7 Easy Tips For Staying Organized While Working From Home
Today, we’ll bring you 7 easy tips for staying organized while working from home.
This is all practical, actionable advice from members of our team that ACTUALLY DO IT.
We’ve tried this all in the field, and it’s worked. Anyone can get organized and boost productivity while working from home. You just need to know how to do it.
How to Get Organized While Working From Home
Can we ask you a question?
How much time have you already wasted working at home today?
- Fired up YouTube and watched COVID-19 updates (STAY AT HOME!)
- Browsed Facebook for conspiracy theories (5G? Really?)
- Checked your emails and became flush with anxiety at the volume in your inbox
- Panicked and Googled “how to stay organized while at home?!?”
- Found this article
That’s A LOT OF TIME!
Don’t worry, we feel your pain.
But here at Soda PDF, our work-at-home staff are way ahead of the curve. We talked to our best performers and asked them what secrets they have for staying organized and productive when stuck at home all day.
Each of these tips has actually worked in the field. Can’t get any better than that.
Here we go…
#1) Set Regular Hours
Productivity when working from home is a slippery slope.
When you don’t have to go to the office, it’s easy to say, “Ah, let me sleep 10 more minutes. Then I’ll get to work.”
10 turns into 20. Then 20 turns into an hour. Next thing you know it, you’re getting out of bed at 4 pm and your kids haven’t eaten since yesterday afternoon.
Setting work hours and sticking to them is rule #1 for almost all remote teams.
OK, that’s easier said than done, right?
It is. So it’s on you to find ways to enforce the rules. Ask your boss or team lead to keep tabs. Get the team to keep tabs on each other. A morning meeting? Great. Strict project deadlines? Even better.
Which brings us to tip #2…
#2) Give Yourself Morning Responsibilities
Nothing gets you out of bed faster than actually having to get out of bed for an external reason.
Our most productive and efficient team members are those with kids or pets.
Because they have no choice but to get up and take care of their kids or pets!
If they don’t get up and walk the dog, the dog is going to leave a nice reminder on the floor that basically says, “Hey, you should’ve woken up earlier.”
OK, so if you don’t have a little creature dependent on you for sustenance, how can you force yourself out of bed?
Here are a few easy ways:
- Switch your hobbies to the morning. Do your workout, your gardening, your reading, or your meditation BEFORE WORK.
- Do your chores before work. Waking up earlier to clean is A LOT easier than waking up earlier to work. Do your dishes, laundry, and cleaning in the morning while you have coffee so you can start the day easy.
- Schedule easy work tasks before your main working hours. Meetings, client calls, 1-to-1s, etc. Do it all before you get to the meat of your day.
#3) Keep A Dedicated (and CLEAN) Workspace
Think that a cluttered home, office, or desk doesn’t affect your productivity?
In fact, people with cluttered homes have higher levels of cortisol, which could lead to a serious reduction in efficiency and productivity.
Here’s what to do…
CLEAN YOUR WORKSPACE. If you haven’t used something in the last 2 days, put it in a drawer.
That includes YOUR SCREEN. Get rid of icons for programs you don’t use and trash all of those screenshots you’ve taken in the last 3 weeks. It’s ruining your productivity.
SUMMARY: Clean your room, your desk, and your screen. It will make you more productive!
#4) Block out distractions
Social media (and the web in general) is an endless pit of despair that destroys productivity and slowly turns you into a grumpy old man or woman.
What’s the best way to force yourself to work instead of mindlessly browsing the web?
MAKE IT IMPOSSIBLE.
There are apps that make it impossible to visit your top time-wasters. Here are a few:
- Cold Turkey – The Toughest Website Blocker EVER: This bad boy straight up turns your computer into a typewriter. You can’t access the internet at all. If you’ve got to write articles, reports, or team evaluations, this is the best choice.
- Focus (For Mac) – Set Productivity Blocks: This app blocks out distracting sites for set amounts of time. It’s perfect for productivity cycles (much more on that next).
- Freedom – For Sites and Apps: This app blocks distracting websites and can even block out apps on your phone. We know you aren’t using your phone for work, are you?
#5) Use The Pomodoro Technique (or Any Work Cycle)
Some people use work cycles. Some people use predetermined work periods. Some people are so dedicated that they can actually get their work done without reading blogs like ours.
We, on the other hand, use tomatoes.
The pomodoro (Italian for “tomato”…don’t ask) method is a 25 minutes on/5-10 minutes off method of working that’s a massive boon for productivity-challenged home workers.
This is one of the simplest, most effective productivity improvement techniques. So much so that massive corporations and even prestigious universities have implemented it into their work regimens.
It’s even been shown to improve attention spans and focus over time. The key is that the cycles are so short that even people with the shortest attention spans can get at least SOME work done.
#6) Dedicate Your Best Hours to Work
Everyone’s internal clock is different. Some of us are morning people. Some of us hate every living creature that has ever existed until we get some caffeine in us.
It doesn’t matter which type you are. You have a point in the day when you’re most productive. USE IT.
You’re going to be inside a lot in the coming months, so start to keep track of your best hours.
When do you feel best?
When are you most awake?
When do you feel happiest and most motivated?
THOSE are the times you should be working. If you feel most productive around noon, adjust your work accordingly.
If you’re a night owl, try to get as much done outside of regular working hours as you can.
Dedicating your best hours to work instead of browsing YouTube is one of the lowest hanging productivity hacks there is.
#7) Plan Out Everything
Having set goals written down is one of the best ways to stay on track.
People who write down their goals are up to 40% MORE LIKELY TO ACCOMPLISH THEM.
You don’t need to do it on a scrap of paper, either.
Here are the best apps for keeping track of daily goals.
Google Calendar: Self-explanatory. Write down your productivity goals as well as your important meetings.
ToDoist: Our favorite productivity app. Perfect for collaborating with teams. Create a team checklist, add everyone in, and keep tabs on each other. That will make sure everything gets done and nobody can make excuses.
Microsoft “To-Do”: MS’s new task management app “To-Do” has replaced Wunderlist as the best to-do app out there. It lets you organize and track all of your apps and stats right from your phone and stay on point all day. Plus, since it’s Microsoft, the interface is intuitive and familiar, making the learning curve extremely short.
Those are the best ways to stay organized and productive while working from home. Our team is crushing their productivity goals and they’ve only been working from home for a few short weeks. Just follow our lead and you’ll be organized, efficient, happy, and productive at home.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q: What is the best way to work from home?
A: The best way to work from home is to simulate an office experience. This will condition your brain to focus just as you would at the office. Dress semi-professionally, keep a dedicated workspace, wake up at normal office hours, and keep your morning routine. Remember, you are still WORKING!
Q: How can I stay busy working from home?
A: The best way to stay busy working from home is to block out distractions by using the apps we’ve recommended and productivity techniques like the Pomodoro Method.
Q: How can I stay organized at home?
A: Staying organized at home is a lot easier than you think. You just need to clean your space daily and maintain separate home and work spaces. Everything else comes down to effort. The cleaner your space is, the easier your life will be.
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