More people than ever are working remotely thanks to the COVID-19 pandemic.
While working from home can be convenient, it has unexpected challenges. It takes time and experience for most people to get used to it and achieve the kind of productivity they want.
Luckily, the control you have over your work environment gives you lots of ways to optimize for success.
Use these techniques to start maximizing your productivity as a remote worker:
1. Select a Designated Workspace
To improve your focus, create a workspace that’s conducive to professionalism. Leave the couch and bed behind and set up a desk with your laptop and other essentials. The ideal space is somewhere quiet with a door that closes so you can avoid household noise.
2. Dress for Success
Your daily productivity can be profoundly affected by how you get ready for work. When you continue to dress as you would at the office, you are putting yourself in the right mindset. Don’t skimp on this and other “morning rituals” that helped you get ready for work in the past.
3. Plan Your Working Hours in Advance
Flexible scheduling means you might not be expected to be checked in at all the same times you usually were. Still, don’t let this flexibility turn into a procrastination trap. Plan your working hours based on your team’s goals and your mental endurance – brief breaks can keep you fresh, but avoid getting sidetracked.
4. Set Your Own Deadlines and Stick to Them
Challenging yourself with smaller deadlines throughout the day will help you stay on track. One way to do this is by setting a timer for 15-25 minutes of truly uninterrupted work. You’ll be surprised just how much you can achieve when you laser focus on a single task for even a short period of time.
5. Eliminate Distractions, Manage Interruptions
Every time a distraction hits, you must waste some mental energy staying on task. Getting rid of common distractions early can help: Mute your phone, turn off notifications from unrelated software, and so on. Let your household know when you will be working, and be firm if others try to get your attention.
6. Don’t Do Chores
While you’re sitting at home, all the things you could be doing around the house are sure to call out for you. Avoid the temptation as much as possible. If you must do something, make it part of your five-minute break after you’ve done an hour of work. Timers can help here, too.
7. Practice Self-Care
Do things for yourself that will help you sustain energy and attention. One of the most important of these will always be getting enough sleep. Likewise, be careful not to skip meals. If you were a commuter, you can use the extra time to ease into the workday with a relaxing and positive new routine.
8. Keep “Work” and “Life” Separate
Just because you are working from home, it doesn’t mean you should be available around the clock. If you are the kind of person who always stays 15 minutes late, you can stick to your habits – but at the end of the day, turn off email and work software and don’t check it again until the next morning.
What’s the real secret to productivity while working remotely? It’s all about setting boundaries: With your family, co-workers, and even with yourself. Keep an eye on your progress and how you’re feeling, both emotionally and physically. Remote work is a great opportunity to experiment and make changes to your routines that will make you more productive and efficient!