As I sit here at home, working after hours to get ahead before I take off on a three-day vacation from work, I sit and think about how many people (many of our clients) work remotely. To be quite honest, many of you have probably sat from a similar couch with your laptop open and emails never ending.

While working from home or remotely is becoming more and more popular, it isn’t as glamorous as you’d think. I mean, it has its perks, but going to a coffee shop more frequently than not and spending $4.95 on a latte every time, starts to add up. Then, you’ve got a totally different beast when you are at home to try and get work done. At your humble abode, you have a plethora of distractions to get into. Sure, no one is bothering you and asking questions, but Maury has the latest drama and a homemade cheese plate turns into a five-course meal after multiple trips to the kitchen or your bed turns into a workspace.

Here are four steps you can take to make your work from home day just a little more productive. 

1. Get Up, Get Ready

What we put on in the morning influences our daily productivity and how we act. Your morning routine heavily impacts how your day is going to go. There is a study from Northwestern University that discovered that the clothes an individual wears on a daily basis can influence their cognitive and psychological processes.

“Wearing a lab coat described as a doctor’s coat increased sustained attention compared to wearing a lab coat described as a painter’s coat, and compared to simply seeing or even identifying with a lab coat described as a doctor’s coat,” wrote researchers Hajo Adam and Adam D. Galinsky. “The influence of clothes thus depends on wearing them and their symbolic meaning.”

For me, getting up and getting ready is all about the feel and physical representation. When I get ready, I am in work mode. It helps me create boundaries. Otherwise, I feel like my workday never ends.

2. Make a To-Do List

Before you go to bed each night, make a list of what needs to be done the next day. Physically write this list down and make sure it is the first thing you see in the morning. Additionally, share this with your significant other, a friend or a co-worker to create an extra layer of accountability. When you create your list the night before, there is no excuse to hit the ground running after you have had your morning coffee. 

When I create my lists, I always put them in order of highest priority. This keeps me in line (the majority of the time) and allows for breathing room. It’s my goal for 2019 to get better at this and create the list of action items so I can maintain healthy relationships with clients.

3. Create a Workspace & a Schedule

This may sound crazy, or it may not, but get away from your bedroom. I know working from bed sound cozy, but that’s the problem, cozy does not always equal productive. Create that separation from sleep and nose to the grindstone. Create a space that is inspiring to you. Let me tell you, doors provide a great physical separation. Pinterest is chockfull of great ideas on how to organize your workspace to spark creativity and productivity. 

Remember the boundaries we talked about in tip number one? Well, creating a specific schedule for yourself is key in creating boundaries. Giving yourself a stop time will enhance your productivity during the day and closes the gap to burn out. Don’t let your home become a work zone all the time. The brain needs rest and a place to shut down in order to run at full capacity. Here are tips on how to separate your work life from your home life.

4. Take Breaks & Go Outside

Even if it is only for five minutes. Sometimes when working from home there can be a layer of guilt when we step away from our workspace. It often times feel like we are not doing what we are supposed to when we are in the comfort of our own home. However, it is crucial for your brain to take a break throughout the day, especially when staring at your screen for too long. 

When I started at Nextfly, I was constantly (and I still do) staring at a computer screen. I noticed I started to get frequent headaches. It became even more crucial to take a break and let my eyes rest for a moment. Here at Nextfly, when it is warmer outside, we take two short breaks throughout the day. Typically in the morning right before lunchtime and in the afternoon about an hour before our day concludes. These breaks are no longer than 15 minutes and we take a walk outside to get some fresh air and a bit of sunshine in order to be refreshed and ready to serve our clients as best as we can when we return.

I challenge you to try each of these tips for a week and let us know how much it impacted your week. We won’t be surprised when you say you feel rejuvenated!