6 Useful Ways to Stay Productive while Working from Home

Although there has been a recent surge in startups working from coworking spaces such as WeWork, many startups, and small businesses still choose to work at home.

Here are some useful tips on how to stay productive while in the comfort of your own house or flat.

1. Establish a workspace

It’s important that you have a place where you can go every day that is devoted to your business. If you have a small office space, great! If not, designate a table or desk as your workstation. Once you have determined your workspace, make it professional. Purchase a couple of pens and a few pads of paper. Also, have a printer nearby for all of your printing needs. In addition, make sure your office space is well-lit. Natural light is always a plus, but if that’s not feasible, purchase a desk lamp at your local office supply store. This will help keep you awake and focused. To top it all off, throw in a picture of the girlfriend or boyfriend, spouse, kids, parents, your pet goldfish, Gary, whatever you want! This will help enforce the idea that you’re at work, not at home.

  • Establish a particular area as your workspace
  • Ensure you have everything you need: pens, paper, etc
  • Try and get natural light, if you can't, look at getting a SAD lamp

2. Up & At ‘Em: Time to Shower & Change

Whatever time you choose to start your day, make sure that once your alarm goes off, you get up and get going. The worst thing you can do is press snooze. This will only delay your productivity. Once you’re out of bed, jump in the shower to help wake your body up. After, make sure to change into anything but your pajamas. Some people suggest changing into something business casual or business professional to help reinforce the idea that you’re going to work. But if you’re more comfortable in jeans and a hoodie, go for it! Whatever you wear, make sure it doesn’t make you want to crawl back into bed or jump on the couch to watch TV.

  • Get up ASAP, hold yourself accountable
  • Prepare yourself for the day
  • Perhaps change into business clothes

3. Stick to a Schedule & Reduce Distractions

Now that you’re up and ready to go and have a designated office space, determine set times for working. Having an established work schedule will help reinforce the idea that you’re not relaxing at home, but instead handling business. During these time blocks, it’s important you refrain from checking Facebook or Buzzfeed. Don’t have the willpower? No worries, there are apps out there that can restrict the amount of time you spend on time-wasting websites. StayFocused, for example, is a free Google plugin that enables you to set a specific amount of time you can visit the sites you specify. Once your allotted time has been used up, the sites you’ve blocked will be inaccessible for the rest of the day! Sounds harsh, but it’s effective.

  • Dedicate particular times to working
  • Use apps and willpower to minimise distractions

4. Don’t Procrastinate, Stay on Task!

It’s essential that once your work day starts, you get to it! Don’t procrastinate. To help stay on task, create a to-do list. Either do it the old fashion way with a pen and a pad of paper (both of which are conveniently located at your desk!) or with an online/computer application. At Shoprocket, we like to use Trello. With this template, you can create different tabs for your variety of tasks. We use three in particular: To Do, In Progress, and Complete. You can then select for each task the due date as well as specify the cost, time commitment, etc. in the description section. In addition, Apple’s Notes and Calendar applications are also useful along with Google Calendar.

  • Create a to-do list

5. Be available

If you’re more than a one-man team, it’s essential that you keep constant communication. Not only does it ensure productivity, but it also creates a supportive work environment by letting your team know you’re available. At Shoprocket, we utilize Slack. With this application, you can create different channels specific to departments or topics. For example, we have a marketing channel, tech channel, and a general channel. Furthermore, you can communicate with everyone within the channel or send a direct message. We also utilize Skype and Google Hangout for meetings and updates. Maintaining strong communication will ensure you stay on top of you team and your business.

  • Utilise software such as Slack and Google Hangouts to ensure efficient communication

6. Make Time for You Time

Finally, make sure you put aside free time for yourself: time to relax, breathe, and scroll through Facebook and Twitter. It’s important that you take at least an hour of your work day to get away from your desk. Your lunch break is the perfect opportunity. Either move to your kitchen, get outside, or take a trip to a local restaurant and grab something to eat!

  • Take time to relax

Hopefully, you found these tips helpful and feel more prepared now to be productive at home.

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