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How to Be Productive at Home: 15 Pro Tips

Learn how to stay productive when working from home with our expert tips. Boost focus, set boundaries, and achieve a better work-life balance.

Vicki Chen
Writer at Motion
Apr 26, 2024
Table of contents

Twenty-two million adults in the US work from home. While it offers amazing flexibility and comfort, let’s face it — staying productive can be challenging at times.

So, how do you maintain productivity without that office buzz? Follow our pro tips to stay motivated and productive from home day in and day out.

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Why is it hard to stay productive at home?

Let’s be honest; having a siesta on your comfy couch is way more tempting than working on a spreadsheet.

Staying productive at home is challenging when:

Your day lacks structure

When do you start and get off work? When there is no set office schedule you need to follow, it’s easy to fall into unpredictable work hours and the procrastination trap.

It's also harder to prioritize tasks and allocate your time effectively. Instead of diving into your work, you might find yourself wasting time figuring out what to do next and feeling overwhelmed by your to-do list.

Distractions are everywhere

Chores, family members, pets, and social media are tempting, especially when you’re already feeling a little unmotivated. Because there is no physical separation between home and work, you might get sidetracked by everyday things when you’re supposed to be completing work tasks.

These constant distractions and interruptions can easily break your work focus.

Work-life boundaries get blurry

While 71% of remote workers believe it’s very important to set work boundaries, only a few can actually do it. When your home doubles as your office, it's tempting to answer emails late into the evening or check work tasks while making dinner.

Without a clear transition from home to work, it’s difficult to mentally switch between work and life mode. Oftentimes, your personal life bleeds into work time, or vice-versa, reducing your overall productivity or focus in both spheres of your life.

It’s easy to feel isolated

While not often acknowledged, the loneliness of remote work can silently chip away at your productivity. In fact, at least 23% of remote workers struggle with loneliness.

Remote worker isolated from team

‎The lack of casual office interaction can impact feelings of belonging and camaraderie. The absence of social energy reduces motivation and can make you feel less accountable. Moreover, it's harder to ask questions or get immediate feedback when needed.

Sometimes, you need that extra social push.

15 pro tips to be more productive at home

While remote work offers unbeatable flexibility, the key to staying productive is structure. Having structure will help you focus when it’s work time and turn off work mode when it’s time for you to live your personal life.

Take a look at our 15 expert tips to change the way you work at home:

1. Have a pre-work ritual

If you don’t have a physical routine to get you ready for work, create one for yourself. A pre-work ritual signals to your brain that it’s time to start work and focus.

Start your day with a consistent morning routine. It could be a short walk, a cup of coffee on the porch, or even a 10-minute stretch. A short mindfulness practice is a healthy habit that centers you for the day ahead, while a bit of physical activity gets your blood flowing and wakes you up.

Getting out of your PJs and getting dressed also helps with the mental shift to work mode.

2. Set daily goals and intentions

At the start of each day, determine your top three must-do tasks. This simple act gives your day a sense of purpose and direction. Having a clear intention for the day also helps you avoid decision fatigue.

Try these tips for setting daily intentions:

  • Write down your intentions to solidify them.
  • Be specific about what actions you need to take. Instead of "work on project," try "draft outline for the project proposal."
  • Review the previous day's goals to maintain your momentum.

A good way to keep track of your daily intentions is to review your goals at midday. A quick check-in lets you see if you're on track or need to adjust.

Using Motion’s project tracker, you can measure your goals and their progress. Keep yourself accountable and see how your daily actions contribute to bigger achievements.

Track goals and progress

‎3. Designate a space for work

While it might be tempting, don’t work in bed. This confuses your brain about when it's time to work and time to rest.

Instead, designate a specific area, even if it’s small, only for work. Doing so creates a physical and mental separation between work and leisure activities. Your brain will begin to associate that specific space with productivity and focus.

Remember to keep this space clutter-free and well-organized, too, as a messy environment can be distracting and reduce your concentration.

4. Set regular work hours

Setting consistent work hours makes it easier to manage your time and maintain a healthy work-life balance. You train your body and mind to switch into work mode, even when you’re at home.

Plan to do personal tasks outside of your designated work hours. This helps prevent those tasks from taking over your work time and allows you to focus fully. Additionally, block out personal time on your work calendar to reinforce boundaries.

Keep in mind that maintaining regular hours also keeps fellow team members aware of your availability. They grow accustomed to when you’re on and when you’re off, which can reduce unnecessary interruptions and support collaboration.

5. Prioritize high-impact tasks

The 80/20 rule, also known as the Pareto Principle, suggests that 20% of tasks generate 80% of your results. Identifying that 20% helps you maximize your time and effort, leading to greater efficiency and a stronger sense of accomplishment.

Spend your time on high-value tasks, and delegate low-value tasks to protect your time. Delegating frees up your time for tasks only you can do.

Motion can help you plan your day. It personalizes your schedule based on your tasks and priorities.

AI creates personalized schedule

‎6. Plan your day around your energy levels

When do you do your best work?

Identify your peak focus times and schedule your hardest tasks to complete then. That way, you're harnessing your natural energy for maximum productivity.

Schedule lighter tasks for times when your energy naturally dips.

