While working online as an artist allows you a lot of freedom, perhaps one of the best is the ability to work from home. Of course, renting out studio space is still an option, but this can be expensive, and, at times, impractical.
However, whether or not you’re new to working from home, you’ve likely already figured out that staying productive from a home office or studio can often be quite challenging, and any loss of productivity can make you wonder if all the freedom and flexibility you gain are really worth it.
In the end, they are, but it’s important you have the right approach. Here are five things you can do that will help you stay productive while working from home.
Create a Dedicated Space
When you’re working from home, it’s easy for your spaces to mix. Where you relax can quickly become a workspace, and where you work can also easily become a spot to just hang out. In most cases, if you want to be as productive as possible, this type of intermingling of spaces just isn’t going to work. Instead, you need to find somewhere in your home that you can dedicate as a work area.
If possible, choose a separate room that has its own door. This way, you can close it when you’re at work to not only help keep out distractions but also to solidify the boundary between the different parts of your home. For those who can’t do this, then section off part of one room and make that your workspace.
No matter which route you take, though, the important thing is to honor this separation. This way, your brain will come to associate certain spaces with certain things. It will know that it’s time to work when you’re in your workspace and that it’s time to relax when it’s somewhere else in the home, and this distinction will help make it easier for you to switch into productive mode while you’re at home.
Try to Establish a Routine
One of the nice things about working from home is that you get to set your own schedule. However, for creative types, this can be detrimental, as it’s quite common to use this flexibility as an excuse to procrastinate and get distracted.
To combat this, try as best you can to establish a routine. At the very least, set up time throughout the day that is reserved for work and then work to keep that time blocked off.
This works similarly to the workspace tip mentioned above. If you can train your brain to expect to work during certain times, then it will be easier for you to switch into productivity mode when you need to.
Of course, it’s not always possible to keep to this routine, and no one wants to do the same thing every single day. But to be at your productive best, do as much as you can to make a routine and stick to it. This will help you establish the constancy you need to be truly productive.
Thanks to the fact that we’re nearly always connected to the internet, we are constantly surrounded by a whole host of distractions; to give you an idea, the average person spends around two hours per day on social media. You might not think you spend that much, but if you start adding up the minutes, you’ll likely find you’re not too far off from that number.
But when you’re working from home, there are a lot of other distractions that can keep you from your work, such as house chores, family, TV, and more. To stay productive while you’re working from home, you need to find a way to tune these out.
Having a dedicated workspace is a good start, but we also recommend either turning your phone onto “do not disturb” mode or leaving it somewhere else while you’re working. Come back to it during breaks to give your mind something to do that’s not work-related, but then leave it off to the side when you return to productive mode.
Obviously, there will always be unexpected distractions when you’re working from home, especially if you have children. But if you make a concerted effort to reduce the distractions present in the home when you’re working, then you’ll find it much easier to stay on task.
Schedule Priorities. Don’t Prioritize Your Schedule.
The freedom and flexibility of working from home afford you the opportunity to attend to a lot of other aspects of your life. But, if you’re not careful, this can easily cause you to lose sight of your work. It’s an all too common story that we start out the day thinking we’ll get something done and then end the day without having spent any time on it.
Part of the reason for this is that we don’t prioritize correctly. This is something we need to work on no matter our work situation, but it’s especially important for those who work from home.
Spend some time figuring out what the most important things you need to do in a day are, and then make sure to schedule them into your day, ideally first thing, so that you can guarantee you will get them done. Then, once they’re done, you can turn your attention to other things.
Too many of us don’t do this, and then when things come up, we immediately divert our attention. But this just cuts into our productivity time, and then when the day comes to an end, we’re frustrated with our output. A small shift in perspective, though, and you can overcome this and stay focused and productive while working from home.
Lastly, when we’re working from home, the pantry and the fridge are never too far away. And it’s all too tempting to make multiple trips there, especially when you run into a creative rut and aren’t sure how to proceed. However, unhealthy or excessive eating is really going to diminish your ability to be productive, and it can also lead to lower energy levels. It’s important to stick to your regular mealtimes, avoid too much snacking, and eat a balanced diet that will give you what you need to succeed.
It’s also important to build in breaks that include a change of scenery. Spending too much time inside the house can drive anyone insane. Go out for walks, do yoga in the backyard, meet friends for coffee, and make sure to get some exercise. This will help you maintain a nice balance, which will make it much easier for you to be productive when you do finally sit down to get work done.
Find the Formula that Works for You Every person who works from home will have a different strategy for how they stay productive. However, if you incorporate the things we’ve outlined here, plus a few other things that you try out for yourself, you will be putting yourself in a great position to take full advantage of all the great things that working from home has to offer.