Many of us have gone from working in an office to working from home in the past year. While working at home definitely has its benefits: hello furry coworkers and short commute, it can be harder to be productive working at home, as distractions are all around us.

At Health Coach Institute, we pride ourselves in having a fully remote workforce of over 250 strong, so you could say we know a thing or two about how to productively work from home.

We also know one of the main reasons why SO many of our students choose to become a Health and Life Coach is because of the opportunities to work from home and the flexibility that comes with it.

Here are our 10 best tips on how to stay productive (and sane) while working from home.  

How to Stay Productive While Working from Home

  1. Designate a proper work space or area in your home

It’s important to create a space at home that looks and feels like a workplace. In an ideal world you would have enough space for a desk in a separate space, away from where you sleep. Setting yourself up in a place where you can be productive and inspired is key. Working from your dining room table, your couch, or (um-hum) your bed, probably isn’t going to cut it. Designate a set space, if you don’t have an extra room, for your new “office”, that way you have a place to “go”. This tells your brain, “it’s time to work” when you sit down in that space and helps set boundaries with other co-workers or kids in the house.  

  1. Add some fresh decor to your home “office”

This might seem silly, but it could be worth investing in some new decor to help get you inspired too. Decorate your workspace with things that motivate you. Pictures of loved ones, motivational quotes, and travel photos can help keep you optimistic and on task. Plants are also a great addition to your new office as they clean the air and help lower stress. Plus if you don’t have a corner office with a view, it’s nice to have some nature nearby. If you can afford it, splurge for items that can help with productivity like a monitor, noise cancelling headphones, or an ergonomic chair.  

  1. Create a daily work routine that works for you

Getting out of bed for work is challenging enough, but when your office is only a few steps from bed it may be even harder to motivate yourself. That’s where routine comes in. After your alarm goes off, start your day the same day every day, whether it’s taking a walk, making coffee, or taking a shower. Over time your body will associate this action with waking up and make it more difficult for you to fall back asleep. Also, do your best to start and end work around the same time every day. 

  1. Get dressed before you start work—no, really

Getting ready for the day also tells your brain it’s time to start your day. It might be super tempting to jump right into emails in your pj’s but getting dressed in work appropriate clothes will help you get in the right mindset for work. We recommend taking a shower, changing out of your pj’s (even if it’s into yoga pants) and putting on a nice shirt, so you feel ready for the day. Put on a little makeup, and brush your hair, so you feel confident and excited to turn on your camera when you have conference calls.

  1. Don’t be afraid to take real breaks, including lunch

Do your best to take time away from your screen and take frequent breaks throughout the day. We highly recommend getting outside of your house if possible—go for a walk and get some fresh air. If you can only take a short break, a quick stretch, 10-minute at-home workout, or meditation is a great reset. Studies show people are more productive when they take a break at least every 90 minutes. Moving energizes you and can help prevent you from hitting that 2pm slump. Any distance from your work space allows you to recharge and ground yourself.

  1. Find time to connect with co-workers

The office can be a socially stimulating environment and offers a chance to catch up with your coworkers between breaks. You still need that interaction and connection, instead of all business, all the time. Socialize with co-workers by using services like Slack and ask them how they’re doing or about their family. Get to know them outside of regular meetings. Virtual coffee chats and happy hours are also a fun way to connect with your team, even for 15 minutes.

  1. Communicate often and clearly with coworkers 

Managers should take time to reach out to their team to see how they’re adjusting to working from home, because it can definitely be an adjustment. It is equally important that you be honest and direct with their managers around work expectations. Open and frequent communication is more important than ever because it can be harder to keep your home life separate from your work, when your work is at your home. Let your manager know your “working hours” and if you have an appointment and will be away for a while, or need to go run an errand. Obviously, working from home with kids is an entirely different challenge, but frequent communication with your boss will ease the stress and let them know what you’re dealing with.

  1. Find a way of communicating that works for everyone 

Between video calls, emails, texts, and phone calls it’s important you find a way that is most effective. Be mindful of how others prefer to communicate to make sure your information is properly received. It’s okay to wrap up a call by asking “Can you please send me an email of what exactly you need from me?” Understanding your assignment clearly saves time later and helps avoid miscommunication. 

  1. Limit your distractions

It might be tempting to have your TV on in the background, but it might distract you more than you realize. It’s also very easy to get sucked into spending time checking social media. Find a solution that works for you. Try to turn off notifications, delete apps, or even put your phone in a different room so you can focus and get your work done. You can also set a timer to allow for proper breaks where you indulge in a TV episode or catch up on texts from friends. 

  1. Be mindful of your eating habits when working at home

Unnecessary and consistent snacking is common when you work from home. It’s important you don’t give into your stress-eating impulses and maintain an eating schedule as close to your normal work days as possible. If you can, treat yourself to a proper lunch break where you close your laptop and enjoy your food. 

Enjoy a Rewarding Career as a Health and Life Coach with HCI

Dreaming of a career where you can work from home (or anywhere in the world) and make an impact in others lives? We definitely think Health and Life Coaching is one of the BEST careers on the planet for those reasons: flexibility, autonomy, and purpose. 

Learn more about starting a career as a Health and Life Coach and how you can make your dream a reality.