How to Stay Productive While Working from Home

Working from home gives us more flexibility and freedom in our day-to-day lives, but it also comes with its own challenges. Without the structure of a 9-to-5, and with distractions lurking everywhere (looking at you, Netflix), it’s easy to fall into some seriously unproductive habits.

…like searching How to stay productive instead of focusing on the task at hand. Sorry to call you out here, but don’t worry — you’ve come to the right place!

At Proofread Anywhere, we know making the jump to remote work can be an adjustment, especially if you lead a busy home life and are struggling to separate your “work” space from your “living” space. 

To help you achieve a better work-life balance, here are some insider tips for ramping up your productivity while working from home. 

How to Increase Productivity

How to increase productivity

Increasing your productivity isn’t just about setting Do Not Disturb mode on  your environment, habits, and daily routine can all help your productivity flourish (or hinder it).

Tip #1 Create a Dedicated Workspace

Set up your workspace in a quiet area of your home, ideally where sunlight naturally floods through. You should also invest in some ergonomic office supplies, including a chair that’ll support your posture and keep back aches at bay. 

Sure, there’s something enticing about staying snug in your pajamas and taking your work calls from the comfort of your bed, but merging your workspace with your sleeping space isn’t conducive to your long-term productivity. 

Without a dedicated workspace, it’s increasingly more difficult to separate your personal life from your work life (and resist all the homey temptations around you, including that snooze button). 

A dedicated workspace helps you get into the right mindset for work and ensures you can easily hit the mental off-switch, taking your hard-earned siesta. 

Tip #2 Fuel Your Brain with Healthy Foods

Healthy foods can truly nourish your brain, giving you all the energy you need to power through your work and meet those tight deadlines.

Nuts like walnuts, cashews, and macadamia, and fish such as salmon, cod, and tuna are rich in omega-3 fatty acids, which may help improve your concentration and memory. Other nutrient-rich foods to complement your diet include leafy greens, eggs, blueberries, and tomatoes. 

Caffeinated drinks like coffee and green tea can also help give you a burst of energy and keep your mind sharp. However, try not to rely too much on caffeine. Consuming anything in excess–especially too much caffeine–can leave you tired and irritated, tanking your productivity. 

Tip #3 Keep a Consistent Sleep Schedule

Go to bed and wake up on a regular schedule to keep your body clock in sync, and aim to get 7–9 hours of sleep each day. You should also ditch the caffeine in the evening, stop scrolling before bed, and filter out any disturbances with earplugs and blackout curtains. 

Studies show that a consistent sleep schedule can enhance your focus, improve your memory, and reduce stress — assets to seriously boost your productivity.

On particularly stressful days, take the time to practice some mindfulness and engage in calming activities, such as meditation or yoga.

Tip #4 Make Exercise Part of Your Daily Routine

You don’t need to spend hours in the gym every day sweating up a storm, but you should spend at least 20 minutes engaging in some form of physical activity daily. Take a brisk walk around the block, a quick dance session, or even some on-the-spot jogging

Regular exercise gives you more energy, which can help you feel rejuvenated and boost your mental alertness. 

How to Be Productive at Work

How to be productive at work

The tips above can help you stay productive in all areas of your life — now, we’ll share some techniques specifically tailored to maximize your productivity while working from home!

Break Down Large Tasks 

When you look at a large, challenging task in its entirety, it’s easy to become discouraged before you even make the first step. The end is just so far away, that the goal seems impossible — it’s the equivalent of climbing a mountain with no peak in sight!

Rather than focusing on the end goal, you can combat these overwhelming feelings by breaking down the task into smaller, more manageable ones. You’ll find it much easier to visualize each step (and see that peak!), and it’ll also give you a clear, achievable starting point. 

Reward Yourself

Don’t forget to reward yourself after every work task you complete. As remote workers, we don’t have colleagues around us to praise us for all our efforts! Rewarding yourself regularly gives you a strong sense of accomplishment and helps motivate you to keep up the good work. 

Try Time Management Methods

Time management methods are a great way to maximize your productivity and keep you on top of deadlines. They give you a clear schedule, ensure you prioritize daily tasks effectively, and help you stay focused.

There are several different time management techniques you can use to organize your WFH day, and each is better suited to a different need. 

