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How to Be Productive at Home: Ten Steps to Mastering the At-Home Office

We’ve all been there, tossing around beneath our bedsheets, trying to muster up the courage to get back to work. Our planners are overflowing, deadlines are slowly approaching, and the list of goals is broadening. Especially when it comes to working your way to being self-employed or if you’re already you’re own boss, taking advantage of your workday is essential to your growth. I’ve always been the kind of person that favored working out of a coffee shop rather than working at home, and while this is sustainable for me because it’s so close to where I live, there will always be times where I don’t have the time to leave the house. Sometimes, you need to jump directly onto a conference call, meet a deadline that overshadows your to-do list, or find the motivation to get up and continue working on your passion project. I’ve got ten steps that will help you stay creative and get the work done at home.


1. Leave the Bed Behind

We’re all tempted to crawl right back into bed when we’re home working for the day, especially when we try to convince ourselves that taking our laptops to bed is a good idea. The first thing I do when I get up knowing that I won’t be leaving the house that day is make my bed and forget that it exists. I shut the bedroom door, set up my workspace, and get to work before I could start making excuses.

2. Create a Sustainable Routine That Inspires You to Work

It could be the cup of coffee that you look forward to every morning that gets you out of bed and in work mode. Take the first ten minutes of your work routine to plan out everything you have to do that day, so you’re not left wondering where to begin when it’s time to start.

3. Watch or Read Something That Jolts You Into Business Mode

While you’re sitting with your cup of coffee, just having planned out your day, and you still feel unmotivated, it’s probably a good idea for you to take a bit of time to read a quick article or watch a video that jolts you into getting the work done. This is a trick that gets me back to work and feeling ready to conquer the daily to-do list. I’m usually dedicating a half hour to get a bit of reading done, but if I’m pressed for time, I’d often watch a video that makes me want to get back to work. A creator I enjoy watching is Matt D’avella.

4. Out of Your Pajamas, and Get Dressed

I know this may not seem like it would make much of a difference, but trust me. When you’re trying to sift through your workload in your pajamas, you’re bound to feel tired. Starting the day the same way you would if you were heading to work can kickstart your motivation for the day.

5. Start With the Daunting Tasks

It’s easier said than done. We can spend far too long mulling over our daily to-do lists, worrying about which task needs to be handled first. It’s easy to lose track of time with busywork and all of the tasks that don’t have a place in your planner. Don’t create unnecessary work for yourself, start with the daunting tasks, and you’ll be on your way to crossing to-dos off in no time.

6. Set Up Your Creative Space for the Day

Taking it back to creating a sustainable routine, you’re going to need a space that’s comfortable where you’re going to be residing from the time you sit down to start up until the time the workday ends. I usually prefer the couch and the coffee table over a desk, spreading out all of my journals, planner, and various pieces that need editing. I want to see everything in front of me the same way I would if I were at work, and it helps me feel like I’ve set myself up for success.

7. Take Your Free Time Seriously

You’re allowed to take a break, but don’t give in to the urges to shut off your laptop and forget about your responsibilities for the day just because you’re at home. If you’re giving yourself a thirty-minute break, try to take that break in your workspace, so you don’t feel lured into the need to procrastinate.

8. Don’t Take a Nap

Please, no naps. If you were sitting at your desk at work, would you be napping? I know it can be challenging to stay away from the bed when you’ve given yourself a break, and I’m well aware that all work goes out the window the minute I decide to take a nap. Naps are for Sundays, days where I have nothing to do but tend to a few emails and free write. This has been the most challenging one to conquer as I work from home, but it’s been the most worthwhile.

9. Exercise Your Way to Replenishing Creative Energy

I’ve been fluctuating when it comes to spending time in the gym, and I know it replenishes my creativity when I take the time to exercise. Try using your exercise time as your break, because getting out of the house for a little while may even clear your head enough to evoke new ideas. 

10. Set a Time to Switch Off and Clock Out

This is the most important thing to remember: don’t work past your clock-out time. I know how easy it is to lose yourself in your work when you don’t have a set time to break away and go home, but it’s probably best that you give yourself a specific time to shut off for the evening. You don’t want your brain keeping you awake past midnight, interrupting your sleep with new ideas, when it may harm the following workday. You need rest to do efficient work, and by setting a strict time to leave the work “at the office” (which for me is at the coffee table), you’ll have the time necessary to wind down so you can be fresh for the following day. 

I hope that these tips help you get up and out of bed when you’re working from home! If you have any other tips, please do share them in the comments below.


Thank you for taking the time to read this post! Let’s stay in touch.

Follow me on Medium for more writing content or check out my website.

 Anisa Nasir is a freelance writer and aspiring novelist. She lives in Toronto, Canada with her husband and family. She’s the writer behind As She Writes.

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