Freelancing and working from home are becoming more and more common, especially in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic. Many assume that working from home can only bring positive change. Who wouldn’t want to work on their own schedule, get up later, and avoid the heavy traffic of a commute? However, once people begin to work from home, they see that it’s a bit different than they thought it would be and that procrastination at work can easily take over.
It’s not that people lack enthusiasm or motivation. It’s simply that the pull of distractions is quite strong, and many aren’t prepared to face them immediately. They find themselves postponing tasks until they absolutely have to be done, hunting for snacks in the kitchen, dropping onto the couch “just for a second” to see what’s going on with their favorite TV show, etc. After just a few months, many feel that they are working all day and having almost less free time than before.
Fortunately, most of the major problems with productivity while working from home have to do with procrastination and distractions, which have some simple remedies if you’re willing to work on them. Here are some tips to help you stay on track and become more efficient.
1. Create a Home Office
Start by limiting the comforts of home by turning a spare room into a small office. If you don’t have one, don’t worry. Just use a corner of the living or bedroom that has enough light during the day. In case you are a night owl, make sure to have appropriate lighting so that you don’t fatigue your eyes.
Before heading into your home office for the day, imagine what you may need for the next couple of hours. For example, put a bottle of water and a small snack on the desk so you won’t have to get up when you get hungry. Also, make sure you have a charger for both your computer and cell phone so you won’t have to go searching for them later. These can all cause distractions that can set you on a path toward procrastination.
You can also take a look at these 20 Easy Home Office Organization Ideas to Boost Your Productivity.
2. Use Productivity Software Apps
Since most work done from home involves using a computer or other piece of technology, getting distracted by unrelated sites throughout the day can be a huge barrier to productivity. There are now several extensions and apps you can use to limit time spent on specific websites, so if you find you often get distracted by YouTube, for example, put a limit of 30 minutes to keep yourself focused.
Also, consider creating a user account on your computer that’s going to be used only for work and delegate a specific browser for when you’re working in order to see all job-related bookmarks and tabs.
If you still have trouble staying on track, try to use time-tracking tools, such as Toggl, Tick and RescueTime. Many of them will generate a report so that you can easily track your work and how you use your time. If these don’t work, take a look at this article to find some other time management tools that may work for you.
3. Prioritize Your Tasks
Prioritization is essential when fighting procrastination. Most freelance work won’t have deadlines, so staying on task can be even more difficult. Therefore, figuring out which things are most important throughout the day is key.
Prioritization looks different for everyone. It can include a board with notes and stickers, a timetable in Excel, or a list in one of the various productivity apps out there. Once you’re able to prioritize your tasks, you’ll see how effectively things get done.
4. Focus on the Rewards
Reward and punishment is an essential part of human psychology when it comes to motivation. Rewards play an important role in forming good habits. Different rewards will work for different people, so identifying what you want as a reward is the first step. Are you motivated by money? Recognition? Free time? Snacks? Write these down and assign a reward to each task.
As you can see, you are in charge! Going from working in an office to work from home is a big change, and adjusting won’t happen overnight. It’s important to get started with some of these tips to keep you on track, and after a bit of time, you’ll find that you’re able to be more productive throughout the day.
More Tips on Working From Home
- 10 Tips to Help You Be More Efficient Working From Home
- 5 Critical Elements of Successful Work-At-Home Productivity
- How To Work From Home Without Getting Distracted
Featured photo credit: Progressive Insurance via unsplash.com
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