As we all get more accustomed to the new normal, it is important that we also focus on ways to excel in this unique time. For many of us, this includes having to work from home. This, however, does not mean we need to stop working or be less productive. In fact, there are studies that show that workers are more productive when working from home. Here are the best ways to maximize your productivity while working from home.

Make a schedule

One of the biggest problems with working from home is that it requires a level of self motivation that many of us are not used to. When we are in the office, there is the peer pressure to work and the change of scenery helps put us in the working mindset. Without having a solid plan for our day, it can be difficult to remain motivated and easy to become distracted. It can be helpful to make yourself a daily schedule with short-term goals, as well as a weekly schedule with longer-term goals. Focusing on completing these small tasks will help keep you motivated to remain productive throughout the day.

Take breaks

While it is important to make a schedule to prevent yourself from getting distracted, working from home can also be difficult because you will not have others around  to remind you to take a break. Studies show that taking breaks help promote productivity. The Pomodoro technique is a popular way to take breaks without wasting too much time. The five steps of the technique are as follows:

  1. Think of a task that needs to be accomplished
  2. Work on it for 25 minutes without interruption
  3. After the 25 minutes are up put a check by the task
  4. Take a 5 minute break (walk around your house, look away from your screens if you are on a computer). This marks the end of one “Pomodoro”
  5. Every four “pomodoros,” take a longer break

Continue doing this until your work day has ended.

Although it may seem tempting to work continuously for hours on end, make an effort to take breaks, as it will prevent burnout and mental strain. This is especially important when many of us working from home spend an extended time looking at our computer screens.

Maintain working relationships

Working from home does not mean you should no longer build relationships with your co-workers. Try setting up one or two short meetings a day with different co-workers to check in on them to see how their work is going. This is especially important for those who are working on remote internships and have likely not met their new co-workers yet. Take advantage of this opportunity to reach out online to members of your organization that you may have not been in contact with if you were at the office. It can be a great chance to build relationships that may not have happened otherwise.

Maintain a set working space.

Maintain a set workspace to help limit the amount of distractions you have throughout your day. I would suggest not doing your work in your bedroom, living room, or anywhere that you are accustomed to relaxing. Although it may be difficult to find a quiet space for some, especially when schools are no longer in session, working in a room without others can be very helpful to minimize distractions. Having a designated workspace will help put you in the right mindset to start working and not get distracted by the many leisure activities in your home.

Make the most out of the opportunity.

Working from home does not have to be a reason to limit productivity. Thankfully, with the help of reliable video conferencing, work can continue nearly as planned. Perhaps we can look at this as an opportunity to accomplish more than we would have if we were working from the office. For one, you save the time devoted to commuting to work. This can give you an extra hour a day that you can spend on a project that you have been pushing off for a while. You also may save time by taking shorter lunch breaks because you are steps away from your own kitchen.

Finally, we should be thankful that technology has allowed many of us to keep our jobs. While we are certainly living through a very tough time, maintaining healthy work habits and relationships are imperative to have a successful work from home experience!