This past year we’ve had to rethink everything from how we do groceries to where we do business. For many of us, that meant we were ditching the commute and setting up offices in our home.
But working from home can also mean more distractions and less productivity.
The following tips to keep you organized will help increase your focus and your productivity if you find yourself working from home. For some of you, these tips will be a reminder and, for others, a checklist.
Organizing your workspace for productivity
- Find an area with a door to keep your family life separate from your work life. This boundary is essential for your mental well-being because you want to be able to “shut off” and put work aside when you close the door to your home office and focus on being present with your family. And vice versa. You want to be able to focus on work without the distractions from your family. For some, however, this may not be possible. If you need to set up your workspace at the kitchen table, make sure to pick a corner or an area of the table where you don’t eat. Use the same spot every day; this will become your designated workspace. Leaving this space should work the same as closing the door to your office.
- Find a place for everything you need (pens, paper, books, laptop) and make sure they are close by. It’s not productive when you have to walk to the other side of the room to grab a pen or a book you use daily.
- Create a labelling system for binders etc., so they’re easy to locate among other binders. You can also use these containers to store books, binders, files etc.
- If you’re using paper, create a filing system in your home.
- Manage clutter- Create a habit of clearing off your desk daily and putting things back where they belong. This daily routine will not only keep your office organized and clutter-free but will boost productivity.
When setting up our workspace, we often overlook how we organize files and folders on our computer. Below are some tips for a more productive way to organize your computer.
- Use bookmarks for commonly used websites (pin them to your bookmark bar if you’re using them daily)
- Use the PIN option for important folders you regularly use so you can access computer files quickly
- Turn off notifications so you don’t become distracted.
- Sign out of all social media to keep you from being distracted and productive.
Organizing your time for productivity
Set your hours:
- If you are able to pick your work hours, pick the hours that you will be the most productive with the least amount of interuptions.
- Don’t forget to schedule breaks into your schedule.
- Wake up early enough to complete your morning routine. Creating a morning routine for yourself sets the tone for the day and is meant to put you in the right headspace and build momentum.
Set and track hours:
- Time yourself doing tasks that you do frequently. That way you will know exactly how long the tasks take. Schedule them in your calendar and give yourself extra buffer time because sometimes things come up and it may take a bit longer.
- Focus 100% when working on a task. You will get a lot more done when you are concentrating 100%. I realize that it is not always possible when working from home but if you find that you are getting distracted, write down what is distracting you and find a solution on how to limit those distractions.
Make a list of things that need to get done
- Use a planner or a calendar to plan out your workdays, so you have a plan of action.
- Strive to complete three items on that list (Remember to break up larger projects over days, so they’re not so daunting)
- Figure out when you are most productive. Some people are more productive in the mornings and others more productive in the afternoon. Schedule your work accordingly.
- Ensure one of the first things you do is “eat the frog” (complete the task that you dread doing first and get it over with- this lessens procrastination.)
- Limit multi-tasking- there is a lot of science surrounding multi-tasking and that the brain functions best on one thing at a time.
Create rules for the workspace- if you’re working and there is someone else in the home, let them know what you need to stay productive and not get distracted. An example: nobody bothers you from 8 am until noon unless it is an emergency.
There are so many things you can organize the night before to make the following day more productive.
- Cook more at dinner, so you have extra for lunch the next day, or prepare your lunch the night before.
- Layout clothes for the next day (this can be your work clothes and your workout clothes).
- Is the evening the best time for you to schedule your next day’s tasks? If so, make sure you do so before going to bed.
- Write down anything you need to do so it is not sitting in your brain while you’re trying to sleep. Do a brain dump.
I hope that these working from home tips help keep you organized and productive. Let us know any tips you may have in the comments below.