Staying Productive at Home

I hate going to the office everyday. It’s noisy, full of distractions and my home workspace is far more cozy and comfortable to me than the office. I also hate the time and energy wasted on commuting everyday, and there’s no real value of being at the office when most of our work is done online anyway.

Recently I’ve been going to the office less and working from home more. While my experience with working from home has generally been positive and enjoyable, there are some things I had to take care of to make sure that my productivity is actually increasing compared to being at the office.

Every office has a lot of distractions, but your home can have many too. The television, your bed/comfy couch, family and even the fridge can be quite distracting at times. And just like when you’re at the office and you find yourself sitting in front of the computer for hours without getting any real work done, that’s even easier to happen to home.

Here are a few technique that I have been using to keep myself productive at home.

  1. Dedicate an area to be your workspace. Invest in a nice desk and an ergonomic chair. Make sure your workspace is free of distractions and away from noise. Mine looks like this.
  2. Put some structure to your day. While a nice thing about working from home is that you get to have a lot of flexibility around when to start and finish work, and when to have breaks, you still need to design a structured daily routine and try to follow it as much as possible. It surprising how much more productive people can be when they follow a daily routine.
  3. Analyze how you spend your time. Use RescueTime to analyze how much time you spend on each app/website on your computer. You’ll be amazed when you realize that yesterday’s 8 hours of coding where actually 5 and a half hours of coding, 1 hour of communication, 30 minutes of Twitter and 30 minutes of using other random apps and websites.
  4. Block distracting websites/apps. Based on your horrific findings from RescueTime, use SelfControl to set a blacklist of websites to block during your working hours. You’ll be thankful every time you try to check Twitter and have SelfControl kindly remind you that you should be coding instead.
  5. Turns off all notifications. Put both your phone and computer on Do Not Disturb. Email can wait.
  6. Schedule regular breaks. Use BreakTime to schedule regular breaks. I schedule mine every 30 minutes. During that break I get to check email and other things that were blocked using SelfControl. Most importantly I must get up from my desk and walk around for a couple of minutes to release the strain put on my body from sitting.

If you work with a team and you need to communicate daily, working from home can present some challenges. Fortunately, there are lot of tools that help you overcome those challenges. Check this post on Medium about tools to keep remote teams together.