6 Ways To Be Productive When Working From Home
How to maintain productivity when your home becomes the office
In the past week, as a result of COVID-19, many have transitioned to working from home or working remotely. There is much uncertainty in these times, but we can take comfort in knowing that, with some revisions and adjustments, working from home can be rewarding and just as productive. Below are six tips on how to be your most productive when working from home.
1. Keep Your Schedule. Treat each day like you are going into the office. Set your alarm for the same time every day and then follow your usual schedule. Eat breakfast, make coffee, take a shower, get dressed, do whatever your usual morning routine includes. This will put you in the headspace that you’re going to work — because you are.
2. Designate An Office Space. While it is tempting to work from bed or the couch, these locations signal relaxation to your mind. A work space should be a desk or a table with a comfortable chair. The ideal home office has a door. A door is important especially if you are working from home with a spouse, family or a roommate. A closed door is a signal that you do not want to be disturbed. Other options that can enhance your work space and productivity are optimal lighting, a window, a candle, or music playing softly in the background. Ensure your space is tidy and as free from distractions as possible.
3. Take Breaks. In your regular office, you take breaks for lunch and likely 5-to-10 minute breathers, whether you’re going outside, chatting around the coffee pot or visiting another co-worker. Regardless, a traditional office lends itself to more movement and socialization, and it’s easy to confine yourself to your desk when you’re the only one in your home office. So get up, walk around your home, take your dog for a walk, make a snack, do 10 minutes of exercise and don’t eat your lunch in front of your computer. A lunch break and small breaks throughout the day will ensure your brain doesn’t experience overload.
4. Limit Distractions. While breaks are necessary, too much distraction can ruin productivity. In an office setting, you are less likely to scroll on your phone or browse websites unrelated to your work because there are others around to witness your actions. In a home office, that is not the case. Social media is a killer of productivity. Put your phone on “Do Not Disturb” so that only certain people can reach you. You can also schedule downtown or app limits on your phone. Logging out of all social media is an added measure that makes it harder to aimlessly scroll. You can also block certain sites on your internet browser.
Working from your home presents other distractions as well. Being in your home, it’s easy to want to do laundry, deep clean the house, play with pets and work on many more activities. Resist the urge. Those activities can wait until you’re “off the clock.”
5. Plan Ahead. It’s helpful to plan out your day the night before. Decide what tasks are most vital and assign them to yourself at the beginning of the day, that way you ensure they are completed. Save more mundane and less urgent tasks for the afternoon, when your energy begins to wane. If you work in an industry that deals heavily with clients, be sure to keep those virtual meetings and calls at the forefront. It is essential that you don’t abandon your clients or your team. In making a schedule, be sure to designate break times. If they are on your calendar, you are less likely to forget. Write these plans down on paper, on your calendar or via your favorite app.
6. Stay Connected and Communicate. Let’s face it, working from home can get lonely. The best way to stave off that loneliness is to communicate with your coworkers and clients. Designate times to chat via Facetime, Google Hangouts, Zoom or whatever your preferred outlet may be. If your company is not used to working remotely or this is the first time doing so, it is essential to be in communication with one another. Check in and see how things are going both on a professional and personal level. This is new and uncharted territory for many. The world is already stressful, and the best thing we can do is relieve some of that stress by supporting the people in our work community.