Remote working is reshaping the future of work; it is slowly becoming the new normal with the ongoing pandemic just accelerating things. In fact, with 52% of the global workforce working from home at least once a week, remote working has moved beyond the realm of an experimental work model and is nowhere to stay. Globally, companies are creating remote work structures that are best for their organizations and forging their own unique path in the space. While working remotely can be liberating, it can also challenge. In essence, the lines between office and home working can get blurry. It demands a lot of discipline to get things done. So, are you looking for ways to improve productivity while working from home? In this article, we cover some skills to get you started.
Learn to wake up early!
Training yourself to wake up early is the best skill you can acquire to thrive in the remote work business. If you didn’t know, early birds are proactive and hold the important cards when it comes to business success. Well, I understand that this can be very challenging for most people since there is no office to go to or boss to scold you for coming in thirty minutes later. Even so, training yourself to get up early allows you to enter a routine that encourages productivity.
Set your daily priorities
Studies show that the most productive people establish their top priorities before starting their workday. Writing down objectives a night before or every morning helps you stay grounded on what you need to achieve. It also enables you to limit distractions or interruptions that come with working from home. One way to do this is to create a calendar to help you see tasks you need to work on. With the calendar, you can prioritize tasks that need to be done for you to hit your deadlines
Make it visual. You can use a whiteboard or a planner to help you focus on your priorities in case your mind starts to wander.
Turn off notifications
Did you know that it takes close to 20 minutes to get back into a state of productivity when distracted? This is how much time you lose with one distraction. Imagine what happens when you are dealing with distractions from your phone, slack and other platforms. As you might know, the number of distractions increases when working remotely, unlike in an office. This means that if you don’t learn to mute distractions, you will find yourself wasting too much time replying to emails and handling phone calls. While you can work on your notification settings to help manage the notifications, you can practice a little behavior change.
Improve your tech skills
Remote work has been possible, thanks to technology. From the comfort of your home, you can get into that video conference via Zoom or send a quick message using Slack. This means you need to ensure your computer is working and that you are comfortable using tools and tech to get things done. For example, you learn to access your device remotely to get some work done even when you don’t have your device nearby. Here is a nice remote desktop access guide for Mac users. The beauty is that Apple has made it easy for Mac users to do this with inbuilt and third-party tools. All in all, you cannot achieve much if you do not improve your tech skillset to fix common challenges, rather than having to call in IT support all the time.
Manage your time
Working from home demands a lot of discipline and time management skills. Having a big mass of unstructured time on your hands can quickly become overwhelming. With remote working, no one structures your week, there is no pressure to be available on slack, and there are no physical boundaries between work and leisure. So, how can you manage your time?
— Set your availability hours clearly.
— Schedule regular breaks. Don’t work intensely for more than 90 minutes without a break
— Try time blocking tasks
— Track your time. You can do it effectively with time tracking apps.
Keep the focus
As we noted, working from home demands a lot of discipline. With no one to manage you, you might find yourself wandering around or wasting your time doing non-important tasks. From picking up phone calls, playing games, and chatting with friends, these are just some of the activities that might eat up your time or day. To stay focused, you need to learn to structure your day; have a to-do list before each day to know what you are expected to accomplish. You can also create a home office to help limit your media consumption, such as television. Considering the cost of inaction, that is, the consequences of missing a deadline will also help you stay focused.
They say too much work without play makes Jack a dull boy. You cannot expect to be productive if you are spending twelve hours on your computer. Start taking some breaks by moving away from your computer. It allows you to recharge, take care of your health, and work better. While breaks are necessary, how you utilize them is very important. It is crucial that you find ways to take productive breaks that will improve your performance and maintain your sanity
Here are a few tips on taking breaks:
— Move around. Grab a coffee, or go outside for a walk
— Practice meditation
— Have a healthy snack
— Call loved ones
Balance your life
One challenge with working from home is mastering the art of separating your work, personal and social life. There is a tendency to lean too much on one side. Sadly, doing that takes a toll on the other. For example, you might find yourself focusing so much on your work life and forget the social, or too much of your personal life and forget to meet work deadlines. Put in the effort to your work life, but also find time for things that matter, i.e. spending time with family.
Working from home is exciting but also very challenging. However, with a few simple changes to your routine, you can still enjoy a productive workday from home. The tips discussed above should keep you going in the right direction as you transition to this new work model.