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10 Ways to Stay Productive When You Work From Home

Many of us are spending a lot more time at home right now. Including the workdays. When we’d usually be reporting to our desks, we’re finding ourselves on our couches or at our kitchen tables, trying to complete to-do lists without the built-in discipline of the office.

The expectations are the same, but the environment is not. And it’s not always an easy transition.

The key to work-from-home success is to create an environment that allows you to focus on the tasks at hand. Whether you are working from home for the first time or just need a quick refresher, here are some tips for creating a functional but productive work area at home:

Create a workspace

Make sure your partner, roommate, children and even your dog know that your workspace is sacred and that, in the same way they wouldn’t turn up at your office because they’re bored and want a chat, they shouldn’t interrupt you in that space while you work either.

Keep to a schedule

Although one big benefit of working from home is flexibility, it’s still important to follow some kind of routine. Otherwise, free time mixes with work time and it becomes impossible to tell one from the other, leaving you unable to really enjoy either.


Whether you work in a home office, kitchen or living room, if there’s “stuff” around that reminds you of your household chores, your eyes will go there and you’ll get distracted. Whenever you work from home, claim a clutter-free zone. This will help you stay focused on your workload and remain more aligned with an in-office experience.

Get ready for the day

Many people think working from home means sitting around in pajamas with the television on in the background. Not true! Just like in an office setting, you have to set yourself up for success when working from home. Get ready as you would if you were going into the office. Set a morning ritual of getting dressed (no loungewear!), making your morning cup of coffee and doing whatever else you need to get in the right mindset.

Make a to-do list

If you’re feeling overly anxious about a big project at work or looming deadline I recommend making your  to-do list the night before. This will help you feel like you’re getting a jump start on the day.


Avoid distractions

The temptation to spend more time than necessary checking out social networks, reading interesting Wikipedia entries or watching the latest videos from your favorite YouTuber is greater when you know your boss won’t sneak up behind on you. Working from home requires a lot of self-control in this regard.

Get out
While working from your sofa can be great most of the time, sometimes you need to break up the day. Take a 10-minute walk around the block to freshen up and to encourage the flow of new ideas.

Get as much done as early in the day as you can

It’s a ripple effect! I’ve noticed that when I do get up and get rolling on my to-do list for the day I already feel so accomplished by nine or ten in the morning that I feel confident about the rest of the day. Start your day with a bang and that momentum will keep you rolling. Then you have the evening hours to relax and unwind.

Tackle that really tough to-do first

Once it’s done it’s done! I find that I’ll often leave a really tough or bummer to-do at the bottom of my list for days and days longer than it should have been there. And it’s just looming over me the whole time. Just do it. You’ll feel better. And then you’ll only have the easy stuff left to do.

Showcase your success

This is motivation fuel for the future. It’s ok to feel super pumped and proud when you complete a tough goal or finish a super long to-do list. Tell your significant other. Instagram that finished project. Celebrate—you did it!

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