Working from home has become the new normal for many due to COVID-19. If you’re in this position, you may feel out of place because you’re not in your usual office environment. Or, perhaps you don’t have an organized workstation or your workspace at home is small.
Staying productive is essential, even though distractions may surround you. Taking steps to define your workspace, creating a list of priorities and using time blocking techniques can help you continue to work efficiently, finish your workload on time, and enjoy your work more.
Here are some tips to help you become more productive when working from home.
Create a Defined Workspace
One of the first steps you can take to ensure productivity while working from home is to create a dedicated office space. Flopping on the sofa and trying to get work done is probably not the best option.
Also, having space, no matter how small, dedicated purely to work, will help you avoid distractions. For example, one work-from-home employee we spoke to enjoys day trading on the side. He has set up his trading software on his personal laptop, which remains closed during the day, and is placed on a different table. He uses his work laptop for business and works from his kitchen table. After dinner, he retreats to his living room where he catches up on market news and sets up his buy/sell transactions.
Creating a defined workspace should be easy if you start looking at the spaces you have available in your home. Taking this action will help create a boundary so that the tasks you need to finish get completed efficiently.
If you’ve got a small closet, you might have room for a working space. Making it functional by adding a work surface, shelving and a chair from your kitchen or dining room can help create a clear boundary from other areas of your home. You might also find a corner in a bedroom or the kitchen that can be turned into a small home office space. Setting up a small desk is likely all you need to operate a laptop.
Utilize Time Blocking Techniques
Instead of just having a to-do list that defines your tasks, set up specific times for completing each one. Time blocking is a handy method to use, as is designed to help you stay focused and fill in free time with predefined commitments.
Setting up time blocks to use for getting tasks completed consists of batching your work into specific periods, which may be as long as you’d like, depending on your personal preference. Doing so allows you to increase concentration, minimize distractions and avoid multitasking. The busy entrepreneur uses a time blocking technique to plan his daily routine. He implements five-minute blocks assigned with specific tasks or activities such as attending work meetings, eating or responding to emails.
Take Regular Breaks
Sitting at a desk all day isn’t healthy for your body or mind. It’s therefore essential to take regular breaks and get some interaction with others when possible.
It’s important to get your body moving and increase circulation throughout the day. Going outside and taking a 15- or 30-minute walk offers fresh air and a chance for your mind to re-energize.
Planning your meals at regular intervals is also helpful. Taking regular breaks helps create structure and allows you to refresh both your body and your brain.
Get Dressed for Work
While it may be tempting to work at home in your pajamas or an old pair of joggers, it’s better to get dressed for work like you would if you were working in a professional environment. If you’re still in your pajamas when you’re trying to get all of your work tasks completed, you may have more of a mindset of relaxation than professionalism.
Putting on professional attire helps you stay in a routine, creates consistency and should make you feel more ‘switched on’ and ready to get work done! However, this doesn’t mean you have to wear anything formal, unless it’s required for communicating with clients or coworkers via video conferencing.
Business casual is fine. Dressing down by putting on a top you might wear to the office and a pair of comfortable trousers can be enough to put you in the right mindset for getting your work done.
Create a Clear List of Priorities
Getting as much work done as possible while working remotely typically entails staying focused. Creating an exact list of priorities can help you accomplish this objective.
Start by capturing everything you need to achieve on a master list and then break it down into individual tasks. Separate the items that must be completed urgently and put them at the top of your list.
If you’re more productive during specific times of the day, you may want to prioritize more challenging tasks for those periods. Categorizing all of the tasks you need to accomplish into long-term and short-term objectives may also be helpful as well as keeping only a few tabs open on your browser.
Creating Structure Should Boost Efficiency and Productivity
Following these five tips allows you to set up a defined structure for getting your work completed. Having clear boundaries in place should make it easier to stay focused and avoid getting distracted.
Once you get into a routine, your body and brain will likely develop a productive rhythm that enables you to remain efficient and increase your productivity when working from home.