Some of us struggle with productivity when working from home. In this article, Rebecca Randles shares her top 3 hacks for the home office.
A question I often get asked, whether it be from other academics or simply from a friend is how I manage to stay productive whilst working from home.
I am now in the final year of my PhD and have completed most of my work from the comfort of my home, unless I had to go into the university for whatever reason.
I wanted to share some of my top tips on how to stay productive when you’re working from home.
#1 Have somewhere to work that is different from where you relax
This is the main tip I would recommend.
Not only is this a tip that I myself think works, but is has actually been psychologically proven that if you work in the same place where you try to relax then your brain can’t shut off from “work mode”.
I myself have a room in the house that is my office where I have my computer.
I realise that a lot of people won’t be as lucky as me, so I would just recommend making sure you have a desk where you can work rather than trying to work in bed or on your sofa!
#2 Treat it like a work day
A big benefit of working from home is that you don’t have to get into fancy clothes and get on public transport or in a car.
However, I would suggest treating every day like a work day.
What I mean by this is working from 9 am until 5 pm or whatever time frame works best for you.
Give yourself a little break in the morning, a break for lunch and a little break in the afternoon; but remember to keep working until that is the end of the work day.
This might not work for everyone, some people are more productive in short half hour bursts (The Pomodoro Technique) but even if this is the method you use, try to keep focused on work until you end the “work day” rather than haphazardly working here and there.
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#3 Break big tasks into smaller tasks
My final tip is to break down your huge tasks.
If you are like me and write to do lists, it can be daunting seeing “Write Chapter one” on a list, as it feels like it’s never going to get done!
Instead, try breaking it down into smaller chunks such as “Write 500 words” or “Write the introductory paragraph”.
This way it won’t feel like such a huge task and you will feel more productive having things that you can tick off and see the progress that you have been making.
Rebecca Randles is a PhD Researcher who is currently carrying out research in Educational Psychology at Liverpool John Moores University in the School of Built Environment. She is in her final year.
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