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5 Ways to Stay Productive and Focused as a Remote Worker


5 Ways to Stay Productive and Focused as a Remote Worker


It’s another day of telecommuting, and you’re feeling confident. You followed the advice in our Remote Worker’s Home Office Guide, designating a work zone in your home and filling it with home office essentials to set you up for success. 

But the moment you begin responding to Slack messages or putting together your next project, Netflix starts calling your name. What if you take a quick nap? What if you spend an hour on Facebook stalking all of your high school exes? You’ll still finish by 5 p.m., right?

Stay focused every day working remotely by following our top tips for productivity.

Get Up Early

Sleeping in until starting time is a recipe for disaster. Provide yourself plenty of time in the morning to get into a productive headspace.

Set an alarm and stick to it. Get dressed in a way that will encourage you to be productive. The work-from-home uniform will vary for every person — perhaps you just need to shave and put on jeans to feel ready for work, or maybe formal attire and heels are what it takes.

Adhere to the breakfast routine you would keep if you were heading into an office. Prepare a bowl of oatmeal, eat some fruit, and enjoy a piping hot cup of tea or coffee.

Give yourself a few minutes to read the news, stretch, or text a few friends before you sit down to be productive in your work zone.

Minimize Notifications

A proper home office eliminates distractions so you can power through your daily tasks. Mute social media, store your phone out of reach, and allot small windows during the day to check email and catch up on work-related messages.

Keeping your messaging app and social media platforms audible and visible will drain away your productivity and lead to frustrating evenings playing catch up. Check emails for 30 minutes in the morning and try to circle back after your lunch break. It takes 64 seconds to mentally recover from responding to an email, and less than half of emails in your inbox deserve your attention, according to data processed by SaneBox.

Take Breaks

You can only sit at your monitor for so long before your productivity dwindles. Based on what works for your schedule, pencil in planned breaks throughout the day. Maybe you take half an hour to do a yoga workout, and then you take a 15-minute break two hours later to make some tea and keep reading your latest sci-fi obsession. 

Step away from your computer after an hour or so of hard work. A 2019 study from Airtasker found that the most effective way for remote workers to maintain productivity throughout the workday is to take substantial breaks. 

Use a Cube Timer

Cube-shaped timers look sleek and take up negligible desk space so you can implement the Pomodoro Technique if you’re struggling through your work. The timer’s design is simple yet intuitive: each side features a different amount of time. Work for 25 minutes, and when your cube-shaped timer buzzes, start the five-minute side of the timer for a short break. After four cycles of these work sessions, take a more extended 20-minute break or step away for your lunch break.

Cube-shaped timers run for around $20 at office supply stores, and you can find them for as cheap as $8 apiece online.

Reward Yourself

Prepare a treat like Dalgona coffee to savor after sending your last email and finally logging off. This whipped, fluffy treat will stay picture-perfect and tasty for hours stored in the refrigerator. Or queue up the next episode of your latest binge session so you can hit play once you shut down your laptop and change into sweatpants.

For many remote workers, rewarding themselves after they complete a set amount of work provides the final push over the finish line. Avoid the slow drift toward 7 p.m., still checking items off your list, by choosing a time when you should finish and when you will reward yourself. 

With perseverance, you’ll find a routine that allows you to stay productive every day you work from home.