Working from home can be both a curse and a luxury depending on how good you are with time-management. Whether you’re self-employed or working remotely for a business, the option to remain in the comfort of your own home Monday through Friday is tempting. However, even with the ease and comfort that come with telecommuting, the option requires that you become disciplined and cultivate exceptional organization skills to successfully work from home. Luckily, even a traditionally unorganized individual can make their home a good workspace by following a few productivity tips and creating new habits.

Declutter And Organize Your Workspace

One of the big inhibitors of productivity is a cluttered or disorganized workspace. Although this may not be a conscious burden on you throughout the day, a messy desk or office can make it difficult to find what you’re looking for, which can lead to unnecessary stress and anxiety.

Even if you’re a person who likes a cluttered space because it feels more like your own, taking a few minutes each day to organize the paperwork, throw away garbage, and clear out your voicemails and emails to decrease the amount of unnecessary clutter you allow to take up your space.

If your home business deals with a lot of paperwork, it’s even more important to remain organized in your home office and to efficiently manage your hard copy files. Developing a digital storing process for paperwork is a standard practice at this point in our technologically driven world. Although you no longer need the actual paperwork to retain the proof and usefulness of information, there are still valid reasons to store the information they contain — including trend tracking and maintaining business records.

While the organization of your physical workspace may take precedence due to its immediate presence, your online workspace is just as important to your efficiency as your physical workspace. Depending on how much of your business is done online, the organization of this digital “office” may be even more critical to your success. A clean desktop and organized digital file folders can make a world of difference in how long it takes you to find information and documents when you need them.

When it comes to your browser, keeping any team apps you use to communicate with coworkers up to date and organized can also speed up your day. Set aside periodic times (weekly or monthly for example) to get rid of Google Doc files you don’t need, Slack chats that are no longer relevant, and go through and check off any tasks that you have captured in a task manager such as Trello or Asana that have been completed.

Create A Personal Schedule

While the organization of your physical and online workspaces is critical to your productivity, one of the most important aspects of remote productivity is your ability to manage your time. When you work from home, you’re often responsible for getting your work done at your own pace, which can be difficult without setting a realistic schedule for yourself. Instead of planning to get all of your work done within a few hours in the morning, schedule time for coffee and going over files to get your day rolling before you try to dive into the real work, just as you would in a company office space.

Companies often implement health initiatives and break guidelines for employees to take throughout the day to avoid overworking them — be sure to do the same for yourself! Without office distractions, it can be easy to spend hours on your computer without looking away, which can be terrible for your eyes.

Experts suggest taking your eyes off your computer screen for a minimum of 20 seconds every 20 minutes, and focusing your vision on something at least 20 feet away in order to avoid digital eye strain. You can do this by looking out the window or to the opposite side of the room, giving your eyes a much needed break. While a full break every 20 minutes is probably unnecessary, scheduling a short break every hour can also help give your eyes and mind a rest.

Increasing your time awareness by tracking how you spend your time can actually help you feel less busy and stressed. When you dedicate big blocks of time to work, it can be easy to forget the unrelated phone calls or casual chatting that occur throughout the day that may distract you from work. By being aware of these interruptions and the breaks you’re taking, you are more likely to feel in control of your day and how much time you’re really spending on work.

Enjoy A Balance

To increase your satisfaction and work productivity at home, it’s important to create a balance in your work day. To be efficient and do your best work, you should feel comfortable in your workspace.

Staying organized is super important when you work from home, but it’s also important to have a personal, positive work atmosphere that will help you thrive as you work. Your office should be comfortable, but not so cozy that you’re going to want to nap at your desk!

Working from home may be the dream of many, but in order to stay productive while working from the comfort of your house, you need to be disciplined. Your home offers many distractions and a freedom that can sometimes make it hard to stay focused and keep yourself from overworking. By creating decluttered physical and virtual workspace, sticking to a schedule, and finding the balance between having a professional workspace and home comforts, you can can successfully and productively work remotely.

Image by Serpstat

This is a guest post by Adrian Johansen. Adrian loves to share her experiences through writing. She’s always looking for better ways to organize her space and time. If you want to see more of her writing, check her out on Twitter!

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