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6 Productivity Tips to Help You Work Better From Home

3 min read

Stuck working at home? Learn how to be more productive and make the most of your day.
Stuck working at home? Learn how to be more productive and make the most of your day.

Essential Takeaways

  • Working from home is easier for some people than others.
  • But if you’re looking to add a bit more structure to your WFH routine, you might consider some of the tips below, courtesy of Team Ritual.

There are two types of people in this world: Those who love working from home, and those who would much rather conduct their daily business in the office. Some of the tradeoffs are obvious: Face-to-face communication is often more efficient, but at home, you also definitely learn which meetings could have definitely been emails. For some, the office environment lends a bit more structure to your day—but there’s also something to be said for taking calls in your coziest sweatpants.

No matter which camp you identify with, perhaps we can all agree on this universal truth: When you’re used to seeing home as the place where you unwind from the office, learning to flip the script and build a structured, productive workday from your living room is an invaluable skill set. Fortunately, we have a few pointers—some of which are backed by our very own Ritual fam—to get you started.

Tip #1: Get dressed for the day.

It doesn’t matter if you’re simply swapping your pajamas for your most casual daytime attire—engaging in this part of your usual morning routine might just help you maintain a sense of normalcy and purpose. Researchers have actually linked the clothes we wear to our self-perception in the office: Those who wear traditional business attire report feeling more authoritative and competent, for example, while those who opt for business casual feel friendlier. The point? What you wear really can have an impact on your mindset. (1)

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Tip #2: On that note, try to stick to the same routine you keep in the office.

Lauren, Ritual’s Sr. Manager of People Ops, swears by this strategy to add structure to her day while working from home. “I’ll start with an early morning walk to start thinking about the work day, work-block my tasks, make lunch mindfully, and close out with an evening walk to power down and into chill mode,” she says.

Tip #3: Create a designated work space.

We know, we know—the couch is calling. But Claire, our Sr. Director of Marketing, insists that it’s important to maintain some separation between home and office, even while you’re—well, at home. “While I like to move around the house and outside if possible throughout the day, I make sure to start and end the work day in the same place," she says. “This makes it feel like my work home base and still leaves the rest of our place feeling like a home, not an office.”

Tip #4: Work in sprints.

It can be exceedingly tricky to focus when you’re in walking distance to the fridge and all the other comforts of home. That’s where a classic productivity method can really come in handy. The Pomodoro Technique (a time management method that was first popularized in the ‘80s) invites you to set a timer for a “sprint”—usually 25 minutes—and commit to working on a single task without any distraction during that time. Then, you take a quick break (as in a few minutes) from your screen before sprinting again.

“When my to-do list is really cluttered, I find my productivity taking a hit because I’m trying to do a bunch of things at once,” says Victoria, Ritual’s Sr. Manager of Editorial Strategy. “This forces me to focus on one thing at a time, and I’m able to power through my tasks so much more efficiently.”

Tip #5: On the flip side, make the most of your breaks.

For some of us, getting into the workflow isn’t the challenging part—it’s remembering to take a breather every now and then. Consider Jackie, a manager on Ritual’s Customer Experience team, who likes to set alarms for music breaks, regular stretching, and mini workouts. She’s onto something: Studies have linked the highest levels of productivity to workers who take regular breaks throughout the day. (One recommended formula: 52 minutes of work followed by 17 minutes of the activity of your choice.) (2)

Tip #6: Prep lunches the same way you would for the office.

“Cooking during the day is nice, but it can take a lot of time—and not planning ahead could still leave you scrambling even if you’re sitting beside the fridge,” says Laura, our Director of Customer Lifecycle and Growth. Her strategy: Meal prep ahead of time, just as you would during any other day. That way, you can just grab your lunch from your fridge and go.

The bottom line

Remember that we’re all unique, so you’re ultimately the best judge of the productivity hacks that are most effective for you. Our advice? Start with the tips above on a trial and error basis—you might be amazed at how quickly they evolve into your go-to WFH routine.

References:

  1. Peluchette, J. V., & Karl, K. (2007). The impact of workplace attire on employee self-perceptions. Human Resource Development Quarterly, 18(3), 345–360. doi: 10.1002/hrdq.1208
  2. Evans, L. (2014, December 30). The Exact Amount Of Time You Should Work Every Day. Retrieved from Fast Company

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