CEO, i am a brand®

Working from home sounds like a dream job, but workplace productivity can pose a major issue for distributed teams. When the only commute you have is walking from your bed to your desk, minuscule distractions can easily multiply when working from the comfort of your home. After approximately five years of working primarily from my home office, here are five ways I’ve increased my work productivity.

Create a workspace.
Create a comfortable workstation. Early on I made the mistake of working from my bed and sofa. I was too comfortable and often got distracted by a nap in the middle of the day. However, the best way to get into the mindset of “going to work” is to create a workspace, and treat your time there as a day at the office. By putting a desk in your room, or transforming your dining room into an office, you’ve created your very own workspace. In addition, you should organize your files and eliminate any clutter from your space to increase productivity – something that I continue to struggle with.

Organize your day.
When I first started working from home, I failed to plan my day and prioritize tasks properly. Now I use Evernote to create a schedule of my day, and Wunderlist to keep track of my daily to-do list. If you’re an entrepreneur with a distributed team, consider using project management tools such as Asana or Wrike to help your team stay in the loop and on task with group assignments.

Open your curtains and pull up the blinds.
According to a study, workers are more productive when exposed to natural light. I keep the curtains open and pull up the blinds to allow the natural light to brighten the room. “Light has an enormous effect on our physical and mental well-being,” says Stanley Felderman of Felderman Keatinge & Associates, a design studio he runs with Nancy Keatinge. The husband-wife duo prefers to use “an extensive amount of glass” in the offices they design.

Give social media the boot.
There’s no bigger time killer than apps and sites like Facebook and Twitter. [Insert crying face emoji here.] Thankfully, there are apps like HeyFocus that blocks Facebook and Twitter notifications. It’s a paid product but allows you a 14-day free trial. And if Reddit and BuzzFeed are your vices, SelfControl is a Mac app that prevents you from going onto distracting sites.

Share a workspace.
If your home still has too many distractions that a simple app can’t solve, it might be time for a change of scenery. For a more permanent solution, consider shared office spaces like Cove, WeWork, or UberOffices. For a monthly fee, you can work in a more structured environment.

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