If you’re new to the whole working from home thing, here are a few tricks you can use to keep yourself productive all day long.
In this post, I share some simple and easy productivity tips for working from home. Ones I’ve been using during my own freelance career.
Many people are working from home these days, especially due to companies switching to 100% remote teams.
Working from home may seem like a challenge at first, but with the help of these tips, you’ll be able to adjust to the new normal in just a few days.
Let’s dig in, shall we?
1. Skip The Coffee
I used to drink coffee every morning. It’s the perfect start for the day, right? But, a few years back, I noticed something weird happening to my body.
I started getting small tremors in my hands like a drug addict. I was terrified. It took me a while to realize it was caused by coffee. And I immediately stopped drinking coffee. And switched to tea.
The thing is, ever since I stopped drinking coffee, I feel more energetic throughout the day.
Coffee is a stimulant that only lasts for a short period. Once it wears off, you feel even more sluggish than you ever were.
If you’re a coffee drinker, this could be what’s causing your productivity. I used to be like that too.
Try skipping coffee for 30 days. Switch to something like tea or a healthy smoothie instead.
2. Prepare Your Work For Tomorrow
Every day, I end my work by preparing the work I have for tomorrow.
If have to write a new article tomorrow, I’ll create a new doc, prepare the outline of the article, and gather some links for research.
The next morning, I go straight to research mode and writing. Instead of wasting time searching on Google for resources and getting distracted.
This trick has saved me hours of time and it works every time.
3. Use the 52/17 Rule
The Pomodoro technique is a popular method for boosting productivity. But it never worked for me.
As a writer, I’m used to writing for long periods of time. Once I’m hit with inspiration, I just keep going until I’m done.
The 52/17 rule was the perfect solution for my productivity. It involves working for 52 minutes and then taking a long 17-minute break.
I don’t use this method every day. But whenever I need extra productivity, I get into the 52/17 method.
4. Take Excercise Breaks
Taking a lot of breaks is also the key to boosting productivity.
I know it sounds counter-productive, but it works. Mainly because you tend to get bored and tired when you sit in front of your computer for a long time.
Some will tell you to go for a walk outside or meditate while you’re on your break. I say do some exercises.
I don’t have the luxury of taking walks outside due to where I live. Instead, I walk over to the living room and do 20 push-ups or situps.
This gives me a bolt of energy and I feel more energetic when I get back to work.
5. Watch A YouTube Video
Every morning I sit down in front of my computer with a cup of tea and watch a YouTube clip before starting work.
I know what you’re thinking. Visiting YouTube is the worst thing you can do to ruin productivity, right?
Well, I’ve been using it as a clever way to get back to work.
Whenever I watch a video, I never finish it. I end the video and close YouTube about 5 minutes before the video is about to end.
It’s when you finish a video you feel the need to watch another video, and another, and another.
But, when you close the tab before the end, you’ll feel forced to go back to work. It works every time!
6. Use Headphones
This may be obvious advice but listening to music while you work is a great productivity hack you should be using.
Instead of blasting music from speakers, use headphones.
Also, be sure to pick the right type of music.
For me, jazz and classical music tend to make me feel sleepy. I prefer energetic music tracks like retro synthwave music.
Test different types of music and find what works for you.
7. Use Time-Saving Tools
Having the right tools at your side is also important to be more productive and be your best.
For example, if you can neatly organize your client projects in one place, you’ll have more clarity of the next steps you need to take to complete a project.
Or being able to automatically generate invoices and send them to clients will allow you never to worry about getting paid on time.
Tools like Bonsai are great for freelancers to get these jobs done so they have more time to focus on the actual work.
8. Eat Energy Snacks
You should eat snacks while you work. Especially to fill up the energy that you spend while working.
Instead of chomping down on junk food, try to eat healthy energy snacks.
For example, I prefer different types of nuts like cashews, peanuts, almonds. These are full of energy and healthy proteins.
Keep a small bowl or a jar full of energy snacks to keep you going through the day.
9. Break Down Your Work
When you’re assigned to do a week’s or a month’s work on a project, don’t fill your brain with it all.
Instead, break down the work or the project into small chunks and split it evenly for the week.
Whenever I get a huge load of articles to write, I spread them throughout the week. Like doing 1 article per day. No matter how fast I finish the article, I don’t work on the other article until tomorrow.
This will reduce stress, allow you to get more rest, and be more productive the next day.
10. Create A Rewards System
It’s tough to resist the temptation of visiting Facebook or Twitter while you’re working.
Some experts suggest using Chome extensions to block access to these sites while working. But there’s a better way to handle this.
