Happy Friday peeps!

I am writing this just after midnight as I sit in front of the computer after a loooong work day. As I close out this hectic yet productive day, I thought back to a time where I would sit for 10-12 hours and not even get 1/4th of the work done I did today. Thank goodness those time are gone and I’ve found a nice stride.

Having worked from home(moonlighting after my regular 9-5) nearly all of my post college days(over a decade now), I definitely have had my shining moments as well as my ugliest defeats sitting right in this chair. When I left my government gig in 2015 to travel to SE Asia, I found it even more important to maintain a productive work schedule even though my freedom from the chains of my desk were no longer there. Working and getting things done from a home or non-office type of environment can be very tricky and has to be managed well for optimal success.

In a time when the internet has bridged connections despite distances, the idea of work has been revolutionized. One of these progressive changes is the concept of working from home. I know I know, it’s not a new thing now but it is becoming much more common as the years go by.

A lot of companies assess the viability of their employees working remotely and allow it as long as it does not affect their operations and the production from the employee. There are some upsides and downsides but overall, I believe the flexibility can do more good than not.

Whether you are working for a Fortune 500 company or or creating a small start-up in your garage, you can be just as productive at home as you could be in a traditional office.

If you are one of those who have the luxury of working from home, here are a few tips/tricks/hacks that you can keep in mind to keep your productivity soaring!

1. Establish Boundaries
To many people, working from home can be difficult to do as it can blur the lines between work and personal life, making them fear that their entire home will become their workplace. However, establishing boundaries is the best way to prevent this. You do not want to find office-related documents when looking for a movie to watch during your free time, so designating a workstation is the first step. It is also important to set your hours to avoid working over or under time. Having a dedicated work space for me is a critical component of at-home work success.

2. Create a Routine
For some, the everyday commute is a vital aspect of their work routine which helps them get in the work mindset. If you are home-based, a good alternative to this is to create a pre-work ritual. This can include reading inspirational material, drinking coffee, doing some stretches, arranging your workstation and listing down your goals for the day. This routine helps condition your brain to understand that once you are done with these tasks, the next order of business is to work. It’s all about priming the mind for the task(s) at hand.

3. Prepare Your Lunch
A lot of people skip breakfasts at home and opt to grab a to-go meal which they eat during the commute or once they arrive at the office. When you work from home, you have the liberty to prepare your own meals at your own time. Taking the time to cook your lunch is helpful. More than this, it helps boost your morale knowing that you are taking better care of yourself by eating right and treating your body to a healthy meal. It also helps break the day up a bit into two distinct working timeframes.

4. Gamify Your Work
When employees slack off, they are told to separate work from play. However, studies by a leader in business gamification shows that this process has improved the productivity and goals of nearly 90% around 86%, respectively. You can apply this in your home-based job by assigning rewards to challenges. Used to finish a task in an hour? Challenge yourself to do it in 45 minutes in exchange for a treat or a longer break. This reward system helps release dopamine, the happiness hormone, encouraging you to do better to achieve that continuous feeling of satisfaction.

5. Use Productivity Software
With the prevalence of technology, you might want to utilize these resources not only for work and entertainment but also to improve your performance. In the spirit of gamifying your work, you can use applications such as Habitica, which takes RPG games’ format. It allows you to input tasks and gives you experience points for completing them. You also get to level up and buy in-game equipment. Other similar types of programs you can use include note-taking, collaboration and calendar applications. I also love the pomodoro technique, where you work for 25 mins and then take either a 5 or 10 minute break. You can use the free online web app here.

6. Manage Your Notifications
Employers might worry that their staff will go under the radar once they start working at home. You can assure them that you are doing your part by promptly responding to communications such as emails, instant messages and even phone calls. Make sure that your notifications for these services are on during working hours. If you are worried that these will invade your personal time, you can use a timer app for notifications which automatically turns them off after a designated time. Just see to it that you process your notifications consistently during your assigned hours and you are good to go.

7. Get on Your Feet
If your job requires you to sit for long periods of time, it is imperative to make sure that you get up and stretch your legs every so often. Some people stand up and take a 5-minute walk after sitting for 30 minutes. Others may choose to use a standing workstation which lends your desk a comfortable height for working. Doing breathing exercises and full body stretches can also be a good idea for those with limited space.

8. Take Breaks Often
Lastly, when work becomes too overwhelming, never forget to take breaks. Eating your lunch is a must as it provides sufficient energy to help you get through the rest of the day. Using breaks as a reward can also be an effective strategy to make sure that you don’t get burnt out. However, make sure that you take breaks in moderation as it can lead to tons of backlog and a blurred work-life boundaries when excessively done. With the combination of the smart use of technology and discipline, you can enhance your productivity and morale even when working at home. In fact, you can even have an improved work-life balance if you use your resources well enough.

By trying out these activities, there is nothing stopping you from making the most of your time at home, on and off work.

What are some of the things that you do to help keep your productivity high while working from home? I would love to hear in the comments.