Working from home is a dream come true for many people, particularly for the flexibility it affords. However, when we swap a traditional office environment for a home office setup, a whole new set of challenges present themselves. In order to maintain your productivity and focus, here are a few tips and tricks to keep you on your A-game while working from home. 

6 Working From Home Tips

1. Setting The Mood

While many newly remote workers may be overjoyed about their new pajama-based work attire or a pants-optional policy, it is still important to follow the old adage: dress for success. Getting properly dressed before working can help to get you into a work-ready mental space so that you can be more effective and productive at home. Taking this incredibly easy step will make you feel a little bit more like you’re at the office, despite working from your kitchen table. 

Speaking of the kitchen table, it’s also important to carve out a dedicated work space in your home or apartment. This could mean the aforementioned table, a desk, or other comfortable table and chair combinations. If you’re looking for some creative ideas for a cash-strapped budget, you might consider using an exercise ball as a chair, and a TV tray or even an ironing board as a laptop support. 

2. Work From Home Practicalities

Once you have your home office space identified, it’s time to think of some practicalities about how you’re going to get your work done. For instance, do you need to take sensitive calls in a small space where other people, like roommates, are nearby? If so, a bathroom can double as a great phone booth

Also, be sure to get up and move around throughout the day. Even in a normal office, you get up from your desk to meet with colleagues or grab a coffee. Similarly, it’s important to recreate this periodic movement while working from home.

3. Set A Schedule

While a remote-working setup gives you a ton of flexibility, it’s important to create a working schedule for yourself and stick with it. By having dedicated chunks of focused work time, you can work more effectively from home, maintain deadlines easier and avoid overworking through all hours the day. 

4. Organize on the Cheap

Many new remote workers find themselves asking “How can I be more productive at home?” Or, they may be wondering how to focus better at work while at home. One of the easiest, and cheapest, best practices for working from home is to organize your workspace.  

The cleaner and more minimalist that you can make your space, the easier it will be for your mind to focus on the task at hand. You don’t need to be a Scandinavian interior designer to achieve this either. For instance, binder clips make a great cable organizer. Got a bunch of paper clips, pens or other knick knacks floating around your desk? Old jars make great, crafty organizers. Additionally, old shoe boxes can quickly (and cheaply) tidy up miscellaneous paperwork and books. 

5. Let There Be Light!

An often overlooked aspect of the home office is proper lighting. In fact, a home office can provide better lighting than many fluorescent-drenched office spaces. 

Where possible, set up your workspace next to a big window that lets in loads of natural light. If that becomes a bit difficult, try rearranging some mirrors to bounce more sunlight around your space. Desk, wall and floor lamps are another great way to flood your space in ambiance and uplifting light. 

By filling your space with ample illumination, you will help reduce eye strain when working from your computer as well as create a more positive and productive atmosphere. 

6. Be Good to Yourself

What about self-care when working from home?

It can be just as challenging to maintain a healthy work-life balance from home as the office. In fact, many people find themselves searching for mental health tips for working from home, especially when they are new to a remote working engagement. 

First, it’s important to take regular breaks. Allow yourself to step away, grab a coffee, go for a walk and then come back to your work. 

Also, despite all of the flexibility that working remotely offers, it can be a bit lonely at times. There aren’t any random run-ins with colleagues in the break room or office chit chat. That means you need to be even more connected with your colleagues and friends. Be sure to take extra time for those small social opportunities.

Use Productivity Apps For Free

So, we know some work-from-home best practices, how to be more productive at home and tips for self-care when working from home. What about technology, though? Beyond finding opportunities on AppJobs, of course, what are the best apps to help improve productivity while working remotely?

While there are, literally, millions of options out there to improve your efficiency, the team at AppJobs has a few favorites that we use every day. 

1. iCal / Google Calendar / Outlook 

Once you’ve made your AppJobs account and checked out the opportunities in your city, we recommend using the free calendar app built into your phone or computer to keep track of deadlines and follow-up checkpoints. Most free calendar programs will allow you to create multiple categories of events for home, work, social and other reminders. 

2. Slack 

Communication is key – especially when it comes to a remote workforce. At AppJobs, we use Slack to keep in touch with our colleagues and team members around the world. Within the app, you can create multiple groups or teams, topic-specific threads and take advantage of a plethora of other features. 

3. Evernote 

Are you someone who needs to take a lot of notes? Then Evernote may be a great platform for you. One of the world’s leading note taking apps, it has a zillion features that include cross-platform note sharing, cloud-based storage, photography and voice memo support and more. 

4. Google Drive 

Another AppJobs favorite for cross-collaboration is Google Drive. Free to use with a Google email account, the cloud-based suite of products allow you to build documents, presentations, spreadsheets and more with your team in real time. 

Looking for more? You can find more than 60 of our most-recommended tech tools for freelancers and remote workers here!  

5. NaturalReader 

Are you a podcast or audiobook lover? Don’t you wish all information could come in audio format? Turn any PDF, white paper, Word document and webpages into audio files that you can listen to anytime and any where with NaturalReader. 

6. Remember The Milk

Whenever a new task emerges, add it to your or others list with email, Alexa, Siri or Twitter. The system sends you reminders via email, text, instant message and Twitter, so you never forget anything ever again. The tool runs smoothly on desktop and mobile devices that communicate with each other. It integrates seamlessly with Gmail, Google Calendar, and Evernote.

7. OmniFocus 

For those of us who have a thousand projects going on at once, and maybe even multiple different gigs, OmniFocus is here to save the day. This project tracking tool has all the bells and whistles to keep you on deadline and integrates seamlessly into all of your devices. Declutter your brain, get organized and show that to-do list who’s boss. 

And these are just a few out of the many options available out there. Depending on the type of work you do and your preferred way of organizing and managing tasks, you can pick whatever suits you best. You can also find solutions to minimize distractions, for example, if you still catch yourself checking your Facebook wall when you should be working, you can look into temporarily blocking the Facebook page on your computer. It won’t change anything about your account – it will just stop you from checking it every five minutes.

These are just a few tips but essentially, all it takes to work from home successfully is self-discipline and motivation!

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