I’ve exclusively worked from home for the majority of the last decade. Working from home is great, but it can also be pretty distracting. One thing that makes it easier? Pretending you’ve gone to the office.
By putting yourself in an office mindset even though you’re at home you can often be more productive than if you’re still in that “home” while you’re trying to work.
There are a number of different things you can do to make this happen.
While it’s tempting to stay in your pajamas all day, every single article about being productive while you’re working from home suggests getting dressed for the office anyway.
I don’t always do that, but I do physically get out of my pajamas. I also really recommend going for a walk or a run first thing in the morning, something to get you out of the house for 15-30 minutes before your work day starts. For me, it’s typically a dog walk or a walk down the street for breakfast. When you separate your sleep time with your work time and are able to “go to work” you start things off in a better frame of mind.
Have a Dedicated Office Space
You don’t need a whole office (although that would be great), but give yourself a dedicated space that you try to work in each day, ideally away from where you tend to spend time after work with family.
I work in a spare bedroom in our apartment, but your space could be a breakfast nook in your kitchen or a corner in the living room. Think of a place in your home that doesn’t get a lot of foot traffic and see if you can adapt it to serve as your office space.
Pretend You’re Not Home
Once you’ve hit that office space in the morning the most critical move in being productive is to pretend you’re in an actual office. If you were at work you wouldn’t be doing laundry, washing dishes, or answering the door for marketers, would you? In general, acting as though you’re in an office can make a big difference in how productive you are.
If you live with others, make them aware of your work space and ask to not be disturbed while you’re in it. You also want to try and avoid lunches and the like with friends who might not have day jobs. Your work hours are work hours, just because you’re at home don’t let other people take over your time.
When I first started working from home I was bombarded with requests for airport pickups, babysitting, and almost anything else you can imagine from friends that presumed because I was home I was “free” to do things. While working from home can be great for scheduling doctor’s appointments and that occasional lunch, don’t let your friends treat your work day like it’s just time at home.
While small requests might seem small and even possible, they can quickly snowball into tasks that monopolise your work day and make you far less productive than you would have been otherwise.
Think: Would I do this if I worked in an office? If the answer is no, then you probably should probably skip it.
This article has been updated since its original publication.