How to be productive when you’re working from home

23 March 2020 | 5min read

If you haven’t lived in a closet for the past month or so, you’ve probably heard of the COVID-19 virus. Many people are working from home right now to prevent the virus from spreading even faster.

Here’s how to stay productive during the day: 

  • Make a to-do list
  • Schedule your day
  • Separate your work space
  • Eat healthy
  • Exercise
  • Stand, if you can
  • Talk to your family or roommates
  • Don’t start your work day in your PJs

Make a to-do list

There are probably a lot of things you need to do. Update your to-do list every evening or morning with all your tasks. It only takes 5 minutes and will help you stay organized while prioritizing the things that are important. Tasks never seem quite as overwhelming when they are written down.

Some tools that you can use are Google tasks, Todoist or simply pen and paper.

Schedule your day

When you’re not in an office with your colleagues, no one knows when you’re available and when you aren’t. Make sure people have access to your agenda. Do them a favor by showing them the time when you’re available. 

Separate your work space

Not everyone has a private office at home, but it is never a good idea to work where you eat, sleep and chill. Separate the space in which you work from the other rooms or spaces where you live, if possible. Even if your house does not have a different room for this, it’s always possible to have a dedicated work chair or table. 

Only work when you’re in that work space and don’t work when you’re not there. Otherwise, you’ll find your whole house becomes your office and you’ll never have a moment of free time again.

Eat healthy

When we work from home, we have full access to the kitchen. So when it’s time for lunch or a snack, we are immediately drawn to the usual snacks such as chips or cookies.

If we are used to work in an office, we are happy with whatever is available in the cafeteria or lunch we brought from home.

Research shows that eating fruits and vegetables can boost your overall productivity level. You can also prevent to buy unhealthy snacks altogether.

Reward yourself with a sweet snack on Friday after a productive week.

Exercise

Our bodies are built to move. Working behind a computer keeps us sedentary, even if we’re standing. Remember to do something active every single day, even if it’s just a walk around the block or a quick workout at home.

Stand, if you can

Sitting all day is not good for you. If you can, invest in a standing desk and use it for a few hours a day, you’d be happy if you did. Another possibility is to use a notification to remind you when it’s time to stand up.

Talk to your family or roommates

People you live with understand that you’re actually working when you’re “working at home”, but they will constantly forget this fact because… you’re right there.

Try not to get mad at them when they  interrupt you. Instead, try to create a signal that you’re working and prefer not to be disturbed.

Wearing headphones is an obvious visual signal that you prefer to be left alone.

Whatever you settle on as your signal of choice, have a conversation with your family or house-mates about this. Don’t assume they’ll figure it out on their own.

Don’t start your work day in your PJs

Working in you PJs is one of the reasons why people love working from home. If you enjoy this, it’s killing your productivity. “Dress for success”, isn’t just a corporate catchphrase, it really matters when you work from home.

Also, you’ll be ready to handle any kind of video chat. You’ll be prepared to get work done, and you will mentally and physically be prepared for the day.

So even if you don’t leave the house, dress for work as if you were in the office.