Tips for working productively at home

Working from home can offer increased flexibility and control over one’s workday. Conversely, working from home can require a lot of self-discipline, and it can be easy to fall into unhelpful habits.

Try some (or all) of these tips to enhance productivity when working from home:

  • Maintain routine and structure in your day – wake up and go to sleep at your usual time, change clothing for the workday, start and finish work on time, and eat meals away from your work computer
  • Have a dedicated workspace. Try to maximise natural light and airflow in this space. Aim to keep this workspace uncluttered and frequently remove materials that are no longer required
  • If you are unable to have a dedicated workspace, identify a dedicated ‘work zone’. At the end of the working day tidy this space up and put away your work items
  • Negotiate with the other members of the household who will work where and where meetings will take place. Be mindful and respectful of one another’s needs and preferences, and talk through issues in an open manner
  • Schedule uninterrupted time in your workday for tasks that require deep focus. Avoid checking emails, taking calls, looking at your phone, or browsing the internet during these times
  • Embrace single-tasking by focusing on one task at a time. Multitasking reduces effectiveness and efficiency. It is not possible to give our full attention to multiple tasks at once
  • Minimise the scheduling of meetings back-to-back. When this is not possible, aim to have five to 10 minutes break between meetings
  • Set boundaries with your time – take regular breaks during the workday, have time away from devices, and switch off work-related notifications outside of working hours
  • Deal with intrusive worries by having a designated ‘worry time’ in your day. When a worry occurs, write it down and come back to it at your designated ‘worry time’
  • At the end of each workday, write a to-do list for the following day. Review and revise this list throughout the day as required
  • To prevent work creeping into your evenings, decide what time you will finish work and stick to this. At the designated time, pack up and step away from work. To mentally and emotionally detach from work, do something that signals to you that the workday has ended
  • Be active and exercise daily. This does not need to be vigorous or high in intensity. Exercise is important for wellbeing. It helps us to manage stress, improves mood, enhances concentration and is good for our physical health
  • Keep good sleep routines. Aim for seven to nine hours of sleep each night. Be aware of how caffeine, alcohol and TV/digital devices might be impacting on your sleep and address unhelpful habits

The Solicitor Outreach Service – Help when you need it

The Solicitor Outreach Service (SOS) is an independent and confidential psychology counselling service for NSW solicitors. You don’t have to be a breaking point to access help.

NSW solicitors can call SOS on 1800 592 296 for access to:

  • Up to three counselling sessions with an SOS psychologist per financial year, paid for by the Law Society of NSW
  • 24/7 telephone crisis counselling with a psychologist.

The SOS psychologists are familiar with the challenges commonly faced by NSW solicitors./p>

If your or someone else’s life is in danger, phone 000 immediately.

Sources of information

Miriam Wyzenbeek is a Clinical and Forensic Psychologist, and the Law Society of NSW’s Wellbeing Manager.

First published Friday 20 March 2020
Updated on Wednesday 7 September 2022