How To Be Productive When Working From Home

By Lauren Amico

As we restart school a little differently this year, many of us are grappling with how to set up a productive WFH (work from home) environment. Plenty of people fantasize about working from the comfort of their own home, foregoing their commute in favor of more sleep, family, or exercise time. But working remotely is a double-edge sword — sure, you get to stay home, yet it can also be harder to focus on actually working. Below are some practical suggestions to help you set up a learning space at home to study, do homework, or attend online classes.

  1. Location, location, location. Choose your study location based on your learning preferences. If you prefer silence, a spare room or your bedroom could be good options. If you enjoy some background noise, consider choosing a spot in the kitchen or outside. 
  2. Eliminate distractions. To avoid interruptions, try turning off your phone and social media when you’re learning, and having the TV off as well. You can download apps on your computer, such as Self-control, to block websites for a short period of time while you work. For some, playing music may help increase focus too. 
  3. Make it comfortable. Choose a chair that you can comfortably sit in for long periods of time, and ensure you have a desk or other flat surface that can accommodate your books, laptops, and other learning supplies. As senior Sophie Stumacher suggests: “I like to keep a glass of water by my side so I don’t have to get up during a lesson.” Working on your bed can lead to trouble falling/staying asleep at bedtime, and also prevents you from truly taking on a work-time mindset. Harvard Business Review’s Guide to Being more Productive mentions that failing to establish boundaries between your relaxation and work spaces may start to make you feel like you’re always at work and losing a place to come home to.
  4. Stay organized. Buy a planner to keep track of important assignments and due dates. Using reminders on your phone or Google Calendar can be helpful, as can an old-fashioned paper planner. Be sure to include time for breaks, meals, and physical activity in your schedule.

Everyone works differently, so be patient and give yourself time to adjust. Happy blended learning!