How to Improve Productivity When Working from Home (and the Fridge Isn’t Far Away)

By: Corey Philip
Updated: March 5, 2022

Homeworking is very much here to stay. In the US, around 4.7 million people work from home at least half the time. And while a considerable proportion of remote workers believe they’re more productive at home, not everyone agrees. 

So, to help ensure you stay focused during your workdays and don’t need to return to the office any time soon, here are some of our top tips on how to boost your productivity when working from home. 

Rustle up a productivity-boosting smoothie  

Starting the day with a smoothie that is rich in nutrients and other beneficial compounds is an ideal way to boost your productivity. Fruits and vegetables, including blueberries, broccoli, oranges, and pumpkin seeds, have all been shown to have a positive impact on cognition and concentration.

Of course, you don’t need to follow the same recipe every day, as mixing things up will keep things exciting and ensure you start the day in the right way. While you can pick fresh fruit and veggies from the fridge each day for your smoothie, you might want to consider prepping them in advance and freezing your ingredients in portions. 

This means you will have a delicious, productivity-boosting smoothie on hand within minutes first thing in the morning and get your day off to the perfect start. 

Stick to a healthy diet plan 

Productivity and your diet are inexorably linked. If you eat a heavy diet that consists of refined meats, processed carbohydrates, and is limited in fresh fruits and vegetables, you will stifle your productivity as a result. As such, when you’re working from home, it’s super important to think about what you’re eating on a daily basis. 

One study found that eating unhealthy is linked to a 66% increased risk of loss of productivity. So, while it can be time-consuming to plan ahead and consider what you eat every day, it couldn’t be more important when it comes to your productivity when working from home. 

We recommend eating whole foods that are naturally rich in nutrients and vitamins where possible. Fill your fridge with fruits and vegetables and reduce your reliance on takeaway meals and fast food. You will be amazed at how your productivity increases when you eat healthily each and every day. 

Limit your coffee consumption 

It’s important to begin this point with a caveat – drinking coffee has been shown to improve cognition and concentration. So, don’t worry, we’re not telling you to lay off the Joe completely! However, too much coffee can stifle your productivity and lead to sleep issues, so you need to be mindful of when you drink coffee. 

If you drink coffee within eight hours of bedtime, it’s likely to have a negative impact on your ability to fall asleep due to its high caffeine content. It stands to reason, then, that it’s a good idea to limit your coffee consumption to the morning hours, as this will get you through the workday and ensure you can rest into the evening before you go to bed. 

In the afternoon, consider switching to green tea instead of coffee, as its health benefits are numerous. As well as enhancing brain function, green tea can assist with fat loss, protect against cancer, and lower the risk of heart disease. Although green tea still contains caffeine, it is considerably less than that found in coffee.

Establish a work routine 

Something that so many people struggle with when working from home is how to schedule their days. This is because you don’t have the physical constraints associated with working in an office and are essentially left to your own devices. It can cause people to fall into the trap of simply working whenever they feel like it, without boundaries. 

However, it’s absolutely crucial to establish a work routine and stick to it. Whether your company requires you to work set hours or you’re self-employed and can work when you like, you need to lay out your working day in your mind. You should be absolutely clear of your hours of work (be it 9-5, 8-4, or 11-7) and establish breaks during your schedule. 

It might seem like an incredibly simple point, but the practice of establishing a routine for your workday will completely transform your productivity at home. 

Set up a home working space 

As well as establishing your working hours and breaks, it’s really important to set up a home working space that serves as your office. Some people use the kitchen table, while others build a home office in the back yard. Ultimately, what you decide largely depends on your budget and the available space in your home. 

But again, it’s so vital for your productivity that you create a space that is specifically for work. If possible, the space should be as minimal as possible, with limited distractions and plenty of natural light. If you live with a partner or have kids, you need to make them aware of the boundaries associated with your home working space. 

This is important because distractions (as we explore below) are one of the main issues associated with working from home. They eat away at your productivity and make it difficult to complete tasks, which is why setting up a home working space is such an important step to take.

Minimize distractions 

The statistics relating to home working distractions are fascinating. Here are the biggest distractions that American workers faced at home in 2020: 

  • Social media – 61.6% 
  • Smartphones – 53.7% 
  • Binge-watching – 42.1% 
  • Kids – 33.8% 
  • Gaming – 30.4% 
  • News media – 24.3% 
  • Pets – 18.1% 
  • Online shopping – 16% 
  • Partner – 12.3% 

Do any of the above sound familiar to you? Given the nature of our lives in the present day, it’s so difficult to detach from attachments, particularly when you’re in the comfort of your home. But during work hours, you need to do your utmost to minimize these distractions. In addition to creating a home working space, you could also consider: 

  • Buy a phone that is specifically for work and free from social media, gaming, and news apps. Leave your personal phone on airplane mode in a different room while you’re working, checking it only during breaks. 
  • Consider setting your working hours during quiet periods in your home. It’s helpful if you can tie your work in with the hours that your partner is at work and your kids are at school, for instance. 
  • Make sure your home working space is free from additional screens, tablets, and games consoles. The fewer physical distractions you have in your home office, the easier it is to focus. 

The good news about these distractions is that you can actively do something to prevent them from becoming an issue. If you just try and ignore them, you will find that they eventually creep into your daily routine.

Exercise during your breaks 

Scheduling a couple of breaks during your home working day is important to keep you focused and on task. Instead of heading to the fridge and gorging on something indulgent during these breaks, consider doing some exercise. Whether it’s a brisk walk around the block or lifting some weights in your spare bedroom, exercise is a great way of boosting productivity. 

Research from the Harvard Business Review shows that exercise can improve concentration, sharpen memory, learn faster, prolong mental stamina, and enhance creativity. It’s also a great stress reliever and is an excellent way to clear your head if you’re experiencing some challenges at work. 

Therefore, scheduling some exercise into your daily routine is an excellent way to enhance your productivity and stimulate your mind while you’re working from home.

Consider signing up for a co-working space 

In spite of the tips we’ve introduced above, you might still find it incredibly difficult to be productive while working from home, and we totally get that. So, if you don’t have an office to go to, consider signing up for a co-working space in your city. 

You can use a resource like WeWork to find co-working spaces near you and use a location as your new office. Co-working spaces are an excellent way to stimulate creativity and boost productivity and are the ideal solution for those of you who struggle to stay on task while working from home.

Final thoughts 

With working from home very much here to stay, you need to make sure you’re at the top of your game. The above tips will go a long way to helping you boost your productivity when working from home, and we hope you use them to start seeing results. 

Corey Philip

Founder of a home service / specialty trade contracting company (think patio's and deck) with a focus on customer experience. Quantitative investor. Data driven marketer. Runner.

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