tips for staying productive when you're working from home.

A remote job comes with significant benefits — you're free to design an environment, schedule and system that works for you. If you're accustomed to working on-site, however, the transition can be surprising. With no one to keep tabs on what you're doing, it requires extra concentration to stay productive. If you're looking for ways to stay on task, use these tips to work efficiently and accomplish more during the workday.

know when to tackle demanding tasks

Thanks to your body's circadian rhythm, there are certain times of day when you feel most alert. For most people, this happens in mid-morning, a few hours after you wake up. One way to increase productivity and work from home effectively is to tackle your most challenging tasks during those periods. Because you're feeling sharp and awake, you'll be able to solve problems and create deliverables in less time.

This strategy is also an effective way to prevent burnout and make your mental health a priority. By leaving less-demanding tasks for the afternoon slump, you can stay productive without expending extra mental energy.

make time to move

When you have a work from home job, it's all too easy to stay at your desk for hours on end. Without colleagues to chat with, you have fewer reasons to walk around or take a break to eat lunch. While that's fine on occasion, regular marathon work sessions can take a toll on your physical and mental health, making it harder to stay productive.

To stay fresh, make time to get up and move. Join meetings or calls on your phone rather than your laptop, and walk around the block — or even your living room — while you talk. Turn off your computer at lunch, and make a point to move around the house or prepare a hot meal. If you're feeling stiff, stand up and do a few stretches or squats.

Small movement breaks are good for your body and mind. They prevent your muscles from getting stiff, provide time for your eyes to rest and give your brain time to process and reset. You'll go back to work feeling alert, rejuvenated and able to power through your next task efficiently.

wake up early

Whether you live alone or you're working from home with your kids around, waking up early can help boost productivity. There are fewer distractions in the early hours, both online and in person. Your friends are less likely to message you, your colleagues aren't online yet and your family isn't making noise. It's the perfect time to get things done — and when 9:00 a.m. rolls around, you'll feel great about the progress you've made on your to-do list.

When you start work early, you can also stop earlier. This frees up more daylight hours for personal tasks, fitness and time with friends. It's particularly effective in the winter; when the sun starts setting in mid-afternoon, you can leave your desk rather than fighting the effects of the low-light.

woman at home sitting at a desk, working on a computer
woman at home sitting at a desk, working on a computer

distance yourself from distractions

If you find yourself scrolling on Instagram or watching Netflix in the middle of the work day, you're not alone. Social media and TV can help you feel connected to the outside world, which feels good when you're trying to reduce isolation. To prevent scrolling from slowing your productivity, it's helpful to create a physical distance between you and your devices. Move your TV and tablet out of your home office and set your phone on the other side of the room. When you have to take an extra step to access an app, it's easier to stop opening it mindlessly.

You can also use technology to restrict access to distracting apps. Turn off social media notifications, and use software to prevent you from opening web versions during working hours. In extreme cases, you might need to delete apps from your phone during the day; you can download them again after work.

change your environment

One of the best parts of remote work is the ability to change locations at a moment's notice. If you're having a hard time staying focused at home, even in an inspiring and productive workplace, a new environment can help. Pack up your laptop, head to a local coffee shop and enjoy a latte and a muffin while you work. The background noise and movement are a nice change of pace from a silent home office.

If you prefer a quieter environment, check out your local library. Chances are, you'll find plenty of other people working on their laptops. Coworking spaces are another alternative workspace; you'll need to pay a fee, but you'll get high-speed internet and the opportunity to network with other remote workers.

When you're working from home, it's up to you to stay on task. By finding solutions that suit your style, you can design an environment and a schedule that increases productivity.

For additional reading on remote jobs, check out these pertinent articles:

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