How to Stay Productive Working at Home

Working from home is incredibly satisfying. You get to figure out your own schedule, you don’t have to be surprised by an angry or irritating boss at any given moment, and you can sit around in your pajamas and work in the most comfortable surroundings available.

But for some people, it also tends to be a disaster for productivity, because unlike when you’re at the office there are countless distractions at home that can make it very difficult to focus on the tasks you need to complete. So if you’re someone that recently started working from home or are in need of extra help to curb your distracted tendencies, the following are several tips for ensuring that you reach your goals.

Tips for Productivity at Home


countdown timerCountdown Timers

Everyone has a smart phone these days and nearly all smart phones have a countdown timer alarm system. A great way to motivate yourself to get work done is to set up a countdown timer for 1 or 2 hours. Once you press start, try to work as hard as you can for those two hours, with the timer next to you the entire time.

Knowing that you have a 2 hour expectation keeps you focused and energized. It’s a motivation tool that imposes a strict and fast approaching deadline that can often help keep you focused on your goals. Then, when the 2 hours are over, go ahead and take a break for a bit before setting the clock again.

Sub-Goal Setting

Setting up a planner with deadlines is a great tool for achieving goals. Like with countdown timers, planners give you a deadline, and deadlines are one of the best ways to stay motivated.

However, an even better way to utilize one of these planners is to not only set major goals – set multiple minor sub goals as well. These are the minor goals you need to complete in order to reach your bigger goals. If you place every possible task you need to complete on a planner with a timely deadline, you’ll often find that you complete far more than you did previously as you work towards achieving your goals on time.

Blocking Access to Distractions

block distractionIt’s easy to say that you won’t be distracted, but if the distraction is still possible it’s often hard to prevent it. How often do you find yourself randomly typing “Facebook” into your browser without realizing it? Often it’s easy to find yourself engaging in distractions without even realizing it.

Blocking access to these distractions altogether is the cure. If it’s TV, unplug the TV and take the batteries out of the remote so you can’t turn it on. If it’s certain websites, log out of all websites you frequent and look for software that you can install that blocks access to those websites during work hours. If it’s your phone, plug in alarms that you set for yourself that beep and tell you to get off your phone, or turn your phone off altogether.

The more you block access to distractions, the more likely you are to reduce the time spent with those distractions.

Add Distractions

It may seem counter-intuitive, but what you may actually need is a very mild distraction. Often the problem with working at home is that it’s too boring and quiet, and it makes you want to do other things rather than work. Some people find that they benefit from a very mild distraction. Here’s a fun tip: download a podcast on your computer that you’re not really interested in listening to. Turn the podcast on at a volume that you can hear, but is quiet enough that you can zone it out.

You’ll find that the added noise ends up providing you with some much needed relief from the quiet of working from home, but the boring podcast at a low volume isn’t itself distracting enough to prevent yo from completing work.

Stay Productive, Get Things Done

Staying productive isn’t easy, and it’s something you actually need to practice. The more you focus on being productive every day the more focused you’ll be when you do work. Try the above tips, and make sure that you continue to look for added productivity tools that work for you.

This is a guest post by Ryan Rivera. Ryan is self-employed and writes for 

  • It is not a difficult to thing to stay productive working at home, you just need to set your goals and start working hard to achieve them.

    • Taryn Morvillo

      WOW, it’s THAT simple? Then why are there so many books, systems, coaches, theories on why it’s so hard and what we can do about it, apps like Stayfocusd, SimpleBlocker, Conzentrate, websitess like stiKK – which is based on a Stanford U study that showed that, on average, people who set a goal but did not implement any incentives or accountability into their plan to acheive it failed *)% of the time – or more, whereas those who added an incentive and 3rd party accountability were able to achieve compliance rates of 75% – 80% on average? Are you being serious? ARE YOU A BOT?

  • Taryn Morvillo

    That single tip on the podcast thing? PRICELESS. I tried it with some opensource learning videos on stuff I probably should care to learn but have never been able to get through a book, class or lecture on, just kept it in another tab – I swear it worked like nothing else I have ever tried before. Almost like writing stories in trig class in high school…like I was getting away with something as opposed to obligated to do it! Thank you, Ryan and the WEEKPLAN team!

    • If you like that tip, you might enjoy

      • Taryn Morvillo

        I think I’ve read good things bout that – definitely will check it out. Thanks – have a great day!