Batching similar tasks together also improves your focus. For example, schedule all calls before jumping to emails. This saves you the mental cost of switching between different types of work.

7. Minimize distractions

Figure out what distracts you the most at home. Is it your phone, your dog, or maybe a messy room?

Identifying your biggest distractions will help you manage them.

If it’s difficult to practice self-restraint, use website or app blockers during focus periods — or even put your phone in another room, if necessary. Actively create a physical separation between distractions and work.

Techniques like Pomodoro that combine focused work blocks with short breaks can also help you stay on track.

While distractions are often inevitable, there is a way to take control of your time. Motion reschedules your day when interruptions happen so that you never have to worry about what to do next. Instantly receive a new schedule built around changed plans or unexpected tasks.

Reschedule day around interruptions

‎8. Set boundaries with your family and friends

It's up to you to communicate your work hours and expectations to your family members or roommates. Be upfront about when you need uninterrupted focus time. This helps them understand that you're working even though you're at home.

Have a specific signal that means "do not disturb," such as closing your door or having headphones on. This visual cue will help everyone in your household remember to respect your boundaries and let you focus.

9. Reduce app switching

You're writing a report when a Slack notification pops up. You answer the quick question. Then, you get an email about an upcoming project, followed by a Zoom call. By the time you get back to your report, it’s an hour later, and you've lost your train of thought.

Sound familiar?

Sixty-four percent of workers feel that their company uses too many communication platforms. The problem with app switching is that it fragments your focus and makes it harder to finish your work. Not to mention, it’s mentally exhausting.

Multitasking can also prolong the time it takes to complete tasks. Contrary to popular belief, our brains aren't great at multitasking. In doing so, we're actually just switching rapidly between tasks — and reducing our productivity in the process.

With Motion’s all-in-one management platform, you can handle tasks, track progress, schedule meetings, and communicate. This means no more jumping between apps and more focused time for getting things done.

10. Turn your brain on “airplane mode”

Going into airplane mode can be beneficial for your workday. Allocate periods for deep work. This focuses all your energy on the task at hand so you can produce high-quality results.

Block time on your Motion calendar for deep work. Having a visible time slot for these tasks signals to your colleagues that you're unavailable and helps you protect that focus time.

Block time for deep work

‎Here are some other ways to stay concentrated:

  • Close irrelevant tabs and windows to minimize visual distractions.
  • Turn off your phone or use a "work mode" setting.

11. Set micro-deadlines

You have an impending deadline and your stress level is skyrocketing, but you’re unsure where to begin. The task seems so big that it's almost paralyzing.

We’ve all been there.

In this scenario, try to break big tasks into smaller ones and assign each their own mini deadline.

Micro-deadlines encourage progress. They create a sense of accomplishment every time you complete something. And before you know it, you’re done.

Motion takes deadlines to the next level. Set realistic deadlines that you can meet, and get alerts when you’ve taken on too much work or set impossible targets.

Motion alerts deadlines

‎12. Take regular breaks

Sometimes, doing too much work at once can be counterproductive. It's important to step away from your screen and take short breaks to protect your mental health.

Moving your body boosts your energy level, and a few minutes of meditation can reset your mind during the day. Short walks, stretches, or even just focusing on your breath can also make a big difference. Make it a habit to build breaks into your schedule.

13. Welcome natural light and get outdoors

Exposure to natural light can boost your mood, energy, and focus. It also regulates your sleep cycle, helping you wake up more refreshed.

It’s a good idea to set up your workspace near a window so you can benefit from natural light throughout the day. Open those curtains or blinds and let the sun work its magic.

According to 21% of remote workers, their biggest struggle working remotely is staying at home because they don't have a reason to leave. Consider taking a short outdoor walk or your lunch break on the patio. This is a great way to get out of the house, get refreshed, and soak up some vitamin D.

14. Schedule check-ins with your team

Just because you work remotely doesn’t mean you have to work in isolation. Maintain a sense of connection and accountability with your team through regular team meetings.

It’s crucial for remote teams to be aligned on their objectives. Daily check-ins make sure everyone is working toward the same goals. Don't be afraid to ask for help when needed, too. Open communication leads to better collaboration.

Collaboration tools like Motion can help you stay in sync with your team. Track progress and communicate updates on one platform. Furthermore, Motion's meeting assistant shares everyone's availability and helps you schedule meetings at the ideal times.

Share availability and schedule meetings.

‎15. Reward yourself for small wins

Did you know you can rewire your brain to crave productivity? Celebrate each completed task, no matter how small, to keep yourself motivated.

Celebrating wins helps your brain associate productivity with positive feelings, making it easier to get started on the next task. You're essentially training yourself to enjoy the feeling of accomplishment.

Have a list of fun, simple rewards ready, too, like having a snack, taking a short walk, or spending a few minutes playing your favorite game on your phone.

Boost your at-home productivity with Motion

Stay in control of your workday, even at home. Stay focused and start achieving more with Motion today.

Vicki Chen
Vicki Chen is a content writer and marketer using proven storytelling methods to create high-quality copy and content for SaaS companies. When she's not writing, she's spending time with Taco, her rescue dog.
Written by Vicki Chen