Here are some all-time favorite time management methods at Proofread Anywhere:

Task Blocking

Schedule everything in advance and organize your day in time blocks of like-tasks (such as meetings, follow-up communication, and project time). Task blocking gives you a better sense of the time spent on task types, highlighting where you’re wasting hours on non-essential tasks.

Time Boxing

Similar to task blocking, however, you instead assign each work task and break period a specific time slot on your calendar. You schedule this in advance the day before. This strategy gives you full control over the day. Our project manager at Proofread Anywhere personally swears by time-boxing the night before — it reminds her to take her well-earned breaks the next day!

Day Theming

Dedicate a whole day to a particular task or personal goal, such as pitching to prospective clients. Perfect for those who struggle with multi-tasking. 

We recommend trying a few different methods to find out which strategy works best for you! 

Use a Productivity Timer

A productivity timer encourages you to focus solely on the task at hand for a set amount of time — usually 30 minutes to an hour — and then take a brief break before moving on to the next task. Repeat this strategy until you’ve finished the task.

We totally get it — regular breaks seem counter-productive. Many of our team members had this exact mentality when they began their freelance careers! But speaking from experience, regular breaks contribute to focus, give your brain enough time to recharge, and ensure you’re never overexerting yourself. 

There are various timer methods you can try, including Pomodoro, Flowtime, and Eat the Frog. We cover these in detail in our new mini-course, “Productivity Pathway” (more on this later!). 

Get an Accountability Buddy 

Working from home has many perks, but it can feel isolating at times without colleagues to boost your morale and push you to keep going. If you think your productivity would benefit from having someone around, consider reaching out to an accountability buddy. 

Accountability buddies can be anyone who helps you stay on track to meet your work goals. They check in on your progress, challenge you to push yourself further, and hold you accountable if you start missing your set goals due to bad habits.

Anyone can do — a friend, family member, or former colleague. You just need to reach out and ask for their support — we’re sure the person you choose would be happy to help and may even appreciate you being their accountability buddy too! You don’t need to meet your accountability in person. You can have video calls through software like Zoom or Skype instead. 

Invest in Productivity-Enhancing Tools

There are plenty of online tools that can help maintain a sustainable workflow, and many are completely free to use. Combining productivity-enhancing tools with your proactive efforts can help you unleash your full potential while working from home.

Some of the best tools for remote workers include Timely, ClickUp, and ProWritingAid. There are even AI-powered tools that can automate your repetitive tasks, allowing you to save your energy for more mentally demanding work.

For more helpful freelance tips and productivity tool recommendations, check out our freelancer resources and sign up for our Work-From-Anywhere newsletter

Understanding Toxic Productivity 

Understanding toxic productivity

Improving your productivity is a fantastic goal to set, but it’s important not to get overwhelmed. Trying to be too productive and “do it all” can backfire, potentially leading to something known as toxic productivity.  

Toxic productivity is when you push yourself to the extreme to attain your (unrealistic) personal goals, often at the expense of other facets of your life. For example, you may turn down meetups with your friends in favor of taking on more work, causing you to neglect your social life and become isolated. Sometimes, you may feel guilty if you take time to practice self-care. 

This unhealthy mentality isn’t sustainable, and in the long term, it can be detrimental to your emotional well-being and lead to burnout, chronic stress, and depression.

Be realistic with your goals and always prioritize your mental health! A healthy work-life balance ensures you won’t burn out and will always feel refreshed, increasing your productivity in the long run.

Our Best Productivity Course

The Best productivity course

At Proofread Anywhere, we understand from first-hand experience just how difficult it can be to maintain a healthy work-life balance. However, you don’t have to navigate this transition alone — a dedicated productivity course can teach you all the tools, skills, and strategies you need to maintain a sustainable workflow. 

While there are plenty of great productivity programs online, our course “Productivity Pathway” is specifically tailored to remote workers. 

Productivity Pathway consists of 8 core lessons and an in-depth course book. You’ll learn all you need to know to enhance your productivity while working from home, from finding the right work-life balance to effectively incorporating time management techniques into your daily work routine. The course also includes “insider” productivity tips from veteran freelancers who were once in your very position!

For $247 you’ll receive unlimited access, including access to any future updates. The course also comes with a 14-day worry-free guarantee, meaning if you’re not fully satisfied with your investment you can receive a full refund within 14 days of your purchase.

Sign up for Productivity Pathway and start learning how to manage your schedule with ease!

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