Complete Productivity Guide for Working From Home
Because of the pandemic, many people find themselves working from home. Some were more than happy to do so, others not so much. As expected, the change brought about varying emotions and reactions.
By Kristine Manjares
Without a clear solution to Covid-19, working from home is likely becoming a permanent versus temporary work scenario. A recent survey from Gallup reveals that more than half of at-home workers would instead continue working remotely as much as possible, even if restrictions on business closures are lifted. The survey indicates that the majority of leaders are okay with allowing their employees to work remotely.
While more companies and employees are warming up to the idea, will working from home pose challenges in warranting full focus and maximum productivity output? The work environment does play a massive factor in achieving this.
For instance, in the company office, there are many external sources of distractions. But the management team can easily help you get rid of them by imposing rules and regulations to get you to focus on meeting your goals.
At the home office, however, you can become your own worst enemy. With only yourself to hold you accountable, how do you ensure you get stuff done?
Whether you’re a front line employee, a manager, or a business owner, you can benefit from the strategies we’ve put together on this guide to boost your productivity even while working from home.
Set up your home office
Find a room or a corner in your house and make it your designated workspace. Segregating a space where you can work signals your brain that you’re in the right place and help you become more productive.
Set up physical boundaries
Distractions are expensive. Every time you’re distracted from something you’re working on, it takes about 20 minutes to regain your focus.
Close your office doors or set up boundaries. Hang a Do Not Disturb sign to let everyone know in the household that you cannot be disturbed unless it is an emergency.
Shower and get dressed
Just because you’re working from home doesn’t mean you should go to your workstation straight from bed, in your pajamas. Shower and get dressed as if you’re preparing to go out to work. It’s about creating the proper brain triggers to get you into work mode.
Go out for a walk or exercise
Start your day with a walk outside, in a nearby park, or around the neighborhood. This act ensures you get some sun and fresh air daily. Doing this provides many benefits, including a better mood while boosting your immune system and intensifying your creativity.
When you’re working from home, it might be even more important to use time blocking to schedule your day because you’re the only one holding yourself accountable.
Time blocking helps to keep you focused on working on the specific tasks you’ve blocked away time to work on.
Set your working hours and stick with it as much as possible. It helps to develop productive habits while working from home.
Manage your time and energy
You can also schedule tasks according to your energy levels.
Identify your most productive hours or peak performance period, usually a 3 to 5-hour window when you feel energetic, motivated, and focused. This window is the time of day that you should dedicate to working on your most crucial tasks.
Most people find their peak performance period two hours after waking up. You might have a different cycle, but it’s essential to figure it out. Aligning with your peak performance period will have a significant impact on your success.
List down 1-3 tasks to accomplish for the day
Get to work with a list of things you need to accomplish. Have your list handy and visible, checking your tasks off as you complete them. Then you have a sense of direction and accomplishment over your day. At a bare minimum, decide on that one big thing you must accomplish to call this day a success.
Avoid doing non-work tasks during work hours
Don’t be tempted to multitask like cleaning the countertop or tidying up a bit in-between Zoom or Skype calls. Doing so will distract you from working productively. It would help if you created a clear distinction between non-work tasks and work-work tasks.
To make sure your day will be organized and productive, prepare what you need like the clothes you will wear and your food ahead of time, so you don’t get distracted thinking about what meal to cook or spending hours cooking your food when you should be working.
Block social media sites while you work. Make a conscious effort to block your access to websites or social media during a predetermined time to keep you focused while working.
Implement systems and utilize technology
On top of establishing habits and routines, you can take advantage of innovative technological tools to automate some tasks to boost your productivity.
Take regular breaks
If it’s time for a break, step away from your computer, go for a quick walk or do some stretching. You’ll feel recharged and more focused when you get back to your workstation. If you cannot go out, take 5 minutes to stand, stretch, and drink some water. Such simple steps can do wonders for your focus and productivity.
Work from home set up is here to stay even as we move past the pandemic. It will take a few adjustments in order to get used to this set up. Even those who have been working from home for a while can have set backs from time to time. Discipline and Mindfulness is key in adjusting well in this environment.
Take action by establishing systems and routines to keep yourself motivated, focused, and productive.