12 tips on how to be productive when working from home

29 April 2020

Lucy Glade Wright

Lucy Glade-Wright
Designer and Director of Hunting for George

With a background in design and creative direction, Lucy worked for a number of high profile brands before starting her own brand, Hunting for George. Founded in 2010, Hunting for George is an online publication that is your go-to inspiration for all things Home, Design and Lifestyle. As the raconteur behind Hunting for George, Lucy is passionate about design and this self-proclaimed ‘homebody’ is driven to create unique and engaging stories to educate and inspire.

Follow Lucy on Facebook, Instagram, and Youtube

Many of us will find ourselves working from home at the moment and this can be a tough adjustment for anyone not used to it. I have been working from home for a while now and I know the pitfalls and the positives that come along with it. So here are my top twelve tips on how to be super productive when working from home.

1. Get a head start

Wake up at the same time you normally would if you were preparing to go to work. You won’t have to do your morning commute, so chances are you’ll get to work early. Take advantage of this opportunity and get a head start on your work day.  

2. Establish a good routine

Routine is key to being productive at home. Structure a 9-5 work routine that works for you and your lifestyle. Everyone's routine will be slightly different, depending on your circumstances, but make sure you bring regularity to it. This will make it easier for you to get into a rhythm again. Wake up, get to work and finish work at the same time each day.

3. Complete high priority tasks first thing

Complete your high priority tasks first thing in the morning, before anything else. Your attention is often most focused at the start of the day so dedicate this time to completing urgent or complex tasks. Set a challenge each morning to tick two or three tasks off your to do list; this will give you a head start on the rest of your day. If you’re not a morning person, identify which hours in the day you are most productive and be sure to dedicate this time to completing your challenging tasks.

Image credits: Art Direction & Styling: Lucy Glade-Wright / Photography: Jonno Rodd for Hunting for George

4. Put on pants

It can be tempting to wear track pants all day every day when you’re working from home, but showering and getting dressed is an important part of being productive at home. Make sure this continues to be a part of your morning routine. You can enjoy dressing more casually than you normally would in the office, however it all comes down to attitude. Take yourself seriously; just because you’re working from home doesn’t make you any less of a professional. I guarantee that you achieve far more during the day and will be less inclined to slouch around on the couch and watch Netflix. Trust me, I’ve tested the theory. So put on some pants already.

5. Limit time spent on emails

Restrict the amount of times you check your email and never check your inbox first thing in the morning. Limit your emails to twice a day, check them once mid-morning and once again mid-afternoon. This will allow you to complete tasks first thing in the morning before being distracted by emails and will then allow you time to action any new tasks before the end of the day. Respond quickly and try to clear your inbox each time.

6. Get in the zone

There can often be a lot of distractions when working from home, so do what you can to create an environment that allows you to be as productive as possible. Clean your workspace, clear your desk and remove any distractions, use noise cancelling headphones, and position your desk in a quiet area of the home.

7. Take regular breaks

It’s important to take regular breaks throughout the day. Make a cup of tea, go for a walk around the block or get on top of some household chores. These breaks in your work day are important distractions that will help clear your mind so you can be more ready to focus when you return to your desk. Allocate more time to really switch off over your lunch break and don’t take your food back to your desk! Lunch time = your time. Spend it doing something for yourself. Go for a walk. Sit in the sun. Exercise. Face Time a friend. Watch TV… which brings me to my next tip.

Image credits: Art Direction & Styling: Lucy Glade-Wright / Photography: Jonno Rodd for Hunting for George

8. Beware the danger of daytime television

Daytime TV is a bit of a novelty when you first start working from home and it’s a good way to switch off during your lunch break. However, don’t get stuck watching back to back episodes of The Mentalist. I may have fallen prey to Simon Baker’s dreamy eyes and witty banter once or twice. Be strict with yourself, set a time limit and turn it off.

9. Try video calling

One of the biggest changes that I had to get used to when working from home is that you don’t have that human interaction you normally would working in an office. It’s important to have that connection with other people. Schedule team meetings via skype or zoom so you can chat to your work mates face to face. Otherwise pick up the phone and call someone whether it's a client or a colleague. If I don’t have anyone work-related to chat to, I like to phone a friend or call my mum, she is always happy to hear from me.

10. Identify your work pattern

Learn to identify when you are at your most productive and when you are not. Schedule your tasks accordingly. In the afternoon I tend to lose focus so I like to do tasks such as planning or creative brainstorming rather than tasks like writing articles or financials.

11. Prepare for success

At the end of each day, review what you have done that day and what you have upcoming. Then prepare a to-do list for the next day, making sure that the most urgent or challenging tasks are at the top of the list. These are the tasks that you will complete first thing in the morning the following day, when you are most switched on.

12. Log off

Once you’re done for the day, you’re done! Log off. Switch off. This can often be the hardest part but it’s important to set boundaries for yourself. Know when you work and when you don’t. Some days might require you to work longer hours, but do your best to create a routine and stick to it.

Read more

 Consider whether advice is appropriate for you and read the relevant Product Disclosure Statement or Product Information Document before making any decisions about whether to acquire a product.

The information is intended to be of general nature only. Subject to any rights you may have under any law, we do not accept any legal responsibility for any loss or damage, including loss of business or profits or any other indirect loss, incurred as a result of reliance upon the information. Please make your own enquiries.

Escape of liquid

This covers the sudden liquid leaking, overflowing or bursting from things like your fridge, washing machine, bath, toilet, fixed pipes (except agricultural pipes), gutters, swimming pool, water main, fixed cooling system or an aquarium.

We don’t cover damage caused by wear and tear or the gradual leaking of liquid when you’d be reasonably expected to be aware of the condition.