5 Tips for Working from Home Effectively

Let’s agree on this one thing: there is a big difference between being busy and being productive. Agreed?

Organizing the stacks on our desks, flipping through unread reports, cruising 683 undeleted emails or updating outdated contact lists are tasks available to us all. We can get and stay busy for hours at a time doing things like these. Yet, a reckoning comes at the end of each day when we ask ourselves, “Just what did I do all day? What did I accomplish?”

Busy, Productive or Effective?

And there it is! The difference between busy and being productive. Being productive at work is different from being busy. And now, with a larger percentage of people working from home, the line between the two can easily blur. Updating your contacts list or doing any other task is only productive if…

  • you decided to do it and didn’t just wander into it,
  • had a specific purpose for doing it and
  • completed the task.

There you have it—the 3 differences between being busy and being productive.

Now for your daily guide for being your most effective.

5 Tips for Working from Home

to do list - tips for working from home

1. Decide what you will do today. Be clear which tasks have a deadline created by others and which are your own deadlines.

2. Write it down. Yep! Don’t just think it, make a written, printed daily to-do list. Keep it short, 1, 2 or 3 must-dos is likely enough.

3. Be specific about the purpose of each of your daily must-dos. How does this task serve you, your customer or your colleagues? Note that purpose on your to-do list; it always helps to be reminded how your work is beneficial and to whom.

4. Complete the work. Good intentions are important, but not enough if you don’t finish what you intended to finish.

5. Take a breather. Enjoy the fact that you did what you meant to do and make sure that you communicate the completion of your work to the people that will benefit from it. They want to enjoy that moment too.

I talk daily with senior business leaders about their personal successes and struggles. As an executive coach, I have firsthand knowledge of the difficulties and frustrations even the most elevated executives have with staying effective at a time of shifting priorities and unknown future challenges.

“Getting done what you planned to get done is the very definition of effective.”

Follow these tips for working from home, and accomplish what you set out to do. Now, more than ever, it is best to create achievements every day. We can all celebrate that.


This article was written by Karyl Innis, who is leading the way for men and women to communicate more effectively about who they are, what they do and how well they do it. She is a career brand expert. Karyl wants all of her clients and followers to recognize their personal brands, create their own true messages and vigorously deploy those messages to accelerate their career growth. Karyl is the CEO and founder of The Innis Company, a career consulting firm focused on building stronger, more distinguished careers for their clients around the world. She is known for her work with executives in identifying their personal brands, elevating their presence and accelerating their careers. Contact her at, through her website or LinkedIn.


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