5 Productivity Rules to Keep You Focused When Working From Home How to boost motivation and avoid burnout when you're in remote work mode.

By Mike Swigunski

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Working from home is a dream come true for anyone previously working a 9-5 office job with a long and strenuous commute. But with the great freedom that you receive from a remote job comes the challenge of keeping yourself motivated. Procrastination is a notorious problem that every remote worker will eventually experience. Here are some of the most impactful ways to stay productive while working from home.

Related: Should Remote Work Become the New Normal Post-Covid?

1. Create a "Workspace" or Home Office

One of the ways that you can help yourself be more productive is to have a sacred space that you solely use for work. The trick here is that it needs to be different from the area where you relax, unwind, rest, and so on. You don't even need to have a complete office full of all the latest bells and whistles. Just a space that you use every day for doing your work.

If you don't have space in your home to make an office for daily use, one thing you can do is go to the public library or a local coffee shop. If you do this daily, you will quickly get into the groove of handling your work productively. However, the main idea here is that you have a place where your body and mind will instantly connect with being productive and getting your work done. If you handle work in the same place that you sleep and rest, your body will get confused. This can also impact you on the other side, for example, if you are working from bed it will be more difficult to fall asleep quickly and stay sleeping. Have a clear division and stick to it!

2. Invest in technology

The tools that you use for handling your work are just as important as your level of motivation. For example, having a slow computer will inhibit your progress for just about any sort of remote work task. At the same time, those who work in environments with lots of noise will naturally become distracted throughout their work by their surroundings.

For best results, invest in a reliable computer that is fast enough to handle all of your work without issues. Also, consider using noise-canceling headphones while you are working to block out the noise of those around you. Having a nice chair to sit on while doing your work also will help keep you comfortable while working. If things like these are out of your budget, consider asking for a stipend from your company or boss.

Related: 10 Tips From CEOs on Working From Home Effectively and Happily

3. Set daily goals

Having a strict schedule that you can follow is one way you can ensure your success as a remote worker. You should have a consistent start and stop time each day. During this time, you should try to accomplish a certain number of goals that will keep you on schedule for any deadlines that you may have. If you don't have deadlines, you should create them for yourself.

Here is an idea to consider: If you take Sundays off, try to spend this time planning out your schedule for the week. Plan on doing one or two things each day. Try to plan for accomplishing half of the battle so that you can leave time for handling other tasks when you have the extra time and motivation. Also, be sure to think about the future so that you never get behind on accomplishing goals or meeting a deadline. Ideally, it's best to start your day with the task that will be the most challenging and is also the one that will have the greatest impact. For example, try to delay responding to e-mails until later in the day, unless it's urgent.

4. Divide and conquer your day

One of the biggest mistakes you can make as a remote worker is to try and handle all of your daily tasks in one period of sitting down. If you want to keep your brain fresh and also make the most of your day, finish your work in spurts. Take a 15-minute break to watch the daily news. Go for a short walk around your neighborhood.

You can also try to get your daily work done in two big spurts. If you like to work out, finish half your daily work before going to the gym. After a nice workout and a shower, sit back down and finish your work before eating dinner. The idea here is that you should try to divide out your work in spurts to keep your brain fresh and ready to do your work efficiently.

5. Declutter your home

To help keep yourself productive, try to spend a brief amount of time cleaning up your home. Keep things like dirty laundry and trash off the ground. If necessary, hire a cleaner to come in on a weekly or bi-weekly basis to keep your home decluttered.

Not only will having a clean home keep you productive while at work, but it will also make you happier and more relaxed during your downtime. It is much more relaxing to unwind in a home that is clean and decluttered. Clutter negatively affects your physical and mental health. Do yourself a favor and keep your home office clean so that you can get your work done efficiently.

Related: 6 Ways to Maximize Your Time While Working From Home

Be Patient with Yourself While New to Remote Work

Nobody can transition from a beginner to an expert in any field of work overnight. Remember that the struggles that you are facing adjusting to working at home are completely normal. Everyone who has transitioned from a 9-5 job to remote work has faced the same challenges. Be patient with yourself—small daily steps will pay off.

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Mike Swigunski

Founder of Globalcareer.io, Author of Global Career Book

Mike Swigunski is the founder of the remote job board GlobalCareer.io and author of the best-selling book Global Career: How to Work Anywhere & Travel Forever. Swigunski has worked in and traveled to more than 85 countries over the past decade and loves writing about remote work and entrepreneurship.

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