Oh, productivity—so easy to attain when other people are watching, so hard to maintain when they’re not. Fortunately, there are some things you can do to help yourself:

  1. Make lists. You’d be amazed at all the professional people who don’t take advantage of this tried-and-true self-disciple tool. And make it the night before, just to be sure you’ve done it.
  2. Set timers. Need help keeping deadlines? Set it up on your laptop or online calendar with staggered alerts along the way—one week out, one day, three hours, etc. 
  3. Be early to meetings. Even if it’s only one minute before the Zoom meeting starts, make it a point to be the first one after the host to show up. You’ll be amazed at how much better you feel during the meeting by not being late.
  4. Wake up one hour earlier. One of the greatest temptations of working at home is to fudge that wakeup time. Don’t do it. As a matter of fact, you’ll be more productive all day by getting started 30-60 minutes earlier than usual because you’ll have fewer distractions from coworkers and family members.
  5. Get up often. If you don’t have a standup desk, get up and stretch at least twice per hour. It’ll save back pain and keep your blood circulating better, which will keep you alert longer and, yes, more productive.
  6. Plan your breaks. Instead of wandering to the kitchen out of sheer boredom, actually be your own best friend and put those breaks on your calendar. That way you can look forward to them instead of letting them just happen.