Tips for those who work from home and want to stay productive
Tips for those who work from home and want to stay productive

In remote work, everything is great, from the opportunity to sleep a little longer, to flexible hours and a comfortable environment. Only one thing is bad: you have to work. How to organize a home office and plan your day so that working from home doesn't become a waste of time, says Matt Gemmel.

Tips for those who work from home and want to stay productive
Tips for those who work from home and want to stay productive

I have worked from home for over seven years as an employee, and I work for myself for about the same amount. Many of us have the opportunity to engage in a profession without leaving home. I think many would like to give up the daily trips to the office.

In fact, opening a laptop in the living room is not enough to work from home. There are a lot of difficulties to overcome. In many cases, teleworking turns into a test of your ability to manage yourself. I will tell you what difficulties I encountered and how I managed to cope with them.


The main problem that will arise before you when you start working at home is yourself. You need to force yourself to tune in to the behavior. The very thought of labor discipline evaporates if there is no overseer behind the shoulder. There are, of course, people who do not care whether they control their work or not. But this is a fantastic ability, and most need help.

It will not work to constantly take time off from work while sitting at home. If you are an employee, the boss will notice your flaws and either force you to return to the office or fire you. And if you are the boss yourself, you will suffer for a variety of reasons, from shame for your behavior to the collapse of your company., you just need to work. And for this you need to set boundaries.

Obvious advice: The easiest way to tune in to work is to love what you do.

If you walk through a house full of distractions, goodies and cozy sofas to take a nap on, and then think that this is the funnest thing, then you will most likely achieve results. So try to love your occupation. Keep in mind that you cannot convince yourself that you love crappy work. Instead, a need that brings joy.

Not everyone can afford it. At least not completely. Even in the most interesting activity, boring, routine and unpleasant responsibilities are encountered. When faced with such aspects, motivation decreases, and therefore it is required to form the structure of the activity.

It is imperative to make a schedule. You can only deviate from it in exceptional cases.

Schedule example:

  • Sit at your desk at 9:00.
  • Until 9:30, do administrative matters: look through mail, make plans.
  • Work until 11:00.
  • Go in for sports until 13:00.
  • Lunch from 13:00 to 13:30.
  • Work until 18:00.

Part of the time allotted for sports can be occupied by work. Your schedule may differ, the main thing is that it must be adhered to.

Allowing yourself to sleep too long because it disturbs your entire schedule. It is also important to get up and get dressed. Don't stick to the sofa. Do not turn on the TV. Don't play video games. Of course, you can make exceptions, but usually you need to follow the plan. Breakfast and lunch should take no more than 30-60 minutes.

Schedule specific rest and break times. For example, for an afternoon walk. You need to understand the difference between a scheduled break and the decision to play 15 minutes on the PlayStation. Rest is essential and good for your health, and play and play is a dangerous path, unless you have the steel willpower to easily resist the temptation of not working.


The schedule helps you get off to a good start, and many people can be productive early in the day. But there is a second difficulty: if you do not interfere with yourself, then others will interfere with you.

A more advantageous position for those whose work is not related to communication, tied to time. I can make presentations, copy documents, and manage finances consistently without syncing with others. Therefore, I set aside time for administrative work at the beginning of the working day. This is perhaps one of the strongest sources of my concentration. If your job allows, check the messages in the strictly allotted time.

Turn off notifications and alerts on your work computer, let the messages wait until their time comes.

In addition, switching between processes can also destroy productivity. So, if someone needs you or you urgently need someone, you better call. Of course, phone calls are not the best method of communication, but at least this way you will know that the contact has taken place.

Sometimes things depend on messages and emails slowly dripping into your inbox. Most of them are completely useless or can wait until their time comes. But this is difficult to organize. But when you succeed, the benefits will be much greater than you might imagine.

Emails and messages are, of course, just one distraction. Explain to people, without any indulgence, for what reasons you can be distracted, and for what you can not.

Blacklist the chatters and unsubscribe from services that bombard you with messages.

Disconnect the phone ringer. This will help eliminate all external irritants, but there will still be those that you are looking for yourself. To deal with them, use applications such as.

This is a free Mac app that blocks access to the list of sites for a certain period of time. It's just a godsend. You can close:

  • social networks Twitter, Facebook,, Google and all this vanity fair along with applications;
  • mailings and news;
  • online shopping.

Use the app for at least two hours a day. When your hands reach out to launch Twitter, the connection to the service will not occur. And you will immediately remember what you should focus on. SelfControl helps you concentrate on work if you lack rigor in your behavior.


In a team, it is easier for us to regulate our behavior in accordance with public opinion. Expectations and judgments force people to adhere to social norms. This is more important than ever at work, especially if your salary depends on the actions of other employees.

Things are different at home, because in the short term you can do whatever you want. But this leads to disaster. It is important to cultivate professionalism or even professional pride. It is not necessary to wear a tie, but you need to tune in to a work rhythm and strive to complete tasks.

