7 home office best practices to increase productivity

7 tips to increase home office productivity
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Struggling with procrastination is a huge factor for many of us. In this writeup, I will give you tips against procrastination. These insights have helped me tremendously.

Introduction

Do you know this situation where you want to be productive and study for school or university but suddenly all the other things are way more appealing? Cleaning the apartment is so much more fun, you want to convince yourself. Also, you always wanted to fix that broken thing in your drawer, and this is the perfect moment to do so.

Don’t think you are the only one who feels this way. Nobody is a productivity god and get’s everything done every time they sit down and want to work.

Procrastination is a huge topic on its own. It refers to a task being dreaded or painful, so you want to put it off as long as you can. You can read much more in-depth about this topic in the book “The Procrastination Equation: How to Stop Putting Things Off and Start Getting Stuff Done.” by Dr. Piers Steel, a professor at the University of Calgary.

Next up are a few simple things you can do, to limit your procrastination – I won’t promise you that you can stop it – this is not going to happen.

Without further ado, let’s get to it.

The struggles

I struggled a long time with procrastination, not because I was lacking the tools to get my work done but because of my environment. I have a small office room with a reading chair and a desk with a computer on it. Working on my computer is impossible for me, even though I have all the programs I need on it.

What happens to be the problem then, you might ask?

I used this computer a long time for gaming and watching youtube – the typical things you do when you don’t want to work on something.

Every time I sit down at the desk I get distracted because I have the ability to start up a game or watch funny videos on youtube.

The fixes for home office productivity

Create a new user for your computer

The easiest and quickest way to counter this behavior is by installing another user on your computer without access to anything besides the tools you need for work. You will not be tempted to start up anything because there is nothing. You have to go through the hassle and log into your main account to play a game – you think twice about doing so!

Block websites

In most cases, you need a browser to do your work, to research, or to simply use a website. The moment you start up your browser you are tempted to go to youtube or your go-to procrastination site. Using a browser extension like “Block Site blocks out these websites so you don’t get distracted

Use the DND mode

If you read a few of my articles, especially the one about the 6 best productivity apps and programs you might see that I am a huge fan of the DND mode. Many devices come with a build-in DND mode themself, but you can always get an app or program for this.

What it does it blocks out all the notifications your device throws at you. It’s so much easier to just have an eye on the things that matter when you do not get blings, beeps, and popups everywhere on the screen.

Use another room and computer if possible

Lucky for me I live with my girlfriend who has a laptop on her own – I think I use it more than she does. Yes, the tips above work – that’s not a problem. But I like to take it even further. I don’t even work in our office space, which is ridiculous, I know. I sit down at the table in the living room where we eat our meals, boot up her laptop with my user (no games on here!), and can work distraction-free.

That’s because this table is just for eating and working. Nothing more. My brain is wired to understand that there is no gaming or youtube happening on this table, you really have to do the work now.

Of course, I know that not everybody has the resources to use another room or device – that’s why this part isn’t as important, but I wanted to let you know how I am doing it.

Get good lighting and airflow

Have you ever worked in the bright sun with fresh air flowing in? On the contrary, have you worked in a dark and windowless room? What felt better to you?

That’s right, air quality has a huge impact on the productivity and quality of the work you are doing. You can read much more about this topic here – an article from Joseph G. Allen who is an assistant professor and director of the Healthy Buildings program at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health.

Using natural light has so many benefits, that you really should open the window right now.

According to this article from the Harvard Business Review site, natural light drops eyestrain, headaches, and drowsiness by a whopping – 50-63%!

70% of the workers questioned said that their work performance improved – I guess you can understand why this happens. I feel much better outside as well!

Use music to your advantage

While typing this post I am listening to a calming coffee shop” track on youtube.

Having some background chatter and sound is so much better than hearing the cars on the outside. I prefer this music over going to the shop itself because I can vary the music here – I cannot do so in the shop. Of course, some noise-canceling headphones would do the trick, but it feels sufficient enough with a youtube playlist on my living room table.

Dress up

I was always an advocate of dressing up when doing work simply because my sweatpants are just for chilling on the sofa. Dressing up and wearing at least a pair of jeans is just so much better when doing anything because you have this “official” feeling.

During the pandemic, many people asked for help to get work done at home, and I always answered them “wear your work clothes”.

It’s the same like the work environment. If you get used to your computer as the go-to distraction machine, the same holds true for your sweatpants.

Conclusion

So we have learned 7 ways to increase our home office productivity by simply changing our behavior.

For a quick recap:

  • Create a distraction-free user on your computer
  • Block websites
  • Use DND Mode
  • Use another device
  • Get good lighting and airflow
  • Use music to your advantage
  • Dress up

I hope you could learn something from this post and it made your life a little bit simpler – let me know! You can find more productivity-related posts on the right-hand side.

As always, I would be happy to some feedback on this post.

-Julian

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