How to Stay Productive While Working From Home

December 5, 2014 • Devin Partida


Telecommuting has its share of benefits, namely the ability to set your own schedule and work in your pajamas, if that’s your preference. Flexibility is one of the clear strengths of telecommuting, but one of its potential weaknesses is how easy it is to get distracted while at home. When the television is just a few feet away and you have no boss peering over your shoulder, it can be easy to set aside work from a few minutes. Unfortunately, those few minutes can turn into an hour and that hour into an entire day, resulting in a very unproductive workday.

Telecommuters can continue to enjoy the flexibility of working from home, but they should also prioritize staying productive. Below are five tips that can help any tech-savvy telecommuter stay productive at home:

1. Use a To-Do List Manager

There are tons of to-do list manager apps available regardless of your device. Try several out to see which one is right for you; they are usually free or only cost a few dollars. Once you find a format that’s comfortable, make it a habit to use the to-do list app by putting all of your work-related tasks inside. Even if you feel confident that you’ll remember everything, having a virtual to-do list with personalized notifications will push you harder to get everything done, so there aren’t stray tasks remaining on the checklist at day’s end.

2. Take Breaks

It may sound contradictory, but taking breaks away from your computer will actually boost productivity, since paying attention to one task without interruption can result in mental strain over time. Breaks can also help boost eye and cardiovascular health, both of which can deteriorate due to computer viewing and sitting idly, respectively.

An app like BreakTime can help you manage your breaks, with reminders that can persistently tell you when it’s optimal to take a break, whether it’s for lunch or just a 10-minute stroll down the block.

leaning over desk

3. Take Advantage of Google Apps

A wide variety of Google Apps – from Drive to Hangouts – are perfect for telecommuters. Google Drive allows you to share content with others and collaborative live, making it ideal for any job type with clients who want a live look at what’s going on, such as a PR client seeking updates on pitching progress.

Similarly, Hangouts provides an easy-to-use solution to communication, whether it’s via text, speech or video. Best of all, Google Apps are free to use, making it a must-have for the majority of telecommuters.

4. Drink More Water

Hydration is extremely important for general health. It’s also important for optimal productivity, since dehydration can result in fatigue and make the mind more prone to distractions. Ideally, you should drink at least 64 ounces of water daily, but it can be hard to track this unless you’re using a 32-ounce or 64-ounce water bottle.

If you’re drinking glasses or cups of water instead, consider a water-tracking app like Waterlogged, which features hydration charts and reminders to make sure you’re fully hydrated and prepared for a productive day’s work.

5. Consider Co-Working with ShareDesk

A recent phenomenon called co-working involves renting out a workspace along with others who are not related to your own work or business in any way. This provides the flexibility and low-stress environment of telecommuting while adding the benefits of social interaction at a typical office. Since those you share the space with aren’t involved in your work or business, there’s no office drama.

A new site called ShareDesk is looking to become the Airbnb of co-working; the site allows you to book a workspace, either with others or alone. This is ideal for telecommuters who find their productivity levels are at a peak when surrounded by others, which can provide motivation, as opposed to working alone at home.

The five tips above should provide telecommuters with a good starting point for improving their productivity and getting the most out of working from home. Productivity is one of the most important aspects of telecommuting, since – with being your own boss – focus and quality of work is entirely in your hands.

Images by Olu Eletu