5 Steps To A Productive Day Working From Home
Thanks (or no thanks, I'm sure that's debatable) to the coronavirus, many companies have closed their offices and sent their employees to work from home.
Remote work is definitely not a concept that the rona can take full credit for.
It's a concept that has been becoming more and more popular due to more people demanding better work/life balance and is something that many people would die for their boss to consider.
The rona could however, take credit for the normalisation of this 'working from home' thing.
Before we get into the steps, I'd like to say that the main idea behind being more productive while working from home is to recreate a normal day as much as possible.
I know it can be tempting to sleep a little longer and roll out of bed 2 minutes before your normal start time, but it's not a good start to a productive day. Let's look at some easy steps to recreate a day's work that you can be proud of even during these challenging times.
1) Get Dressed
I know you'd rather stay in your comfy sheep pyjamas (obviously an example from a friend) but this is no way to make you feel like taking on the day. Do yourself a favour and shower and get dressed as if you were going to the office.
This will make you feel more prepared and less like a sleepy sloth and it's a very simple step that makes a huge difference.
If you don't believe me, try it yourself and if you still want to enjoy your pyjamas, why not mix it up? A few days in pj's and a few in whatever you would normally wear to the office.
2) Create a Priorities List
In between Zoom and Slack and the energy-sucking activity of switching between items on your to do list, it can be difficult to stay on track. To help, write a priorities list.
Not a to-do list, a priorities list.
The difference being that we all have endless to-do lists and there's no point in writing out 10 items for the day while knowing full
well you won't be getting most of them done.
Stick to around three important tasks for the day and focus on those. When you notice yourself going off track, check back with your list. If a new task comes up during the day, switch it for an item you already have on your list or add it to your list for the next day.
3) Take Breaks When Necessary
Remember that you are not a robot and you do need to have breaks during the day. You can decide whether the breaks are after a certain amount of working time or after certain tasks.
Normally I use my breaks to make a coffee or just stand up and stretch. Be careful when taking breaks not to start doing household chores because you're still working, don't get distracted by things that need doing at home.
4) Avoid Personal Distractions During Work Hours
Although it can be tempting to pick up your phone and reply to your friends, start scrolling through Instagram or look up a recipe you want to make that weekend, these types of things, perosnal things, should be avoided during your work hours.
Not only do they distract you from your work, they also normally take longer than you plan. Just a ten minute scroll through Instagram, you might tell yourself, but this 10 minute scroll can easily turn into an hour.
To help me avoid these distractions, I have all notifications turned off. Whataspp, Instagram you name it, I won't know I have a message untilI go into the respective app, which is something I try and avoid during my work hours.
Turning notifications helps a lot and I've done the experiment, taking 10 minutes to reply to some messages, never really is just ten minutes so my advice is to avoid this altogether until after work or at least until your lunch break.
5) Disconnect Properly When It's Time
While working from home it's easier than ever to disrespect your normal working hours. While you might normally clock off at 6pm sharp to rush home or to the gym, you might feel less inclined to do this while working from home (especially during the rona as, where I live at least, gyms are closed anyway).
At the end of the day, you need to rest to be productive and working 10 hour days because you feel guilty for being at home is not going to help anyone, not you and not your boss.
Sometimes we have to work a little longer to finish something off and you can decide when this is reasonable. Exceptions are fine but don't make this a habit. You need your rest to be productive. Disconnect properly when it's time, your mental health will thank you for it.
Happy remote working!