You can use it as a reward system.
Reward yourself 10 minutes of Facebook for completing a part of your work. It’ll motivate you to work harder.
You can use any incentive as a reward. It could be reading a few pages of your favorite book, playing a quick match in PUBG, or even taking a trip down to the fridge for a snack.
11. Try Gamification
Gamification works just like the rewards system I talked about earlier.
This method, however, involves more complex planning.
Gamification involves planning your day or even your life goals like a video game. Treat each goal or task like a level in a video game.
Every time you complete a task or a goal, you receive points to level up your character.
There are actually apps like Habitica that lets you turn your work and life into a game. It has character perks, achievements, and everything.
Give it a try if you’re a fan of video games and need extra help with productivity.
12. Get Into A Routine
Getting into a routine is the best thing you can do to boost productivity.
The key to creating a routine is creating habits around your work environment.
For example, when I make tea in the morning I grab my cup and go straight to my desk. I sit down, load a YouTube clip, close the tab before the end, put on some music, and get started on work.
This has been my morning routine for several years. I know it sounds boring, but it helps me to be productive.
Try to create your own routine with your own habits. Give the amazing book Atomic Habits a read for more info on the concept of creating habits.
13. Find The Right Environment
As an introvert, I’ve never been comfortable working in open environments. Especially when people keep staring at what you do.
Some people dream of working from a laptop while they travel and while on a sandy beach.
I’d rather be in my room with a closed door. It’s how I get into my work-mode.
Your work environment could be different. Maybe you’ll do more work while sitting on a park bench or a coffee shop. Or you can get into a co-working space with your other freelance buddies.
Whichever environment it is, find what works for you best.
14. Create Your Own Deadlines
Obviously, most remote working jobs come with deadlines. But, these deadlines can be weeks or months ahead.
Instead, you can create smaller deadlines of your own.
For example, let’s say I have to write a really long eBook in a month. Then I break it down into 10 chapters and I give myself 2 days to finish the first chapter and so on.
I found deadlines to be a great motivator to boost productivity. It could work for you too. Especially if you’re the type that thrives under pressure.
15. Get Some Vitamin D
Please, get some Vitamin D.
I can’t stress enough how important it is to maintain healthy levels of Vitamin D.
Vitamin D deficiency could not only affect your stress levels and productivity, but it would also lead to depression.
I’ve experienced it first hand. Taking a Vitamin D supplement has changed my life.
As remote workers, we rarely get to go outside. So Vitamin D deficiency is common among us.
Just try taking a Vitamin D table for a couple of days and see its results.
16. Find Your Toolkit
Find the right apps and tools to help do your work faster and better.
I’ve been using tools like Grammarly and Hemingway for years to optimize my articles and they’ve been helping me cut down by editing work by half.
Use such tools to automate some of your smaller tasks. It will help save a lot of time and effort.
Check out my list of productivity tools for suggestions.
17. Start With The Hardest Task
Normally, it makes sense to start with the easiest tasks first. But, you should try starting your day by doing the hardest task.
This will actually trick your mind into thinking that you’re invincible.
Once you complete the hardest part, you’ll feel like you could do anything.
In fact, after finishing that tough task, those other tasks will feel very easy. And you’ll feel more motivated to finish them up quickly.
18. Do You Enjoy Your Work?
If you still feel sluggish and tired after trying all these productivity hacks, there may be something more to it.
When you’re doing work that has no meaning or doesn’t challenge you in any way, you will begin to feel bored. And it will affect your productivity.
Take a moment to reflect on the work you’re doing.
And ask yourself—Do you enjoy what you do?
Try to answer honestly. And consider trying something new for a change. And see if you still feel unproductive while you’re at it.
In the end, it all comes down to your stress levels. Even while following these tips, make sure to take plenty of rest to recharge your energy. And keep moving forward.
Image credit: Freepik
Did you find this article useful? Then you should check out my book Freelance Like A Pro. It includes 21 lessons and 5 secrets from my freelance career to help you supercharge your journey as a freelancer. Click here to learn more.
Awesome! This is actually impressive! I learn a lot. Thanks for sharing this.
I am Inara, a newbie to the online Freelancing. I drink coffee every day. Maybe today is the last day I will drink coffee.
I want to reward myself for my hard work. Thanks for the rule 52/17. I definitely follow them.
Please feel free to visit my page anytime.
I agree with your post. There are so many things that affect one’s productivity during work from home as well as work from the office. Distractions will be everywhere we should know how to handle them, you can drink coffee, go for a walk if you don’t feel productive, or just take a small break from your work. This is my mantra for productivity!