Working from home is ideal in a lot of ways, but it isn’t the easiest when it comes to staying motivated. When I graduated college, I immediately landed a remote position as a virtual executive assistant. I considered it the perfect position, ever. Mostly because I could somewhat work on my own time. It didn’t take me long to realize that you have to be fully responsible for managing all of your tasks, and there’s an extra layer of stress because you gotta pay the bills.
Today I’m sharing a few tips of what I learned and how to be your most productive self while working from home.
1. Treat working from home like an office desk job
One huge tip for getting into the work mode is treating it like it’s an office desk job with the standard schedule. Cook up some breakfast, pour yourself a cup of coffee or tea, and be ready at your work station bright and early.
Be efficient and get all the work you have to get done during the day so your load can ease up towards the late afternoon. I personally like to work for two hours straight, take a 30-45 minute break, and work for another two hours. But I generally try to get the bulk of things done during 9am – 4pm.
While I’m working, I always enjoy listening to something, whether it’s a podcast, TV show, or some random rom-com. It helps time pass by quicker!
2. Get ready for work
Though this isn’t something that I necessarily abide by, I’ve talked to previous coworkers who say wearing pajamas all day doesn’t get your brain into the zone.
No, you don’t have to complete your full face makeup routine or dress in a normally uncomfortable outfit, but something as simple as a t-shirt or nice leggings will do the job. Brushing your teeth and doing your morning skincare ritual can also help put you into a ready-to-work mood.
The goal is to really feel like you’re at an actual office.
3. Sit at an actual desk or workspace
Brace yourself, this one may hit you kinda hard. . . get off your bed or couch and sit in an actual chair with a table. If you don’t have a desk, designate a section of your home for a work area.
I definitely spend a lot of time working on my couch, but if I really have to get things done, I’ll set up camp at my dining table. Having a designated workspace helps to keep you more productive.
4. Spend a few hours at a local coffee shop
There will be those days where it feels like you can’t get anything done at home. Which is why coffee shops are a viable option! Go visit your favorite local café and work amongst fellow remoters.
If you’re anything like me and can be easily distracted, it might be a good idea to listen to music or whatever you prefer. Being around other productive people can help to boost your productivity as well. If you have any other friends who typically work-from-home, it’s nice to meet up and work alongside them. You can even consider them your coworkers for the day!
5. Create to-do lists, schedules, and deadlines
Something that I found extremely helpful is creating a calendar for my work schedule and deadlines so I can manage my weekly workload. On top of using Google Calendar, I love the Google Keep app — it’s a cute note-taking platform that takes the place of paper sticky notes. It also helps to write a daily to-do list so you know exactly what you need to complete each day.
My calendar typically has broader task names like “send reports for X” and “change hours for X,” while my daily to-do list has more specific items like “submit revisions.”
I have a combination of both small and large tasks throughout the day, and creating to-do lists, schedules, and deadlines helps me keep track of it all!
Working from home definitely takes a lot of dedication and focus, but it’s so worth the flexibility and freedom.
While I’m out of the assistant position, I’m back in a role where I work from home 3 days out of the 5-day work week. Having control and being able to create my own schedule is so rewarding.