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5 Tips for a More Productive Home Office

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Sarah Kaufman, Manilla.com
07.31.13

Photo: West Elm

This post was contributed by Manilla.com, the leading, free and secure service that lets consumers manage all of their bills and accounts in one place online or using the top-rated mobile apps.

Working from home has its advantages: no commute (so no traffic), flexible scheduling, and possibly fewer interruptions. But not having an office to travel to each morning can also mean the demise of your productivity because it can cause other distractions and make you less focused. If you’re lucky enough to work from the comfort of your own home, follow these tips to ensure you’re maximizing your productivity.

[More from Manilla.com: Manilla Mini: 5 Ways to Be More Efficient in the Morning]

1. Get Dressed As If You Were Leaving the House

While it can seem like one of the perks of working from home, working in your pajamas can quickly turn into a counterproductive disaster and major productivity killer. When you get up in the morning, take a shower and get dressed the same way you would if you were leaving to head to an actual office. Even if you’re just walking a few feet to your home office or desk, getting dressed will keep you focused, more ready for the day, and more on task.

2. Make It Brighter

Take a look around your home office and ask yourself: Is the lighting in here bright enough to feel motivated and excited for the day? Does it look like a regular office? Although you don’t want the lighting to be too bright or harsh, lighting that’s too dim can cause you to feel fatigued, demotivated and, ultimately, less productive.

[More from Manilla.com: How to Stay Productive When You Work from Home]

3. Define Your Workspace

Similarly to working in your pajamas, “working” from your comfortable couch can be appealing and make you feel more at home than ever. But the problem with making your sofa the desk is that you’re setting yourself up for major distractions: The TV is right there and you may not be sitting upright (so you may only be half awake). Consider setting up a desk and chair that faces a window so you can see outside, says Adam Riemer, a Manilla.com productivity contributor and marketing consultant. By not seeing anything in your house or apartment, you may be able to concentrate and get more work done.

[More from Manilla.com: How to Create Your Own Workspace Haven]

4. Avoid Attention-Grabbing Television Shows

If you’re the type of worker who enjoys background noise, then playing some music or leaving on the news can actually make you more productive through the day. But, avoid turning on a program or show that you’d actually watch because that can become a bigger distraction, Riemer said.

5. Don’t Skimp on Your Chair

Now that sitting on your couch is no longer an option for you, you might as well financially splurge on a chair that is worth sitting on. While you don’t need to break the bank to ensure your own comfort, it’s important to have a desk or office chair that doesn’t hurt your back or cause you pain every time you get up or down.

Sarah Kaufman is the editor-in-chief of the Manilla Blog at Manilla.com, the leading, free and secure service that helps you simplify and organize your daily life. Using just one password, Manilla lets you manage your finances, utilities, daily deals, travel and rewards programs, Netflix and magazine subscriptions, and more—all through Manilla.com or the top-rated mobile apps. Sarah is also a regular contributor to Yahoo! Finance, Good Housekeeping, Redbook, Woman’s Day, The Motley Fool, The Jane Dough and other major sites. For more productivity tools and tips, visit the Manilla Blog.

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