Being Productive when Working from Home

When I say I 'work from home', I mean that I do work at home for graduate school, not that I make my income from at job I can do from my apartment.

Regardless, trying to read, write and work on research from home can be a struggle if my T.V. and couch are tempting me! Below are a few tips and tricks I use to try and be productive at home.


Get up and GO  Plan to start your day on the right foot, whether that be a schedule devotional time, a morning run or some meditation. Having something set to do in the morning will help ward off the 'I'm just going to lay in bed scrolling through Instagram for the next hour' temptations.  For me, the days I schedule to get up and run end up being more productive than if I do not have anything in the morning!

Have a schedule When working at home, it may be tempting to just go with the flow or to try and just sit at your desk and start. I am more productive when I plan out what I need to work on (to-do lists!) and when I try and schedule when I want to complete those tasks. Experts suggest tackling more difficult work first, instead of pushing it off with little tasks until later. I find that if I am starting a big assignment like a paper, that outlining helps. Or, if I have too many thoughts rattling around in my brain, I set a timer for 10 minutes, open up a Word document, and brain dump! Clears my mind, and helps me to get started writing.

Set a timer To stay productive, your brain needs breaks. While I could find some scientific research to back this up, a friend generally told me to take a 2-5 minute break every 20 minutes when working on a big project. If I'm really distractible that day, I'll turn my phone on airplane mode and set a time for 20 minutes, AND turn it face down. When that 20 minutes is up, I allow myself a little treat, and then it is straight back to work! After a few hours (okay, some days it is one hour), I will take a longer break.

Treat. Yo. Self During those short breaks, give yourself a motivating reward! Sometimes that may be refilling my coffee cup or water bottle for the next 20 minute work session, sometimes a piece of chocolate, or sometimes a 5 minute YouTube video as a brain break. If you have a really big project or assignment due, plan something fun to do once it is turned in! I have a big paper due Friday night, so my friend and I have a fun day planned for Saturday. I know that to enjoy the weekend, having my work off my plate will make me feel better. 

Vary your environment Whether it is in your own apartment or you choose to leave your four wall cave, changing up the view can break the monotony of working at home. I'll work from my desk, kitchen table, and couch at home, and if I need a change of scenery, may move to Starbucks! If you want a quieter environment, check out your local library (college campus or public library). 

Create some ambience Make your work environment enjoyable! First, if you have access to natural light, use it! Open up your blinds and open the windows if it is nice outside. If you need a little bit of background noise, put on an acoustic or instrumental Pandora station, or a low-key podcast. I have a salt lamp that changes colors, so I will put that on and light a candle. I don't have an oil diffuser, but I feel like that would also create a nice working environment!

Take a break If you have straight up hit a wall, just stop. Maybe for an hour, maybe for the rest of the day. Sometime we hit our limits, and the work quality that will come out isn't worth it. So take a walk, take a nap, talk to a friend, or drink a glass of wine. Then, come back to it later (or tomorrow), and start anew.

Erin Condren Agenda

Erin Condren Agenda

Anyone else have tips for being productive from home?