How to Have a Productive Home Office

Productivity is all about working smarter, not harder. Or at least it should be. And with more and more of us looking like home is going to be the new office for a while yet, adapting to our new lives doesn’t mean giving up our old one. We just need to find that balance.

Workplace productivity is one thing, but having the ability to work more efficiently without giving up on your private life is something else entirely. We’re here to see how they don’t need to be mutually exclusive and you can live in harmony with your new home office.

Home First, Office Second

It’s easy to say for some of us whom have a second bedroom or dedicated space, but you may not always have that luxury. Just remember that this is your home, and that needs to remain your priority. Now look to include an office without jeopardising what you had.

Having a dedicated space is crucial. It will allow you to walk away at the end of your shift and switch off when you take a break. That means no computers on your dining table if you can avoid it. You’ll never be free and if you don’t have time to replenish your mental stocks, you won’t be a productive cog in the wheel. 

Moving some furniture to create even a small corner space for a cheap, home-depot desk is ideal. And it doesn’t need to be big. Privacy screens are cheap and can really help to create a feeling of space. Likewise, mirrors to make a small space seem bigger. Be creative.

Set Some Rules

Again, working from home may be fine for just you, but partners, kids, flatmates and even pets may not be on the same page. Now that you have a dedicated space, make some dedicated time. Ensure everyone around you knows your schedule and they stick to it. If you don’t set the boundaries, how can you expect anyone to follow them.

When you’re on the clock, focus as much as you can on the work at hand. It could easily be the difference between a smooth 8-hour day and a stop-start 10 hours, that gets less achieved. And try to recreate the normal office day by moving away from your desk for morning coffee and going out of the room for lunch. It will help with your routine, and routines are productive!

Avoid Distractions

The hardest nut to crack but also the most important. Whilst your office has been designed to be productive, sometimes your home is like the anti-christ of all things constructive. Make sure your home stuff is left for after hours so you have more time at the end of the day to do it.

If you don’t live alone, start off with some headphones to filter out the commotion. Keep your alarm set at the usual time and use those precious minutes to devoid your house of clutter. Without the commute, use the time you would normally leave to clear away dishes, sweep the floor, fluff the pillows. It will create a feeling of calm and is better than logging in early to read up on your emails.

Prioritise Your Day

It’s unique for everyone but spending some time to find out how you can perform at your best will save you time in the future. Whether it’s getting all the shorter tasks completed early so you feel like you’re on a roll or knocking off the hardest task first to help relish the pressure, you decide.

There’s no golden rule, except to invest time discovering what works best for you. If a to-do list creates more anxiety as you now visualise your workload, change it to a task completed list. If you’re more focused for smaller intervals, set a five-minute timer to control more breaks during the day. And if you find yourself constantly answering emails, try to only answer them at certain times of the day. If some people can wait, let them wait.

Remember; a healthy mind is a productive one. Cut yourself some slack and remind yourself that these aren’t normal times and you aren’t a robot. You’re doing the best you can and under these circumstances, that’s more than enough.