(This post was originally shared on my general interest blog, maclaine.ca)
My last traditional office job ended in the summer of 2013. Since then, I’ve been working from home. Here are the things I’ve learned that keep me productive.
Absorb Natural Light: Position your desk or work station by a window, the bigger the better. Avoid basements or poorly lit rooms. Being able to look out a window and see daylight will help boost your energy levels. This is especially important during the winter months.
Avoid Clutter: Keep your desk clear. Get rid of extra papers, files, knick-knacks and other distractions. Stick to the bare essentials: Laptop, Mouse, Notebook, Speaker, coffee or glass of water. Nothing more. A clear desk = a clear mind.
Set A Routine: Try to get some repetition going in your days. If you have tasks that are required on a daily basis, consider pencilling those in as your morning work to-dos. Even if they are quick, easy to complete tasks, getting through them to start your day helps you to build momentum for the rest of the day’s duties while giving you a sense of accomplishment for promptly getting these daily tasks out of the way.
Break Up Your Day With Exercise: If you have a bit of flexibility and don’t need do be on call at your desk for the full 9 to 5, consider a midday workout. Often times, I like to do some work in the morning, pause for lunch and then head to the gym for a workout in the early afternoon. I then get back to work afterwards.
Change Your Location When Necessary: There are some days where your energy and concentration levels aren’t where they need to be. These are the days where it’s good to leave your home. The change of environment helps boost productivity, as you are heading out with a “I’m going to work” mindset. If you are lucky enough to have a back yard or a large balcony, that can sometimes be enough of a change in environment to get you back on track. I most often elect to visit a coffee shop or a library. There are some terrific libraries around the world that offer wonderful amenities for the remote worker.
Embrace Flexibility: If you are lucky enough to have some flexibility in your schedule, try working at unorthodox hours. I have found some of my most productive work is completed in the evening hours between 6-10PM. I’ve been able to salvage many days were I felt sluggish during the traditional working hours, only to then catch a rush of productivity in the evening.
These six tips have helped me stay productive and disciplined, wherever my home has happened to be. Hopefully this list can be of use to you.