When the COVID-19 pandemic began, millions of employees and organizations had to quickly adapt to remote working. It wasn’t a choice, but a necessity. Two years later, the scenario has changed—people want to work remotely. Even as offices are opening up now, people are choosing to work in a hybrid mode where they work in-office one or two days a week and the rest from home.
Why? Well, working from home has some awesome benefits like getting to spend more time with your family, no commuting, and the freedom to work in your pajamas.
Working from home may be more convenient, but it has its own set of challenges. How are you supposed to focus on that urgent report if your crazy neighbor decides to blast rock music at 12 PM? Or, what about the temptation to go back to bed?
Staying productive becomes incredibly difficult when you’re not working in a structured environment, free of distractions. Does that mean you’re doomed to be unproductive and miserable while working from home? Absolutely not!
We have some great tips for you to supercharge your productivity while working from home and stay on top of your game.
1. Maintain a Routine
If you want to be as productive (or more) as you were when going to the office, you need to stick to a routine. This means waking up at the same time every day, sticking to a fixed breakfast/lunch/dinner time, and working during set hours. We humans crave structure and predictability.
Disorganized and unstructured days lead to stress and anxiety. However, a routine helps you stay in the zone, get more done, and be in control of your life.
2. Create a Purposeful To-Do List
Everyone makes to-do lists, but very few people make purposeful to-do lists.
What is a purposeful to-do list? It’s a curated list of top-priority tasks that will help you achieve your most important goals. A purposeful to-do list has only 1-3 tasks that need to be done in a day. Why only 3 tasks? Because limiting your to-do list to only 3 tasks will force you to prioritize.
Tackling these tasks early on in the morning will set the momentum for the rest of your day. And you’ll realize just how productive each day becomes when you start focusing on things that truly matter.
3. Put Your Phone Away
We’re so addicted to using our phones that we don’t notice the countless hours that pass by while we’re on it. The fact that social media apps are designed to keep you hooked doesn’t help. They don’t care about how your life is being impacted or how unproductive you are, so you have to be aware.
If your phone is on the table where you’re working, you’ll be tempted to check it, especially if you hear the sound of a notification go off. By keeping your phone away physically, in another room, you make it difficult to access it, thereby lowering your chances of getting distracted by it.
4. Create a Dedicated Workspace
Stop working in your bed. Seriously.
You should associate your bed with sleep, not work. Having a dedicated workspace will benefit you in two ways. One, all your stuff will be available to you at one place and you’ll know where to go to get into ‘work mode.’ Two, because you’ll no longer work in bed, your sleep quality will improve since your mental association will be ‘bed means sleep.’
This is really good for your mental health as you clearly separate work and personal life.
5. Fresh Air and Decoration
At first thought, aesthetics may not seem to have anything to do with productivity. But research shows that aesthetics do have an impact on your productivity and wellbeing.
It’s also nice to have something to look at other than 4 bland walls every day.
So, how can you spice up your workspace? Put up nice paintings and posters on your walls, preferably something that feels uplifting and positive.
You can also place a plant on your desk. It doesn’t have to be a living plant, you can buy artificial plants too. But in case you’re interested in the real thing, you can get one of the indoor plants like the Peace Lily or Devil’s Ivy, which are easy to maintain, have gorgeous dark leaves, and provide you with fresh air. Having a living thing on your desk can liven things up for you.
Ergonomics is the science-based study of designing a workplace that is fitting for the individual worker. It makes it easy and efficient for people to work. There are many benefits of an ergonomically designed space:
- It corrects your posture and prevents fatigue
- It prevents injuries
- It increases comfort, thereby reducing the likelihood of you making errors
- It improves work efficiency
- It leaves you with more energy to work
Invest in tools that are ergonomically designed. For example, an ergonomic office chair can give you lumbar support and prevent any back pain. Since you also improve your posture over time, you won’t get fatigued easily when sitting on a chair too long.
Most people think ergonomics means higher costs. But you should really think of it as an investment in your health and productivity.
Ergonomics might include an upfront cost, but over the years, you’ll save thousands in medical costs and lost productivity.
7. Keep Your Environment Clutter-Free
Take a look around your table and where you work, and count all the things that are unnecessary. If you’re anything like me, the first time you do this, you’ll realize you have a lot of clutter to clear.
A study in the Netherlands found that a clean workspace contributed to higher productivity levels and increased job satisfaction in the employees.
So, how do you go about making your desk clutter-free? Start by tidying up your workspace once or twice a week. Set up a reminder on your phone so that you don’t forget. But cleaning isn’t enough, make sure you maintain the cleanliness and organization of your workspace too.
8. Take Breaks
One of the biggest pitfalls of working from home is that you can spend hours staring at a screen without a break. While walking away from work may not seem productive, it has a huge impact on your productivity.
Sitting for long hours is detrimental to our health, so include some form of physical activity in your daily schedule. For those of you working long hours, a 10-minute HIIT session can be a game-changer. It’s also beneficial to spend some time outside.
Take a walk to clear your mind or jog around the block. At the very least, get some sunshine so that your body gets the vitamin D it needs.
9. Make Time for Socialization
One of the biggest cons of working remotely is not being able to see your coworkers. This can leave you feeling isolated and disconnected. Fortunately, we have some great apps that can help us stay in touch with others. Set up meetings with your colleagues to catch up on work and get feedback.
And when you’re stuck, reach out to someone for help. Sometimes work and life can be overwhelming, it helps to share your frustrations with someone who can empathize and support you. Staying focused and productive while working from home is challenging, but not impossible.
The 9 tips listed above will help you supercharge your productivity and achieve a solid work-life balance. It takes time, so it’s suggested that you incorporate each of these tips one by one into your daily life. If you stay consistent, you’ll be surprised by just how productive you can be when you start building positive habits, and change up your environment.