13 Tips That’ll Make Working from Home Feel Slightly More Productive

updated Apr 9, 2020
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Working from home can be a blessing and a curse. It’s a privilege to have the ability to do your job from the comfort of your own home, but it’s not always as easy as stepping into a home office and churning out a solid eight hours of work. If you live in a small space, get distracted easily, have a collaborative or creative job, or work best with when surrounded by other people, you might ask yourself, “How am I supposed to get anything done? How can I still feel like a real person?”

I live in a studio and sleep on a Murphy bed, so when I work from my apartment, I’m at the same table where I eat and do puzzles, and sometimes catch myself longingly staring at my bed (I try to put it away as often as possible, I promise). While, again, I’m grateful I even have this option, I also want to make sure I’m being as productive as I would be in the office, where creative ideas bounce off each other and I have my very nice little monitor/desk setup. Since many Apartment Therapy staffers work remotely full-time or some of the time, I asked a bunch of them for their best WFH tips.

If you’re working from home for the foreseeable future, or just want some good productivity tips, here are some to consider:

1. Open your windows

“I open the window in my living room. I go stir crazy if I’m inside for too long, but hearing sounds and getting a breeze helps me feel like I went outside even if I didn’t.” —Rachel Otero, Social Media Editor

2. Try to go out for lunch

“It makes me feel like I’m on vacation even if I’m not.” —Eric Soll, Chief Product Officer

3. Know thyself

“If a messy room makes you want to clean, don’t do work in the messy room. If you procrastinate, do the hard tasks first.” —Adrienne Breaux, House Tour Editor

4. Create—and stick to—rituals

“Rituals are important. Do something to signify that it’s work time and then something to signify that it’s home time. I make coffee and put on music to tell myself that it’s work time; at the end of the day, I go outside and then it’s home time. Make a ‘commute’ for yourself. Also, if you have to do laundry and will think about doing it all day, do it in the morning. That’ll make it a way more productive day, even if it’s 20 minutes shorter.” —Taryn Williford, Lifestyle Director

5. Try to make your home one you never want to leave

“You need to love your home. I never want to leave my house, partially because I’m introvert and partially because I love my space.” —Tara Bellucci, News & Culture Editor

6. Change up your scenery

“I somehow have two desks, a dining room table, and sofa with coffee table in my small apartment, so I move around to keep it dynamic.” —Danielle Blundell, Home Director

7. Fake a workspace if you don’t have a desk or monitor

“I have a Bluetooth mouse and keyboard I use with my laptop when I work from home so it kind of feels like I’m at my work desk. It really helps.” —Terri Pous, Managing Editor

8. Get dressed like you’re going into an office

“I’m a firm believer in the power of the pants. When I work from home, I get up, do my hair, put makeup on, and have to wear normal clothes. It makes a big difference.” —Rebecca Longshore, Director of Audience Growth

9. Oh, and never turn your TV on

“Don’t do it while you’re working. Ever.” —Adrienne Breaux, House Tour Editor

10. And definitely keep your back to your TV if you have to be in the same room as it

“You need to have your back to your TV if it’s a draw for you.” —Tara Bellucci, News & Culture Editor

11. Stick to your usual schedule

“I give myself same lunch hour and same stop time, even if I start early. In fact, I keep a firmer schedule than ever.” —Maxwell Ryan, Founder & CEO

12. Minimize clutter as much as you can

“I make sure everything isn’t cluttered, otherwise I’d just be focused on that and stressing about it. Even something small, decluttering the coffee table while coffee maker is going, makes me feel like I can focus.” —Emma Glubiak, Social Media Manager

13. And set boundaries with your SO (or whomever you live with)

“Cohabitating and working when my husband is home can be hard. He’s a big talker while he works, but I’m not. I have to tell him that even though I’m physically at home, he should pretend like I’m not. It can be helpful to set those boundaries between work time together and home time together.” —Laura Schocker, Editor-in-Chief