Remember the note about dressing up in the morning? Pajamas are comfortable, of course, but when you work they get in the way of self-esteem. Dress in whatever is comfortable for you, but in clothes for the day out. Get up, take a shower, get dressed, have breakfast and assume that you are at work. Moreover, this is true.

The next point is a conscientious attitude to business. Your home is your office, which means you can't be sloppy about the following things:

  • Backups … You need a reliable system. It is necessary to automate the process at home and provide for remote backups. “The dog ate my homework” - that excuse doesn't work anymore. Backing up costs a penny and is certainly cheaper than trying to recover data after an emergency.
  • Security … Protect your home Wi-Fi with a password (if you already did, then check it), parse passwords and do not reuse them. Put a lock on the office door and keep children out. Install a fire alarm. Close the door to the apartment. Think about it.
  • Ergonomics … Furniture that will prevent injury from constant stress can never be considered too expensive. Compare: a few hundred or even thousands of dollars against constant pain for the rest of your life, spending now or continuing to pay for treatment later. Create a work environment immediately. Even if you only work at home one day a week, this is already a sufficient reason for purchasing ergonomic furniture.

Control your territory. When you are in the office, hardly anyone comes to you to chat over a cup of tea, and at home it should be exactly the same. You are solely responsible for whether your work will lead to success.

Separation of work and household chores

All of the above sounds harsh, and it should be. You need to concentrate on business. But it often happens that people who work full-time from home devote too much time to the profession. This is also wrong.

It is important to distinguish between work and household chores on the psychological and physical levels. A special place must be allocated for work.

Don't sit on the couch with your laptop. If possible, avoid placing your computer in a common room. You will be distracted by family members and household chores, this will annoy your family and interfere with you.

It is better to single out a separate (part of the room, niche, corner, staircase, garage …) and work only there. Decorate this place however you like and make it clear that this is not part of the house - this is your office. When you are there, you are in working order. This will also bear fruit.

Your home office should have no other function than a business one: there should not be a rollaway bed, a dining table, or a washing machine. Too much gets in the way of productivity.

Peace of mind

Homework often results in. If you don't communicate with people, you risk becoming a little crazy. I spend 50% of my life working alone. Someone might say that I am already strange, but this is a little different.

So tips:

  • Don't get rid of noise and sounds. I open the window leading to the park to hear that life is in full swing there. Children, dogs, people walking. I almost always work with musical accompaniment. Even a radio running in the background helps to cope with feelings of isolation.
  • If possible, find a social environment to get into from time to time. Social networks are not one of this: they distract too much from work. But you can, for example, create a chat for whom you trust. And even if most of the time it will be quiet there, you can always ask a question to close people.
  • And don't forget about daytime walks. They have a therapeutic effect regardless of the weather.


The last tip sums up the above. Success and productivity are of course important. But if you attach too much importance to them, then you will lose all the benefits of working from home, and they need to be used.

For example, for the first six years I barely got out of my home office. There is a river within a few minutes walk from my house, but I did not find time to walk to it. As soon as new acquaintances found out that I work for myself and at home, jokes about video games began to pour in all day long. Then there were always questions about how I can force myself to get down to business. Finally, my wife said that it is much more difficult to get me to stop working.

One way or another, you can enjoy the fantastic advantage of modern life - working from home. It's a dream! It's okay to enjoy this dream!

The daily ones are just the beginning. It's okay to only work until lunchtime on the day a new game is released, or sometimes go to the movies for an afternoon. Why else would you need homework at all?

What else is available at home and not possible in the office?

  • Strongly suggest to buy and hang on the wall for planning. I don’t know of a single profession that would not be helped by the opportunity to fix their ideas on the board. If it is magnetic, it will be convenient to attach notes to it. In my home office, there is a huge blackboard on the wall, on which I created software, sketched magazine articles, and now I use it to form the structure of the book.
  • Find a seating area. In the office, it is not always possible to think in silence in a conference room, but at home you can at any time move to a dining or coffee table. You don't just need to sit around, use non-working space when you need to think about something abstract and beyond borders and frames.
  • Get busy. Perhaps there is a gym not far from you (or maybe there is one right in the office), but working from home is a great opportunity to keep track of your form without spending extra money, etc. I have an exercise bike in my home office, I can pedal and work on a MacBook Air, which is what I am doing now. I also have free weights, a horizontal bar, and a rubber mat for push-ups and squats. I have gone from a complete lack of sports in life to 13-14 hours of exercise per week. I sleep better. I am sure that my brain works faster because of this.

You will succeed

Working from home is not for everyone, but I am sure that such a regime is for many more people than it seems. The key is to maintain a certain level of self-control (which is difficult to assess in a traditional work environment), while still enjoying the benefits and redesigning the space around you and your strengths.

I have been living this way for over seven years and I cannot imagine returning to office work. I have done and have had difficult experiences, but I have found a rhythm that helps keep the balance between productivity and rest. And I am still glad that it takes 30 seconds to get to work.

I am sure that, working for yourself, you can work from home. Stay realistic, plan your week, change items that don't stick because you know yourself better.

And remember that you should like all of this.

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