10 Ways to Boost Your Productivity While Working From Home
Posted on April 22, 2020
When you first started working from home, you thought, “This is gonna be awesome!” Or is it? After working a few days in your pajamas (and not bothering to take a shower) or falling into the Netflix black hole for hours, maybe you’re starting to realize that working from home is not so easy after all. Yes, you have the freedom and flexibility to set your own schedule, but if you mismanage your time and workload, you might end up not getting anything done. Here are some tips on how to boost your productivity and avoid the pitfalls of working from home.
Boost Your Productivity While Working From Home
1. Set up a dedicated workspace and no, it can’t be on your bed.
Your bed is associated with sleeping, so when you work in bed, you might end up just taking a nap. Experts also say that working in bed may have a negative impact on your sleep habits. The same goes for your dining table—since it’s associated with eating, you might find yourself munching mindlessly on snacks. It’s best to have a separate table just for work so you can avoid distractions and concentrate on your tasks. If you can, use ergonomic furniture and devices for maximum comfort and efficiency.
2. Prepare yourself for work.
One of the perks of working from home is that you don’t have to spend the morning in a rush to get ready. But while it may be tempting to work in your pambahay, it may lead to decreased productivity. To maintain a professional attitude, make it a point to change into clothes that will give you a “work” mindset. For some ladies, putting makeup on helps them get into work mode too.
Research also reveals that some types of music can increase productivity. So once you’re dressed and ready, wear noise-canceling headphones and listen to some instrumental music to get in the zone.
3. Set boundaries when working from home.
Remember that viral YouTube video where one guy’s kids barged into his office during a live interview? If you don’t want this to happen to you, make sure to set boundaries and communicate your expectations to your family members (or at least lock your office door!).
Let them know if there are specific hours when you can’t be disturbed and gently remind them that they should let you focus on work at this time (unless there’s an emergency, of course).
4. Set a daily schedule and stick to it.
When you don’t have a set schedule, you might find yourself spending way too much time on social media (or scrolling through endless memes). For maximum productivity, list down all the tasks you need to accomplish before the day begins, set a specific amount of time to do each task, then identify which priorities should be on top of the list. Make sure to check your e-mails, message threads, and calendar first thing in the morning so that you don’t miss out on important to-dos. Focus on one task at a time before moving on to the next.
5. Start early to finish early.
When working from home, you don’t necessarily have to adhere to a 9-to-5 work schedule. But you do need to figure out when you’re most energized and motivated to work. If you’re a morning person, it might help to start work as early as 6 am before the rest of your family wakes up, so that nobody will disturb you. Starting early allows you to finish work earlier too.
However, keep in mind that your team may have set a core time when everybody needs to be available. Just make sure to be online and reachable during that core time even if you’re done with your daily tasks.
6. Set an alarm or a reminder for specific activities.
You know how you have that one officemate who bugs you to do your tasks or reminds you when it’s time to go to the meeting? Well, you don’t have that when you work from home. That’s why alarm clocks or timers are your best friends. If you have scheduled meetings or tasks that must be done by a certain time, set an alarm or put it in your calendar with a reminder so you won’t forget. You can also set a timer for specific tasks to help you stay focused. For example, you can allot 45 minutes to write that proposal, then set a 15-minute timer to grab a snack.
7. Take breaks even when working from home.
When you’re immersed in your work, it’s easy to lose track of time. You might think it’s counterproductive to take a break, especially when you have a looming deadline. However, studies have shown that taking short breaks actually helps you stay focused and allows you to practice healthier habits. So don’t feel guilty about taking a bit of leisure time during your workday. Once in a while, rise from your desk, stretch your body, or take a walk outside. Recharging yourself can boost your motivation and productivity for the rest of the day. Just be careful not to “recharge” by watching one episode of your favorite show because let’s be honest—you’re never going to watch just one episode, right?
8. Clean your desk and organize your files.
Does your desk look like a typhoon just ravaged over it? And don’t say it’s “organized chaos”—we know there’s some leftover food (and maybe a few critters) hiding under all that clutter. Remember, a tidy desk and a clean environment gives you a clear mind and allows you to focus better. If you deal with a lot of paperwork, organize your files by category and label them properly. This way, you’ll save time whenever you need to pull up an old file because you know exactly where you put it. The same thing goes for digital files. Don’t just save all documents randomly on your desktop. Put them into digital folders and keep them organized.
9. Overcommunicate when working from home.
When you’re working alone, there’s a tendency to focus solely on your work without thinking about your teammates. But that’s precisely why you need to make an extra effort in communicating when working remotely. Stay connected to your superiors and your team by constantly reporting the tasks you’ve done, what’s left on your plate, and your projected delivery dates. These small things will make a difference in teamwork and meeting your deadlines.
10. Show up in meetings and make your voice heard.
When attending a virtual meeting, are you the type who just mutes your audio and hides your video? Don’t be shy—this is one of the rare moments when you can actually see and talk to your teammates so take advantage of it. Speak up during meetings, bring up valid points, and ask questions. Make sure they know you’re in the call. And when the meeting ends, don’t just disappear! A simple thank you and goodbye will go a long way.
If your job allows you the flexibility to work from home, consider yourself lucky. You can save time and effort since you don’t take a long time getting ready to step out of the house or spend hours on the road. But as the Peter Parker principle goes, “With great power comes great responsibility.” When you work from home, you need to work doubly hard in order to focus and get stuff done. Now get those Spidey senses tingling and get to work. Good luck!
This article is the first in a two-part series on working from home. All the tips were gathered from employees of Framedia, an e-learning company that has successfully embraced the remote work lifestyle since 2010. Watch out for the next article for more tips!
Image Source: House photo created by freepik