Working From Home and Finding Your Productive Zone

(AD) It’s obvious that to be productive you need to have the right work environment, but if you work from home how often do you compromise on where you work? Do you just sit on the sofa and pull out your laptop like I have been guilty of doing? If your hobby has become your job, like is often the case with blogging, it’s all too easy to keep on working how you always have without thinking about what is best for you.

A MacBook on a table surrounded by a notebook, pencils, mug, glass and baby monitor
Finding the right work environment for productivity

During my working life I’ve worked in lots of different office spaces. From having my own small office to working in a huge open plan space. I’ve learnt a lot about what works for me and now I work from home and have control over my work space I need to put it into practice.

I find I am more productive when I am in a busy space. A bit of noise around me normally provides inspiration rather than causing a distraction, but it’s key that I am on the edge and able to see what’s going on. Having my back to noise and conversations, in a small office with the door open or even at home with the TV on too quietly all causes me problems. If I have to strain my ears or turn my head to see what is going on it takes my focus away from my work, but if I can easily hear and see what is going on I filter it out. I find this particularly helps on days when I’m not quite in the right working mind because the distractions help keep me going and stop me looking for entertainment somewhere else.

The one exception is when I need to proof read work or concentrate on details. It requires all my attention while I have a read through a blog post or email so I need short periods of time away from everything else. Fortunately in the open plan offices I worked in they had meeting pods we could book, at home I save the proof reading until no one else is around or I hide away briefly.

a close up of a hand typing on a macbook with some duvet cover visible underneath
Working on the sofa or in bed isn't ideal for long hours

Of course as a mum of 3 I don’t have total control over when or how I work. I started drafting this post on my MacBook and then finished the draft off on my phone while getting my baby back to sleep. Thank goodness for Apple notes syncing between the 2! I think it makes it even more important to use the time I have wisely so when I am in control I can be as productive as possible.

As well as my environment my mood influences my productivity a lot. Sometimes I can draft out a blog post in half an hour, other times it will take me hours (and that’s before editing and formatting). I know that unless a deadline is looming I am best not wasting my time when I’m not in the right frame of mind, but it can be a good time to go through my inbox and clear out emails, update my stats or schedule some posts: activities which use my brain in another way.

Tips for Finding Your Productive Zone

  1. Write a list of the different types of task you do eg writing, proof reading, researching, planning.
  2. Try doing the tasks in a few different environments and see how quickly you get the task done eg in silence, alone with background noise (tv / radio), with people around (family / coffee shop) and around other working people (eg in a shared work space where you can rent a desk  or in a library).
  3. If you are working at home set up a work space. I love mine to be organised with things that inspire me. The desk/ table and chair need to be the right height so it is good for you ergonomically to help avoid backache etc. 
  4. Try taking regular breaks especially if your work involves a screen or looking at something detailed and make sure you move around so you keep active. 
  5. Think about the time of day you work best (if you have a choice). I work best mid mornings and early evenings when I'm not too tired.

Do you know what work environment works best for you?  

***Disclosure: This is a collaborative post***

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