If you’re working from home, you’ve either created an official home office or you’re doing your work from the couch or kitchen table. Clearly, having a dedicated home office is the better choice because it provides a little distance from distractions and becomes known to you as a place to come and get things done.
The couch is a place to relax. The table is a place to eat. If you’re trying to do your work in places meant for other activities, there’s no wonder you’re having trouble with productivity.
Answer the questions below to find out if your home office is optimized for productivity.
Is your home office optimized for productivity?
- Do you work from a dedicated home office or work space, or a shared area of the home?
- Do you schedule your day – work, breaks, etc.?
- Are there rules in place for keeping your work space undisturbed?
- Do you work from your dedicated work space at least 80% of the time?
- Have you taken any additional measures like room dividers, noise-cancelling headphones, etc.?
If you answered yes to most of the questions above, you’ve set up your home office or work space in a way that will help you be more productive and motivated to get things done.
If you answered no to most of the questions above, you may be taking a comparatively lax approach to your work and might want to consider adding some regimen and regulation to your day.
How to create a productive home office
Using the questions above as a guide, here are several ways you can make sure your home office or work space is optimized for productivity and a better place to get things done without distraction.
Create a dedicated space that isn’t used for anything else
Your work space shouldn’t be the playroom/guest bedroom. Unless it’s being used less than once a week, you shouldn’t put your work space or office in a shared space that will be used for something else. You want to make sure it’s always open and available for you to use, and you want to mentally associate that space with work and not play or relaxation.
Make a daily general schedule and stick to it
You don’t have to schedule the exact times you’ll work on different tasks, but you can set up a schedule that determines how much time you’ll spend on each type of task each day to make sure you don’t fall behind unintentionally. Making a schedule is easy, but sticking to one is harder. Set reminders on your phone at first to help you get in the habit of your new daily schedule.
Set up household rules – no disturbing you during work or playing in the office, etc.
Being available to your family as a spouse and parent is important, but during work hours, it’s important to be able to delineate where family and work are separate. Unless there’s an emergency, you should set a standard of your office being off-limits when you’re working. This will help you concentrate better and get work done more accurately and quickly.
Work consistently from your dedicated work space
If you set up a great home office or work space but don’t actually do much work from it, you’re not getting the productivity benefits of working from home. Don’t choose the couch or kitchen table over your dedicated office space simply because of old habits or the comfort level. Instead, make your own office more comfortable or give it touches that you enjoy in the rooms you tend to work from.
Go the extra mile to further improve your office
Noise-cancelling headphones, a well-placed room divider, comfortable chairs to sit in, organized places for papers and files – these things can all work to improve the conditions of working from your office, which makes you more likely to choose to work there. You’ll get more done when you’re comfortable and free from distractions. Think of it as spoiling yourself while you work so you can do the best job possible.
These are just a few ways to get started in making sure your home office is optimized for productivity. Anything that will help you stay away from distractions, feel comfortable, or get in the zone for getting things done could help you make your office a place you associate with productivity. Do you have any home office tips to share?