No Pajamas! A Few Tips on Staying Productive While Working from Home

Posted on 15.Apr.2015 by Mike Winters | @amcomcap

Business Mom Working from HomeStudies have shown that most people are more productive while working from home. Why is it, then, that so many entrepreneurs working from home often find it tough to avoid distractions and focus on being productive for their business? We're only human. It's a struggle for the best of us. But once you get into the groove, nothing can stop you. Here are a few tips on avoiding distractions and staying productive while working from home.

1. No Pajamas: Get Dressed for Work.

If you work from home, it may be tempting to just roll out of bed, wipe the sleep from your eyes as you stumble to your home office, and plop down at your desk still wearing your pajamas. But you might notice something when you do this: you're not able to truly switch into work mode. You get stuck browsing Twitter or Facebook instead of getting work done. Getting dressed in the morning, as if you were going in to work at an office, primes your brain for the transition to work mode. Staying in your PJs suggests to your brain that it's time to be lazy. So get dressed.

2. Get Out of the House.

Every once in awhile (or more), it helps to get out of the house. Grab your laptop and set up shop at Starbucks or another cafe with Wi-Fi for the day. Studies have shown that working in relaxed public environments like cafes can stimulate creativity and increase productivity. It also gets rid of the impulse to pick up around the house, do your dishes, or binge on House of Cards well after your lunch break is over. And if you like coffee, that's just icing on the cake. You might find yourself working at Starbucks more than your home office.

3. Set Boundaries for Friends & Family.

As most people who work from home know far too well, friends and family often treat your gig as if you're not really working at all. Maybe mom calls a little too often during work hours just to chat. As your own boss, you probably let things like this slide and end up working later to make up for the lost time. It helps to set a schedule (even if just a rough one) and let close friends and family know that you're actually working during those hours. You can always call mom back after the day's work is done—and enjoy the conversion without stress because of how productive your day was.

4. Give Yourself Breaks.

It's important to give yourself breaks. Very important. Tony Schwartz, CEO of The Energy Project and author of Be Excellent at Anything, wrote an excellent piece for The New York Times in 2013 called "Relax! You'll Be More Productive" that questioned the "more, bigger, faster" ethos that has been ingrained in our society since the Industrial Revolution. Schwartz discusses how research shows that "strategic renewal—including daytime workouts, short afternoon naps, longer sleep hours, more time away from the office and longer, more frequent vacations—boosts productivity, job performance and, of course, health."

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