“No one saw this coming” is probably the most overused phrase this year, with crisis after crisis ravaging the entire world as we know it. But no matter how many times the phrase is used, its impact stays the same – no one, absolutely no one, saw this coming. With everyone forced to stay indoors, an unprecedented number of people have been forced to work from home, increasing both the global screen time and internet traffic, and affecting productivity.
During its initial few months, working from home seemed blissful, like a prayer that had been answered. No long commutes, no stressing about traffic, no strict lunch hours, and no small talk with that colleague you never liked, and no more complaints about being away from the family to work. You could wake up just before your shift, have meals at any convenient time, not have someone be physically after your life to meet your deadlines, wear a formal shirt on top but pajamas below – it seemed almost too good to be true, and it was.
As most countries enter their seventh month of working from home, even the apparent advantages of the remote workplace have begun to take their toll on the average employee.
What was generally a 9-5 job has begun to spiral into an endlessly demanding workstream, with workers being at the constant beck and call of managers, because after all, ‘where else would you be but home?’ The constant exposure to screens coupled with the inability to go on weekend getaways has left employees extremely dissatisfied and irritable.
One thing’s for sure: the work from home culture is here to stay. Even as workplaces are opening around the globe, most businesses and companies prefer most of their employees to continue working from home, at least till some sort of cure is available to the general public. Having said this, it’s important to make sure you keep motivation levels from dropping while taking care of your health and continuing to be as productive as possible. Here are some ways you can improve your productivity while working from home:
13 Tips to Improve Productivity While Working from Home –
1. Wake up Early!
As clichéd as this sounds, waking up on time after a good night’s sleep can give a great start to your day. Apart from the obvious health benefits of sleeping (and waking up) on time, this can also leave you feeling like you have more time on your hands, making you feel accomplished before you even start the day. Nothing’s better than an optimistic start to the day!
2. Have a hearty breakfast, cook it on your own!
Here’s another cliché to add to the mix: breakfast is indeed the most important meal of the day. Just like you would on a normal work-day (hopefully!), take some time out of your schedule to fix yourself a healthy, hearty, and wholesome meal, complete with proteins and carbs, and a refreshing beverage. This will give you the much-needed energy and enthusiasm to power through the day, and also take your mind off work for a few minutes as you prepare the meal for yourself. It serves as a great distraction and can also develop into a useful hobby if you aren’t fond of cooking already.
3. Dress to impress
As fun as it sounds, wearing your pajamas when your shirt is a formal work shirt is a clear sign of being laid-back and can lead to unproductivity. Comfort aside, dressing as though you were actually in an office setting might help you focus more on the task at hand, and might help you make a clear and very necessary distinction between your working hours and your time off from work.
4. Don’t compromise on comfort-but don’t get too comfortable!
As mentioned above, it helps to be strict about certain aspects, like your dress code, your designated ‘work-from-home’ office area, and your necessary files and documents. Using your bed as your workspace is not ideal, but that doesn’t mean you have to sit on the dining room chair for hours at an end. Do try investing in a comfortable chair that’s good for your back and remember to stretch!
5. Create an at-home office
Adding to the previous point, creating a designated workspace, complete with a comfortable chair and a desk is ideal. Having all your work files, documents, and gadgets in one place, along with some décor to add to your table can make you feel organized and spruce up a dull day at work. This often leads to increased productivity and a feeling of wanting to achieve more.
Being more productive while working from home isn’t all about making your surroundings and outfit remind you as much of your office as possible. It’s about finding the balance point between the two extremes. While you may want to dress appropriately, wake up on time, and set aside a separate workspace, you can also try to do small stretching exercises in-between two meetings, to try and be more active and attentive throughout. Of course, this does not have to be just during your working hours; activities like stretching, Yoga, Pilates, and similar exercises are something you should try and incorporate into your daily routine if you haven’t already.
7. Set your boundaries
As mentioned above, working from home, especially in a situation where stepping out of the home is not feasible, leaves you checking your phone for texts and notifications constantly. This inevitably always leaves you at the beck and call of your boss, and many people find themselves working at odd hours of the day, just because something came up and they happened to be available at the time. Understandably, your mobility outside the home is something you cannot control, but you can control your screen-time and try to maintain as much of a healthy work-life balance as possible.
8. Have a to-do list
An important aspect of keeping a work-life balance involves getting things done on time, exactly when they’re supposed to be done. Having a to-do list helps immensely. To-do lists have served as an efficient tool from the ‘pre-pandemic’ era; and it barely takes a minute to enlist. In addition, you can divide your work into a ‘to-do immediately’ versus a ‘to-do in the next week’. This helps in achieving your daily goals while keeping a bigger picture in mind.
9. Remember to take a break!
While planning out a routine for yourself, remember to add breaks wherever possible. These could be used for snacking, to watch a funny YouTube video, stretch, talk to your family or friends, or even just nap. Of course, it isn’t possible to know exactly when you’d get a break from work but having something to look forward to later can also help boost productivity.
10. Avoid distractions
Planning a break is always good, but you must be mindful enough to plan them in such a way so as to avoid actively distracting yourself. Being at home can easily divert your attention from the task at hand, with interruption after interruption vying for your attention, whether it’s your kids, your pet, or someone at the door. Unannounced distractions will always be there, so you should try your best to avoid any other distractions that may be in your control.
11. Avoid procrastination
At home, it’s just you, your laptop, and endless distractions as mentioned above. In such settings, putting something off for a later time becomes very easy. ‘I’m at home, I don’t have to be anywhere else, might as well do it later’ is something we have all said to ourselves in the past. Actually getting back to do an unfinished task that you’ve put off requires more convincing and motivation on your part. It’s always better to do your tasks as and when you get them, to avoid piling up.
You may also be interested in reading 19 Highly Effective Natural Remedies for Headaches and Migraines.
12. Stay in touch with your colleagues
Yes, this work-from-home culture definitely lets you avoid the people in your office that you’ve always found annoying, but it can also leave you missing your work friends terribly. Game-nights, catch-up calls, and weekend brunches can be made possible via a host of video-conferencing platforms available at the touch of a button. This helps beat the lockdown blues while also keeping you updated about each other’s lives, just like you would in the office setting.
13. Reward yourself
Let’s face it: times are tough. It is important to recognize and acknowledge the implications of this situation that has gripped the world, but it is equally important to not lose hope. This pandemic has affected everyone – so pushing through and working hard, while constantly meeting deadlines and attending conferences is not an easy take. Remember to reward yourself from time to time, in your own little way. And if you can, consider appreciating and helping those around you as well; a little kindness never killed anyone!
These were just a few tips on How to Work from Home so that you can be your best possible version. Owing to the pandemic, health has become a worldwide priority. Taking care of yourself, eating healthy, sleeping well, and supporting yourself as well as your loved ones are of utmost importance. Adjusting to this new normal of the work-from-home culture is something people across the globe are going to have to do. Until things get back to normal, remember to work hard, stay focused, keep healthy, and be grateful!