A work from home job may sound like a golden opportunity to many of you. No hassle of going to the office in the morning, no compulsion to sit in one position all day long. You are at liberty to do what you want to.
This seems like a perfect setting for anyone who wants to work whilst enjoying the comforts of their homes. But this is not the case always. Working from home can make you feel lethargic after a certain point, and the work environment takes on a casual setting rather than a professional one, which is how it should be.
To keep yourself mentally and physically active, you have to follow a certain planned schedule so that your productivity levels increase. Keeping the current situation caused by COVID-19 in mind, it has become extremely important to keep yourself mentally, emotionally and physically energized. Workplaces have shut down worldwide in order to encourage social distancing and curb the spread of the disease. A large portion of the population has already started working from home.
These tips are certainly going to help you follow a well-planned and efficient schedule. Let’s get started on it.
Tip No. 1: Dedicate yourself to a morning routine.
Before you go to sleep every night, set your mind to wake up early. Once you get used to waking up early, start your day with meditation or any form of exercise for an hour. Trust me, it really rejuvenates you.
Grabbing a cup of coffee or tea will definitely provide the adrenaline pump needed for you to motor throughout the day. Once you are done with these, sit down at your work desk and start working. You have to ensure that you stick to this routine every day, to improve your productivity.
Tip No. 2: Allott a workspace to yourself.
Being at home is clearly very different from being at the office, and hence, the environment has a different air to it. Your productivity will definitely show improvement if you create an office-like environment inside your home. It will impart a sense of professionalism, whilst being in the comforts of your home.
Choose a space which is away from the hustle-bustle of the rest of the house. Set up your desk with an assortment of work necessities. This includes your laptop, a notepad, pens, a jug of water (staying hydrated is important) and the rest is dependent on your field of work. You can also set up different accounts on your laptop, one for your office work and the other for your personal work.
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Although we love to enjoy the comforts of a lounge chair or a bed, avoid doing so on these whilst working. It will induce sleepiness and lethargy. Additionally, wear appropriate attire when you are getting ready to sit down for the day. You must experience the feeling of being in your office, at your usual desk, in order to work with the same kind of enthusiasm that you possess whilst in office.
Tip No. 3: Take scheduled breaks.
The human brain has a tendency to get distracted by the slightest of movements around. Consistent concentration whilst working on your laptop might not be possible. Thus, it’s important you keep taking a 10 minutes-break after a duration of 40 minutes.
You can set two timers, one of 40 minutes and the other of 10 minutes. The 40 minutes will be dedicated to your work and the 10 minutes to your break. This cycle keeps going on for your entire day’s work duration. This method proves useful in re-energizing your mind and body.
Get up, take a walk outside, play with your kids or pets, or make another cup of steaming hot coffee for yourself. Make sure that you are fully utilizing those 10 minutes. Your brain and body need to relax in order to get itself pumped back up.
This applies to your working time as well.
Tip No. 4: Don’t get distracted by social media.
This is an era which is being defined by the presence of social media. And let’s face the fact. It’s a huge distraction, and temptation at the same time.
When you are at the office, you refrain from using social media keeping the work ethics in mind. But once you start working from home, the work ethics tend to loosen up, especially in this aspect. Since you are already working on your computer, you may think “ I will just check my messages on Facebook or Twitter” and you might log into your account.
A few simple tricks to avoid doing this are :
- Log out of all the accounts.
- Remove the accounts from browser shortcuts.
- Use the “incognito” window, if you use chrome.
Also, keeping your phone aside during work time has proved to be beneficial to your productivity and focus.
Tip No. 5: Formulate a plan for your tasks-to-do.
If you spend a substantial amount of time on planning and setting your tasks up every single day, you will actually end up working less on those tasks due to shortage of time.
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You should formulate a plan for the next day before finishing your work. You can use a notepad or stick-it notes to write down your tasks so that it becomes easier for you to remember. It’s important to keep updating your agenda when new work comes along your way.
Tip No. 6: Keep socializing with your colleagues.
We are so used to having our colleagues around us when we are at the office. And transitioning to a work-from-home phase is not very easy. In the office, you keep interacting with your colleagues, maybe ask them for some help with your work, casually chit-chat a bit or just have a cup of coffee together.
This helps you to relax as well as break the monotony of the work schedule. But, since working from home doesn’t allow you to personally interact with them, you can virtually socialize with them.
Create a different group in the app or software you use for professional interaction, where you can chat with your colleagues on casual topics. Doing a video call before the work hours begin is also a good idea to boost your mood and energy levels.
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Since going out with your colleagues is not an option, especially during the current COVID-19 situation, the virtual platforms prove to be efficient. Looking at these dire times, it’s very important to check in on them, ask them about their health and keep them motivated. You can help out just by keeping in touch with them on a regular basis.
Tip No. 7: Keep the communication alive.
Since you cannot have an active personal interaction with your colleagues from home, it’s essential that you keep relaying your messages online or via phone. Let others know when you finish a task, keep updating your work reports and ask for help, if needed.
It’s also important to use the proper software for virtual communication and keeping track of your work. The following software come in handy for this purpose :
- Zoom is used for video conference calls, accommodating 100 in one call.
- Skype can be used for ease of written communication.
- To track your online activity and progress, Hubstaff proves effective.
- Basecamp aids in the monitoring of projects and their progress.
- Hubstaff Tasks allows you to systematically segregate your tasks and keep updating it.
Tip No. 8: Have a good music playlist.
Working continuously for hours can impose a strain on your mind and well-being, thus, lowering your energy levels and adversely affecting your productivity. Listening to music whilst working can work wonders on you. It calms your mind down and allows you to express your thoughts coherently, which will reflect on your work.
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Having a playlist which matches the energy of the project you are working on improves your focus and relaxes your mind. The productivity level automatically rises since the lethargy levels drop.
Tip No. 9: Fix a definitive finish hour.
Although working from home may seem like a leisure trip but mostly, it tends to make you get carried away. You can get caught up in your activities in the comfortable environment of your home, making you lose track of time.
Thus, it’s critical that you allocate a particular amount of time to finish each task so that you are able to efficiently finish all the tasks on the agenda for the day. You might even be able to partially complete a task scheduled for the next day. Setting a timer for each task will instil a sense of urgency to complete the task, in you. This ensures a systematic working schedule.
Also, do not forget to save your work before you shut down your computer and call it a day.
Keep at it!
It’s easy to let your professional and personal life whilst you are working from home. It becomes difficult to draw a boundary between the two. But you have to ensure that you are able to draw that line every single day. It could affect your productivity at work if these two aspects become entangled.
By adhering to these simple and easy-to-follow tips, you will surely see an increase in your output and improve your productivity. It’s a gradual process which will show results with time. This type of regime has its own pros and cons. It’s your responsibility to harvest the pros and neglect the cons. And during this current global crisis, it’s the perfect opportunity to do so.
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Stay healthy and safe.