9 Tips to be Productive While Working Virtually
Millions of people around the world have started working from home because of the pandemic. Stemming from that, many of the companies forced to implement working from home requirements have decided to continue indefinitely or permanently. This leaves us with the question of productivity going forward.
As things normalize and we are no longer working in a hyper-stress mode, we need to have systems in place to increase productivity while working from home. So, here are nine tips for maintaining productivity while you work remotely.
9 Tips for Working From Home
1. Have a specific work area
A designated workspace allows you to compartmentalize and gives you a mental boundary. It doesn’t have to be an office. It can be a section of the table you work from, an area of a room. Just choose somewhere and designate that as your working space, aka, your productivity area. And tell yourself that when I’m in this space, I’m working.
Identifying a specific work area can be challenging, especially if your spouse also works from home or you have kids who are attending classes virtually. But setting boundaries can help with how often you’re interrupted. And it can work no matter if you live in a small studio or a big house.
2. Set up your workspace with ergonomics in mind
In setting up your workspace, consider how to make it as conducive to work as possible. Check the lighting, the ergonomic set up of your desk and chair. Take regular standing breaks and follow best practices for sitting and using a keyboard. A better work environment naturally translates into improved productivity and less downtime.
3. Set up a working structure
If you had a set structure while working in the office, try and follow it as well when working from home. It helps you maintain the productivity levels you had in your previous office environment. Or, create a new structure that perhaps increases how much you get done now. Tips to get started in setting your work structure include:
- Determining your work hours. This could be keeping to the same working hours (8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. or 8:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.) you had while working in the office.
- Planning, scheduling, and prioritizing tasks. Make sure to write down what you need to do, set a deadline, and schedule the time to work on them.
- Checking your to-do list and calendar first thing when you get your desk. This sets the tone for your day so you can stay focused and limit distractions.
- Reviewing your completed tasks and other activities at the end of the day so you can set priorities for the next working day.
4. Manage distractions
Distractions come in a variety of forms. It could be that you start working on projects or tasks that aren’t a priority. Or, going on to social media. Here, staying focused helps you to beat distractions while on the job.
To limit distractions, you need to manage your time. This starts with tip three above where you set and prioritize tasks.
Now, when you work online, there are endless distractions ahead a well. Try tools like Rescue Time for distraction blocking and time tracking to help you stay focused. Use tools and apps to help you collaborate more and avoid wasting time.
5. Prepare ahead of calls and meetings
Meetings can take up a lot of productive time if you let them. To limit the time spent in meetings that could be used for other productive work, make sure you prepare ahead. Have a meeting agenda and prepare your notes or reports and circulate beforehand. This allows you to have a structure (that word again) to your meetings. Plus, team members can review reports before coming to the meeting to limit the meeting time.
6. Take advantage of virtual connections
Yes, it’s easier to socialize in person. But you can still have a level of engagement and downtime virtually. Most departments or companies have a chat designated for informal discussions. So, keep connected even as you socially distance physically. It gives you a sense of community that some persons need to increase productivity as part of a team.
7. Make use of the tech available
Even before more businesses have moved to remote working, they have been embracing productivity solutions. These come in handy even more. Tracking tasks, time, and projects is essential where teams are working apart from each other.
- Use your calendar. Block time slots and add essential meetings, tasks, deadlines, etc. to your calendar so you can keep track of everything you need to do or prepare for.
- Try the Pomodoro technique to stay focused. This is a technique to work in short blocks of time with timed breaks. It keeps you focused and productive but without overworking since you will take timed breaks in-between. You can use a regular count-down clock for this or find apps (like the Tomato Timer) that will also time the breaks for you.
- Use task trackers and organizational apps. Apps like Asana, Trello are great tools to organize your tasks, collaborate with team members, and get things done in an orderly manner.
8. Don’t skip lunch
Yes, you do deserve that much-needed break. It’s a time to disconnect, unwind, and replenish your energy to tackle the rest of your day. Try not to work through lunch or make it a habit to do so. Eat foods that keep you fresh, not sluggish.
9. Practice self-care
You need to be mindful of your physical and mental health while working from home. Make sure you schedule breaks throughout your day. Also, make plans for additional self-care like walks or exercise. Learn to unwind and de-stress. Log off from your devices at end of day and have some much needed me and family time. And, if it gets overwhelming, career coaching can a good way to help you prepare for working from home. (Plus, like your job, this can be done remotely as well).
Working from home is a major transition for many persons. So, being able to take it in stride, adjust, and maintain productivity is essential, especially for your health. Using these tips above will improve your mental and physical health while improving your productivity.
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