Working from home has become the new normal for many of us, and while it has its advantages, it also presents challenges. The line between work and personal life can blur, and distractions abound, making it challenging to stay focused and get things done.

There is an abundance of problems a home worker faces in a day. Maybe these are familiar to you.

🤗 Dressing from the waist up

Working from home often means video calls with colleagues or clients, leading to exciting fashion choices. While it might be tempting to only dress up from the waist up, you never know when to stand up and reveal your not-so-professional pajama pants.

🐶 Home office distractions

Working from home is one of the biggest perks of working in your own space, which can lead to exciting distractions. Whether it's a pet who demands attention, a spouse who needs help with household tasks, or a tempting fridge full of snacks, staying focused on work can be challenging.

🙉 Forgetting to unmute/mute

With so many video calls happening daily, it's easy to forget to mute your microphone when you're not speaking or accidentally leave it muted when you need to contribute to the conversation. And let's not forget those embarrassing moments when you forget to unmute, and your colleagues are left wondering why you're not responding to their questions.

🍕 The constant need for snacks

When the kitchen is just a few steps away, it can be hard to resist the temptation to snack all day long. Before you know it, you've eaten through an entire bag of chips, and it's only 10 a.m.

But fear not! You can stay on track and maximize your workday with a few productivity hacks.

1) Get Dressed (No, Really)

Staying in your pajamas all day may be tempting, but getting dressed can do wonders for your productivity. It signals to your brain that it's time to start the day and helps you transition from relaxation to work mode. One study published in the Journal of Experimental Social Psychology found that what we wear influences our thinking and behavior. The study showed that participants who wore a white lab coat associated with a doctor's coat showed increased attentiveness and performed better on tasks requiring sustained attention than participants who wore their regular clothes or a white coat not associated with a doctor.

Additionally, a survey conducted by the job search site Monster found that 85% of remote workers believed that getting dressed as if they were going into the office helped them be more productive. And 60% of respondents said dressing up boosted their confidence and made them feel more professional.

Plus, if you have an unexpected video call, you won't have to scramble to change out of your sleepwear!

2) Create a Dedicated Workspace

A designated workspace can help you get into the right mindset for work. A study conducted by Stanford University found that remote workers with a dedicated workspace were more productive and experienced less fatigue and stress than those who did not have a dedicated workspace. The study also found that having a designated workspace can help remote workers maintain a work-life balance by creating physical boundaries between work and home life.

Whether it's a separate room or just a corner of your living room, ensure it's an area where you can focus and minimize distractions. Keep it tidy and organized, and add some plants or personal touches to make it more inviting.

3) Make a To-Do List (and Stick to It)

Writing a to-do list can help you stay focused and prioritize your tasks. A study conducted by the Harvard Business Review found that employees who wrote down their to-do lists at the beginning of the day were more productive than those who did not. The act of writing down tasks helps to clarify and prioritize them, which can help to reduce procrastination and increase productivity.

Start with the essential tasks and work your way down the list. If you're overwhelmed, break larger tasks into smaller, more manageable chunks. And don't forget to celebrate your accomplishments as you check things off your list!

4) Use the Pomodoro Technique

The Pomodoro Technique is a time management method that involves breaking work into 25-minute intervals, with short breaks in between. This can help you stay focused and avoid burnout. Set a timer for 25 minutes and work on one task until the timer goes off. Then take a five-minute break and repeat. After four Pomodoros, take a longer break of 15-30 minutes.

For example, imagine someone grieving the loss of a loved one and struggling to complete a task related to funeral planning. They could use the Pomodoro Technique to break the task into smaller, more manageable pieces.

By breaking the task into smaller intervals, the person can focus on making progress without feeling overwhelmed. The breaks provide a chance to recharge and reflect, which can be helpful for someone who is grieving and needs time to process their emotions.

5) Minimize Distractions

Distractions can be a significant productivity killer when working from home.

Distraction: Noisy roommates, barking dogs, or construction noise outside.
Solution: Use noise-canceling headphones to block the noise, or try playing calming background music to help you focus.

Distraction: Social media notifications or the temptation to check your social media feeds.
Solution: Use website blockers like StayFocusd or Freedom to limit your time on social media or schedule specific times during the day to check your feeds.

Distraction: Endless email notifications and texts from friends and family.
Solution: Turn off your email and phone notifications during work hours, or set specific times to check and respond to messages.

Distraction: Cluttered workspace or a messy room.
Solution: Take a few minutes before you start working on tidying up your workspace or even your entire room. A clean and organized environment can help you feel more focused and productive.

Distraction: Hunger or thirst.
Solution: Keep healthy snacks and drinks within reach so you don't have to get up and go to the kitchen every few minutes. Plus, staying hydrated and fueled with nutritious snacks can help you stay alert and productive.

6) Take Breaks

Taking regular breaks can help improve your productivity. It allows your brain to rest and recharge and can help you avoid burnout. Trust me, your brain needs a breather like your lungs need air. So, take a few minutes to stretch, take a quick walk, or sit back and daydream. It'll give your mind a chance to recharge and avoid feeling like you've been hit by a freight train. When you come back to your work, you'll be like a superhero, ready to tackle anything that comes your way.

7) Schedule Time for Non-Work Activities

Working from home can make it challenging to separate work and personal time. But making time for non-work activities is essential to avoid burnout and maintain a healthy work-life balance—schedule time for exercise, hobbies, or just spending time with loved ones. And when you're off the clock, consciously disconnect from work and enjoy your time.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Q: What are some common distractions when working from home, and how can I avoid them?

A: Common distractions when working from home include household chores, family members or roommates, social media and other online activities, and personal phone calls or messages. Creating a dedicated workspace, establishing boundaries with family members or roommates, limiting social media use, and turning off notifications on your phone during work hours are essential to avoid these distractions.

Q: How can I stay motivated and focused when working from home?

A: To stay motivated and focused when working from home, it's essential to set goals and deadlines, establish a routine, take breaks, and practice self-care. You can also try using productivity tools and apps to help you stay on track, such as to-do lists, Pomodoro timers, and time-tracking software.

Q: How can I manage my time effectively when working from home?

A: To manage your time effectively when working from home, it's crucial to prioritize your tasks and set realistic goals, establish a routine, limit distractions, and take breaks. You can also try using time-management techniques such as the Pomodoro method, which involves working for 25-minute intervals and taking short breaks in between.

Q: How can I maintain a work-life balance when working from home?

A: To maintain a work-life balance when working from home, it's essential to establish clear boundaries between work and personal time, set a schedule and stick to it, take breaks and practice self-care, and communicate your needs and expectations with family members or roommates. Making time for hobbies and activities outside of work is also vital to help you recharge and avoid burnout.

Q: What are some tips for staying productive and focused when working from home with kids?

A: When working from home with kids, it's essential to establish a routine and set clear boundaries, communicate your schedule and expectations with your children, create a dedicated workspace, and take breaks to spend time with your kids. You can also try to involve your kids in your work when possible, such as giving them small tasks to help you with or setting up a workspace for them to do their activities while you work.

Productivity Hacks for Working from Home: Stay Focused and Get Things Done