Working from home? Here are 10 productivity tips
Working from home is great. I love it, you love it, we love it. But sometimes, it can get a bit challenging. And the biggest challenge of them all is productivity. Many people sometimes struggle with being productive while working from home. You see, the less productive you are, the less you are able to accomplish in a given timeline. You get into this rat race of appearing busy rather than actually being busy. This means less time for more enjoyable activities like binge-watching your favorite TV series. Here are some tips I used to overcome these productivity issues and do more in less time.
Plan your day
This sounds so trivial but you need to plan your day. What do you intend to do? What are your goals or objectives? Once you know that, you can create a to do list of activities that you need to do to accomplish your goals.
In addition to that, you need to make an allowance for emergency or unforeseen situations. All it takes is one “urgent” email or phone call and your to do list is canned.
Work in small sprints
Some people have great endurance. They can work continuously for hours and hours on end. Unfortunately this is not a common skill. Most of us need to take short breaks in between. Remember the list we made in the above step? You need to add a small break in between activities just to stretch your legs and get into the frame of mind needed for the next activity.
I am not talking about a super long break. Personally, just leaning back and staring at the ceiling for a minute or two is enough to detox and get back into the groove.
The secret there is to not walk away before you finish an activity in your list. If you need to write a simple blog post for example, don’t take a break before you actually make headway. Otherwise, you are just opening up yourself to distractions and its going to be harder to dive back in.
Put your smartphone on silent
Screens are distracting. I think its something in our brains. Once we see blinking lights, our attention tends to get drawn to that. Your smartphone should be far enough and in silent mode. Of course this is unless part of your job is answering phone calls. Even then, once you answer the phone call, put the phone down.
Remember once you get on TikTok or any other app, you are a goner. Bringing back your concentration is going to be difficult.
Don’t work and eat at the same time
This is a very controversial point. But its true unfortunately. Studies have been done and the conclusion is always, you cannot do two activities at the same time. Especially engaging activities such as eating. With eating, you are most of your senses. You need to look at what you are eating, you can smell it, you need to touch it or touch a spoon. All these tend to divert the mind from what it was concentrating on. And believe me or not, but you can’t chew and function at optimal mental capacity.
Get enough sleep
This is how simple but embarrassing spelling mistakes get made. And if your are lucky, those spelling mistakes are the only mistakes you will be making. If you can’t drive while drowsy, what makes you think you can work?
The general consensus is that you need at least 6 hours of sleep if you are an adult. Doesn’t sound like much but at the very least you need 6 hours.
Enough sleep ensures that you are alert and functioning at optimum capacity.
Find your golden work time
One of the benefits of working from home is that you actually get to work when you want. Everyone has that time of the day which their brains seem to actually be working. That period when ideas just flow and work seems easier.
Personally, I love working early in the mornings. And I mean super early like 3am. Its super quiet to the point I can hear myself think and since I have just woken up, so I am not in the least tired. I feel more energetic and that often translates to me working faster. In most cases by 10 am, I have already finished my activities for the day.
So I have the entire day to just laze around, watch movies and do fun stuff that I enjoy. Some people are different, they love working in the afternoons, others are dedicated night owls who hate the sun.
Prepare in advance
Preparation is sometimes the thief of time. And its the perfect thief because you tend to fell that you are actually getting something done. But preparing to do something and actually doing it are two different activities.
If you are planning on writing an article for example, or making a YouTube/TikTok video you need to plan it out. Otherwise, on that day, you will spend too much time trying to set up and find your stuff. There was a day I spent a solid 30 minutes trying to find my charger. Another time, I spent an hour or so, just trying to figure out what the video would be about.
Before you sleep, make sure that you have everything laid out and prepped for tomorrow’s activities. Better yet, create dedicated spaces. For example, if you make videos, you could have a room or a section of a room just dedicated for that purpose and put everything that you need there.
If you are a programmer, you could have a separate computer for just programming. So you just pre install all the software, packages, dependencies you need in advance.
Schedule meetings later in the day
Hear me out on this one. During early mornings, you are fresh and creative. It is easier to concentrate because you have not yet been distracted by news/social media etc. I mean, social media early in the day is rather boring in the first place. So utilize that time to do stuff that requires concentration. This means things like, programming, emails, editing, photoshop etc.
Once you are done, when fatigue starts to set in, then you can go to the meetings. I think we can all agree, most meetings are quite boring. They take too much time. We just put it on mute and transport ourselves mentally elsewhere, don’t even try to deny it, you do this too.
Sometimes you just need to avoid meetings entirely. If you can that is. If there is nothing productive you are going to discuss, or if the meeting doesn’t really concern your department or scope of involvement, why sit in the meeting? If you are a developer, why sit in a marketing meeting where they are trying to pick the perfect slogan? Same if you are a marketing person, why sit in at a technical meeting where your input in actually not required?
The biggest challenge you will face while working from home is productivity. Lets be honest, if you are not able to meet your deadlines, the stress will get to you. And most of the times, we waste a good chunk of our golden work hours.
Anyway, think about it this way, the faster you are able to do what you need to do, the more time you have to live and have fun. Bite the bullet, get it out of the way.
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