going to get in a lot of calls with colleagues, clients or bosses, you should be respectful. So don't show up in that ugly hoodie that we all have in our closet, it's not nice.

Moreover, getting dressed for office even if you work from home allows you to stay focused. For me, personally, it gets me in work mode and allows me to be more productive.

Do take breaks

During my first days of working from home, I was usually tempted to work even a lot harder than in the office. Taking breaks made me feel guilty because laying on the couch for 2 minutes felt like I was cheating on my colleagues and my company. Moreover, I used to put in a lot more work hours while working from home, especially because during my first days at home I felt more energized and motivated.

But that should not usually be the case. I get you, if you're on a tight deadline of if something urgent needs to be fixed, then do your best. But don't forget to take a break and most important to stand up. When we're in office, we stand up when we take a break, but when we're at home, we just stay in bed, which is worse for our health. Stand up, do some physical exercises. It's healthy and will make you feel more energized.

Moreover, at the end of the day you should not neglect your other responsibilities. Do you feel like you've acomplished everything you had for today? Then log out, shut down your laptop then do your other stuff. Go out, do your chores or whatever you feel like doing. Working from home does not mean we should be online for 24h.

Thank you so much for reading this article! Interested in more? Follow me on Twitter at @b_dmarius and I'll post there every new article.

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Marius Borcan

@b_dmarius

Passionate software engineer since ever. Blogging at https://programmerbackpack.com/

Discussion

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Thank you for these tips, Marius!
I was wondering, what kind of apps or softwares do you use to stay connected?
My company uses Slack and Quire to keep track of our projects and also communicate with each other. I find them very useful, because they have a lot of features that can remind me to do different things on time. I know quite a lot of people use other apps such as Trello and Asana. Which software do you prefer?