The world came to a weird halt when the pandemic hit us. But work never stops, pandemic or not; it goes on from the office or remote. While only a fraction of the workforce is traveling to offices now, people have adopted new trends to manage work from home. But are you able to work effectively from home without blurring the boundaries between work and home? Or have you merged the fence already to churn the productivity? Because the challenge that troubles the professional the most is productivity while telecommuting. I had been a victim, too.
You might have skimmed through many such lists on productivity. Thus, I’m sharing, is an exhaustive list of productivity tips for those of us working from home, covering work set up to health and food to tools and distraction management.
Set Up a Home Office
What is work without an office? But at home, work would still remain work if you set up a small office.
1. Planning to work from a cozy corner of your home for a longer run? Then, you need a dedicated space. Working one day on the dining table, next in front of the TV, and then from your bed will not prove useful. Seclude a place as your work cubicle.
2. A corner can be in a spare room or study. Or any place with little noise and distractions. It is better to arrange a study table or any small table to keep a laptop and essentials for work.
3. Keep hygiene in check, just like you expect at your office. Spilled coffee or water can spoil your notebook, documents, mouse, or laptop.
4. Eating while you work is not proper work etiquette. First, it can create havoc, as mentioned in #3. Second, eating can distract you from work or vice versa.
5. Keep office supplies handy in the drawers of the table you are using. In the absence of cabinets, keep these supplies in a basket.
6. Invest in an ergonomic chair and a mouse. In the long haul, these investments would take care of your back and hands.
Define Your Timeline
If you are thinking: “How can I work from home without mixing my personal life?” then you need to define your schedule well in advance. This set of productivity tips for working from home will help with that.
7. Now that you are not traveling, your time might be taken for granted, or you might yourself extend the working hours unknowingly. Decide when you would work and take a break. Plan an hourly chart and keep time for lunch, evening coffee, and dinner according to your shift.
8. Don’t miss to take a break every hour. You can follow the 20-20-20 rule of short breaks to keep eyes healthy and fatigue at bay.
9. But you have to take care of your kid’s studies, right? Suppose you need to accommodate similar personal tasks that overlap with office hours. In that case, you can take a break and compensate with an extended time in the evening.
10. But with all these points, do not forget to define a hard limit. Often observed, employees working from home stretch work hours that impact family time.
Distract the Distractions
Seventy-five percent of flex workers find lesser distractions at home. Strange? But distractions are inevitable at home, too, making you think about how to work from home without losing focus.
11. If you have kids, inform them how games with loud noises should not extend their zeal into your work area.
12. Informing other family members in advance about your meeting schedule would help to keep interruptions away.
13. Making yourself presentable and not working in your pajamas and unkempt hair keeps your brain alert. This is good to keep the most nagging distraction—your own wandering mind.
14. Don’t sit at a pile of clothes or an unmade bed. Would you want things lying around in the office? A clean place to work automatically weakens your worries about how to work from home productively.
15. With so much going around from the pandemic to quakes and protests around us topped with sad news, you might want to tune into TV frequently. But keep it switched off. Make specific slots throughout the day to catch up with the important headlines.
16. The Internet can be the biggest obstacle to a productive workday. Avoid social media; use tools like FocusMe and Freedom to block the always-bugging social media; Work Mode is a wonderful Chrome extension for this.
17. Phones can be highly distracting. To avoid quick peeks, you can keep it away. It is even better to keep it inside a drawer in silent mode. How about setting a lengthy password than your usual ones; the author of the book Hooked swears by these tricks.
18. The same goes for TV and streaming platforms. Use them moderately. Curb your attraction and delay until weekends.
Multitasking can prove to be a myth. The very nature of multitasking indulges you in many tasks dividing your attention into fragments resulting in reduced productivity.
19. Focus on one task at a time. Prioritize your work using 4 D’s of productivity and perform the most critical functions at the start of your schedule.
20. Most people have a particular time during the day when they feel high on energy. You can schedule complex tasks when you are highly productive.
21. For an unexpected task, delay until you finish the tasks at hand. If essential, finish it with focus and push the other jobs on the list for later.
Plan, Execute, Measure, and Amend
The key for flex workers is to plan for the work and measure productivity. Once you figure what is thinning your focus, amend and restart.
22. Create a routine, especially morning rituals, and stick to them. Get up well in advance before work starts to accommodate the rituals.
23. To-do lists come in handy and motivate you when you strike a task’s completion. Don’t overstuff the list, though.
24. Know the expectations of the team and management.
25. Measure how many tasks you can complete in a day from the list. If the list stretches beyond the day, you need to cut it short.
26. Also, check if any task is taking more time than expected. If so, you can do it when you are more productive. Plan for delegation, if possible.
27. Track your time and avoid distractions using tools like RescueTime, Toggl, and Harvest.
Next on the list of productivity tips when working from home? Tech and tools. Most of the tools and applications provide work from home solutions that make management more effortless.
28. Video chats are a suitable medium for a team meeting. With screen sharing and recording options, your sessions will approximate face-to-face meetings.
29. Office 365 has proven to be a handy collaboration tool for people who work in teams.
30. Project management tools like Trello and Freedcamp help in managing projects and assigning tasks.
31. A file-sharing system like SharePoint or any cloud system proves to be helpful for smaller and big teams both.
32. With these bits of help alongside, know the policy of your employer.
Maintain Physical and Mental Health
Working remotely demands you to be active and healthy because of your reduced physical activities and interactions.
33. Eat breakfast regularly and on time. The same goes for lunch and dinner.
34. Good night sleep has been a proven technique to achieve productivity. Don’t ignore this need. You might not get a chance at all to catnap on the couch. Do you know only 16 minutes of sleep loss can hurt your next day’s work?
35. Just in case you could not manage to sleep well, make sure to compensate the next day by hitting the bed early. You can even take a catnap for 10-20 minutes to eliminate lethargy.
36. Stick to regular sleeping hours. This way, your body gets tuned to your sleeping patterns and pushes you to take a good rest.
37. Take sick leave if you are not well, but don’t pop an OTC medicine and carry on with work. Take proper rest and visit your physician if needed.
38. And a day off, whenever needed, is absolutely a good idea when your personal life demands. If you have a function at the kid’s school, don’t stress yourself by balancing work and school visits. Take a day off and keep your children happy.
39. For mental wellbeing, pay less heed to office gossips.
40. Practice yoga, read a good book, listen to music, or even take a short (or long) walks in the morning or evening, whichever suits your schedules.
41. Though exercising holds importance for everyone, it is even crucial for remote workers. Reason: telecommuters tend to sit for long and miss or avoid essential breaks.
Before You Resume Working from Home…
Know that some days can be less productive. But, hey, such days are common in office premises, too. All other days, you should fulfill your targets. Because working from home seems to be a new working normal now and is here to stay.
Next time when your coworker asks for tips on how to be productive working from home, don’t forget to share this exhaustive list. I hope this list of productivity tips to use when working from home will help you and someone you care about.