At WiseGEEK, we're committed to delivering accurate, trustworthy information. Our expert-authored content is rigorously fact-checked and sourced from credible authorities. Discover how we uphold the highest standards in providing you with reliable knowledge.

Learn more...

What are Some Tips for Increasing Productivity for Those Who Work from Home?

Sheri Cyprus
Sheri Cyprus

Self-employment that involves working from home is popular in today's culture and can be a profitable way to make a living. What is forfeited in benefits from traditional on-site employment such as paid medical and paid vacations is often more than made up for in being able to stay home to raise children and/or avoid high transportation and clothing costs. However, low productivity when working at home can have a severe effect on monthly income. Productivity for those who work from home can be increased by increasing billable hours, practicing proper time management, remaining organized, and staying focused on work tasks rather than home tasks during working hours.

Understanding the difference between billable and non-billable hours is the first step in increasing productivity when working from home. Billable hours refer to time spent on tasks that you can bill directly to your client or customer. For example, time spent on website design for a client's website which you are being paid to design is billable; time spent filing and making sales calls is not billable time since you cannot bill the client for those tasks.

Good time management increases the income of people who work from home.
Good time management increases the income of people who work from home.

Many people just beginning to work from home make the mistake of thinking that because they are busy all day that they are being productive in their work. Keeping a notebook with separate columns to track time spent on billable and non-billable hours is a good way of understanding whether each working day is being used productively. More time spent on billable tasks rather than non-billable tasks might be needed in order to increase productivity to earn the amount of income desired.

People who work from home should keep a workplace that is separate from the living quarters in their home.
People who work from home should keep a workplace that is separate from the living quarters in their home.

For example, if your income is based on charging $30 (USD) per hour, but you are making $60 (USD) less per day than you need, you can make up the difference by adding two more billable hours to your workday. If you can increase your productivity even further by doing your work faster, you can earn even more money. The savings may even allow you to hire someone to do some of your non-billable office tasks such as filing and bookkeeping.

Good time management and organizational skills help increase productivity. Time spent looking for papers and supplies can be better spent on billable work. Save the amount of time spent checking and reading mail and email by planning certain times of the day to do these tasks. Lengthy telephone calls can also eat away productive, billable time so keep calls as short and as planned as possible.

A big productivity blocker for many who work from home, especially those just starting to work from home, is doing housework throughout the day. Not only are household jobs non-billable, they distract from productivity for your business because they have nothing to do with the business. It is absolutely crucial to separate work hours from home hours and your business from the rest of your home. Achieving maximum productivity requires a focused approach to work.

Discussion Comments


@SurfNTurf - I just wanted to say that I love to get up early, and I think that another time waster is the internet and talking on the phone. I have to completely block these things out when I am working.

I only answer the phone if it is my husband or my children’s school and I don’t put on the television set because it will take me twice as long to do my work because I can’t help but look up at the screen every now and then and then I lose my focus.

I try to put together a list of everything that I have to do and prioritize it that way only the critical things get done first and the rest can wait. I think that once you have a system in place then working from home should be no different than working in an office.

I know that some people that work from home even go as far as to dress in a suit so that they can feel like they are in an office environment. I don’t do that but I do try to act like I am going to an office and go to my office at home and get to work.

Since this is my designated work space I know that when I go into that room I am getting right to work.Having a designated work space can also help you become more productive because the more organized you are the easier it will be to focus and attain your goals.


@Bhutan- I agree that getting up early gives you the psychological boost to become more productive in your day. I think that when you work from home some people have difficulty with the flexibility and they become less productive.

I think that writing down your goals on a calendar will keep you motivated. I always tape my favorite shows so that when I finish working, I can watch them while I clean. This gives me something to look forward to when I finish.

I also don’t feel like I am missing out on watching my favorite show because I can watch it whenever I please. I think that when you work from home you really have to be organized and have a system.

Since I am most productive in the morning, I usually use the early morning and sometimes the entire morning to get my work done and then after lunch I usually clean my house.

If I set as side time every day I usually only have to spend about one hour cleaning. This way I am not overwhelmed with the amount of work that I have to do.


@Icrecream17 - I agree and I have to say that getting up early helps me meet my goals faster. I like to get up around 4:00 AM to work because everyone in my household is sleeping and I can get a lot of work done at that time. I also feel really happy when I get my work done early in the day because I have more time to do what I want.

It gives me more time to accomplish other tasks such as cleaning and running errands. I always schedule my work first thing in the day that way nothing will interfere with me making my goals.

If I were to schedule my work day later then something could come up. I also dedicate this time specifically for work and nothing else. That means I don’t have the television on or check my emails.

This is important because if you were in a traditional job working in an office you would never think of doing these things while working so why do them when you are at home?


I have to say that when you work from home it is best to have a set schedule dedicated for your work. Scheduling this time and blocking it out allows you to be productive and reach your work goals.

Understanding the amount of time that you need to make your financial goals is important. Many people that work from home may have a daily financial goal that they have to meet or they may be measuring their earnings by their hourly wage.

Once this timeframe is set aside then it is important to meet this schedule everyday just like you would a traditional job. Your productivity measurement can be based on your actual earnings. This is the best way to consider measuring productivity because the end results is what matters.

Post your comments
Forgot password?
    • Good time management increases the income of people who work from home.
      By: Martinan
      Good time management increases the income of people who work from home.
    • People who work from home should keep a workplace that is separate from the living quarters in their home.
      By: NOBU
      People who work from home should keep a workplace that is separate from the living quarters in their home.