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8 Ways to Maximize Productivity in Your Home Office

February 05, 2016

Farm Bureau Working From Home

 Getting down to business while at home can be a difficult feat if you are not happy with your environment. The good news is you can fix this problem and enhance your home office for maximum productivity.

First and foremost ask yourself, ‘what puts me in a productive mood?’

Before diving into tips and tricks that are sure to make you more productive while working from home it is crucial to break down what it is that makes you ultimately productive. Think about an environment that would put you in the mindset to sit down and get your day started, but wouldn’t be too distracting. Once you have made a list of things that make you excited and motivated to get to work, it is time to design a home office that fits your ideal office space.

Let’s take a look at eight tips and tricks that will help make your home office a productive environment!

Clean Out Your Work Space

A great start to creating a home office that works for you is cleaning out all of the junk. Begin by removing things that are unnecessary to your day and will only distract you if they remain in the room or area. These items could be a TV, sound system, workout equipment, or anything that would make your mind wander to other things besides the task at hand. 

Importance of Paint Color and Lighting in a Home Office

Two things that may be easily overlooked when beginning to work from home are the lighting and paint color of the space you will be working in. For example, blue would be a great paint option since it is known to stimulate positive, calm and efficient feelings. Other great paint color options include green, which is known to invoke harmony, balance and peace, while violet is thought to provoke vision, truth and quality.  In addition to home office paint color, the same goes for lighting.  Artificial lighting has been found to decrease productivity in workplaces and your body produces less cortisol, a chemical that helps you deal with stress, in artificial light. It is no different when you’re working from home. Natural light is the optimal source for improved vision (and fewer headaches) and for a positive mood, two things that have direct ties to workplace productivity.  If possible, choose a room for your home office that has a strong source of natural light with at least two windows. 

Stick to a Routine

Working from home can be great, in fact up to up to 90 percent would like to work from home at least part time.  But it can also be distracting. It can be easy to want to wander back and forth from the kitchen or other areas of the home when you should be working. It is understandable to want to take breaks and you should give yourself time to take a load off. However, it is important to set these timeframes with yourself to ensure you stick to a schedule and accomplish everything that needs to be done throughout the day. And if 8-5 doesn’t work for you, set unconventional hours that will allow you to get everything you need done. 

Take Advantage of To-Do Lists

Our daily lives can get busy and without meaning to we may forget about some of our important tasks. We can start to lose focus online in as little as eight seconds. You can avoid this problem by taking advantage of to-do lists. This can be on a tangible calendar, phone app, or computer calendar - whatever works best for you and will keep you up-to-date on all of your important tasks. A great way to take advantage of these tools is to sit down on Monday or whenever your work week would begin, and jot down everything you need to do that week, or that month for that matter if you know what your schedule is. Unsure of where to begin? Check these awesome organizer options from Life Hacker

Keep Your Computer and Work Area Organized

One of the best ways to keep you productive throughout your work day and ultimately motivated is to keep your home office space clean and organized. Seventy-seven percent of Americans said clutter damages their productivity. When things become cluttered, it can become distracting and take us away from we need to be accomplishing. Avoid this by doing a quick cleanup of your space at the end of each work day so when you do sit back down to tackle your next day you are in an organized and productive environment that will allow you to focus and get things done. File important documents away, shred anything with personal info and discard or recycle the rest. An organized workspace makes using it less stressful. 

Remove Your Most Distracting Programs or Bookmarks

We all are at fault of sitting down at our computer and getting right onto our favorite programs or websites before getting started on what matters. Putzing around on the Internet costs employers more than $130 billion every year1. One of the easiest ways to avoid this problem is to remove it from your sight or to block yourself from it if is necessary. Begin by removing programs such as Buzzfeed, Stumbleupon, Facebook, etc. that are sure to distract you. By either blocking yourself or removing it from your toolbar, you will have less of an urge to jump on when you should be getting important work done. You can even use extensions like StayFocused to temporarily prevent yourself from going to certain sites at specific times. 

Dress the Part

A bad habit that many individuals who work from home fall into is wearing casual or comfy clothes throughout the day. This could be one the biggest mistakes you could make when working from a home office. How you dress can have a huge impact on how you feel about yourself, as well as your work productivity. Encourage yourself to get up and get ready for your day as if you were heading into a company office building. This will help you avoid taking breaks to get ready if you do need to pack up your things quick and head to a meeting (or a virtual one) if requested. And the most important aspect of all is that you will feel refreshed and ready to tackle your day!

Leave Your Home Office Ready for the Next Day

Make a point at the end of each day to prepare yourself for the next. Make sure that you check your calendar and are mentally ready for whatever tasks or meetings need to be done to avoid forgetting important parts of your day. This could be as simple as having all of your documents ready on your desk or computer for the next morning when you sit down. Not only will you feel on top of your game, but you will avoid feeling frantic because you already know what needs to be accomplished that day. 

Protect Your Business and Home!

Many of our businesses and home’s happen to share the same address which is why it is crucial to protect them both (together and separately). The homeowners policy will only protect your home if it undergoes damages. Find out how Farm Bureau Financial Services home business insurance can protect both your home and business today!