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How to Stay Productive While Working From Home

Productivity | April 13, 2020 | By Tina Nguyen, MBA

With the craziness that is going on in the world, some of us have had to make the transition from an office space to working from home; or, for students, from the classroom to online schooling. It can be difficult to stay productive with the distractions we have at home, so here are a couple of tips that have helped me stay productive. I’ve grouped these into three categories: Attitude, Atmosphere and Agenda.


What we put into the day is what we get out of it. If we start the day sluggish and miserable, the day will be less productive. Some people don’t have the luxury to be working from home, so if we stay positive and focused, we can look forward to the rainbow after the storm.

Stick to pre-COVID routines.

Plan to have a good night’s rest. Instead of just rolling out of bed five minutes before the start of the day, try to wake up early, get ready, and have breakfast. We’ve had to shift to online conferencing for work and school, so let’s not look like we just woke up and rolled out of bed. 

Check-in with classmates and coworkers.

Start your mornings checking in to see how everyone is doing. This is a huge change for some of us, but it’s nice to give and receive emotional support during these trying times, and it can also help us fight emotional overwhelm.


I believe that your workspace affects productivity. If your workspace is cluttered and in a noisy area, this will lead to more distractions. Julia Cameron said it best: “When we clear the physical clutter from our lives, we literally make way for inspiration and ‘good, orderly direction’ to enter.”

Find the perfect workspace.

This consists of finding the area with the lighting you work best in. Setting up near a window, for example, will not only help you feel less cooped up all day, but it will provide you with nice, natural lighting. Choose to work from a desk, dining table, but never from your bed.

Find some background noise.

Sometimes it can get too quiet or too noisy, so finding the perfect soundtrack, podcast, or audiobook is ideal for tuning out unnecessary sounds. (My current Audible is ‘Talking to Strangers’ by Malcolm Gladwell, it keeps me focused throughout the day).

Take a break or have a change of scenery.

Step away from your workspace once in a while, so you don’t feel chained to your desk. Take the necessary breaks that will re-energize you to continue your day. A change of location might help too. If I’m in need of some fresh air, for example, I simply move to the back patio area.


In order to stay productive, I find it helpful to have a to-do list of what needs to be done. Starting the day off blindly will lead to dilly-dallying or time that could’ve been used productively. Create an agenda before starting the day or even at the end of the day outlining what needs to be done the next day.

Utilize checklists.

We personally use Asana to track what we need to accomplish by the end of the day, week, etc. There are other ways to plan your day, such as Todoist, the iPhone Reminders app, or even the old-school way of writing it down on a planner/post-it. There’s a sense of satisfaction when I’m able to mark something off my list.

Engage in a daily or weekly meeting.

Participating in a meeting with your direct supervisor or professor will lead to accountability. Share what’s on the agenda for today, what accomplishments you hope to achieve and what you are currently stuck on.

Hopefully with these three A’s, you’ll be staying productive as you discover some sense of control over your workday. Also, if you’re missing some sense of community while working from home, we encourage you to check out Common Desk’s Work From Home Membership.

Stay productive, get the job done, and we can all overcome this crazy life we’re living. We hope you all stay safe, healthy, and productive from home!

About the Author

Tina Nguyen, MBA

Account Manager, Clean Finances

Tina joined the Clean Finances team in 2018 after completing her M.B.A. from the University of Texas at Arlington. She also has her B.S. in Psychology with a Minor in Business Administration and Sociology from Texas A&M.

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