10 Tips for Better Productivity While Working from Home
- 1.1 Use a Dedicated Office
- 1.2 Define Your Work Schedule
- 1.3 Take More Breaks
- 1.4 Avoid Multitasking
- 1.5 Know When to Turn Off
- 1.6 Use Your Productive Hours
- 1.7 Use Productive Time Management Techniques
- 1.8 The Pomodoro Technique
- 1.9 Time Blocking
- 1.10 Time Mapping
- 1.11 Prioritize Your Tasks
- 1.12 The Eisenhower Matrix
- 1.13 The Relative Priority Technique
- 1.14 The Pareto Principle
- 1.15 Eat the Frog Technique
- 1.16 Eliminate Time Wasters and Distractions
- 1.17 Learn How to Delegate
- 1.17.1 Conclusion
Many of us still prefer to work from home long after the pandemic and even for the rest of our professional lives.
According to Buffer’s 2021 State of Remote Work, 97.6% of surveyed workers said they’d like to work, at least, in some remote work capacity for the rest of their careers. The study also reported that 97% of respondents would recommend remote work to others.
That said, remote work can wear you down if you don’t do it the right way. Many workers have complained about burnout, lack of communication, and reduced productivity.
These issues are mainly because working from home blurs the boundary between work and social life, causing telecommuters to take fewer breaks and work in silos.
That’s why we’ll be covering tips on increasing productivity while you work from home.
10 Tips for Better Productivity While Working from Home
Use a Dedicated Office
One of the main downsides of remote work is how often our domestic life seeps into our work life. The first step you can take to separate work from life is to create a dedicated work area.
Our brains naturally develop cognitive biases around every environment or space we find ourselves in. Just as every room’s layout and design tell us what it’s for, our moods and sense of purpose always respond when we walk into any place.
So, your home office will serve as a stimulus that gets you into the work mood required to help you maintain focus.
The office builds your discipline, reduces distractions, raises your productivity level, and works wonders for your physical health.
Here are tips for setting up your home office:
- Choose a space that guarantees little to no distractions.
- Ensure you have every piece of equipment you need.
- Use office furniture and supplies that provide comfort.
- Invest in good lighting. You should also set up the office close to natural light
Define Your Work Schedule
The next step in defining your work-life boundary is creating a specific work schedule and sticking to it.
Getting out of bed and just working as you go without a defined schedule can kill your productivity and ultimately slow you down.
If your company has a uniform defined work schedule, then things would be easier. All you have to do is find a way to keep to your mandatory schedule. A home office, as we’ve covered, can help you with that.
However, if your company affords you flexible hours, then it falls on you to define your work schedule and stick to it.
Start by identifying those hours where you’re more focused and work best. The routine 9 to 5 is great, especially if you recently transitioned to remote work from an in-office setting.
Using regular hours helps you rebuild your internal work clock. Coupled with your home office, it would be like reenacting the office routine.
You can switch things up by dressing up for work and heading to your home office.
While creating your schedule, ensure you account for everything, including possible distractions and some domestic errands.
Take More Breaks
Taking more breaks allows you to recharge and boosts your focus. So, integrate breaks into your schedule and make sure you respect them.
You can take walks to regain your focus.
Multitasking works against productivity. When you’re doing more than one thing at once, you’re not really doing anything.
Studies have shown that efficiency takes a dive when we rapidly switch between tasks.
So, resist the urge to reply to emails while working on an important task. Instead, create schedules for each task, no matter how minor, and stick to the schedule.
Know When to Turn Off
Just because you work from home doesn’t mean you should reply to emails at 1 am. As we mentioned in the second tip, create a work schedule and stick to it.
Forget about work during your off hours and focus on your personal life.
Use Your Productive Hours
Your most productive hours are those time periods where you’re energized and focused to work. In essence, it’s knowing whether you’re a morning or night person.
Take note of those hours and ensure you assign tasks that require critical thinking and complex calculations to them.
Use Productive Time Management Techniques
Time management is one skill you need if you’re going to boost productivity whether you’re working remotely or from an office.
As it turns out, there are different productivity-boosting time management techniques that you can master. Let’s walk you through them.
- Time Tracking
Time tracking is almost a universal time management technique for every remote worker. Most companies use it to track billable hours for work-from-home employees so they can create accurate timesheets and avoid payroll mistakes.
That said, you need a time tracking app to make sense of how much time you spend on tasks and distractions. This way, you know where you need to get better and the apps and websites you should avoid to boost your productivity.
The Pomodoro Technique
The Pomodoro technique involves breaking your work day into 25-minute intervals and taking breaks in between. It’s effective for those who procrastinate and waste time on distractions.
So, set your timer to alert you after 25 minutes, then take a 5-minute break after the alarm goes off. Every 25 minutes is called a Pomodoro.
After four pomodoros, you can take a longer break for about 20 to 30 minutes before starting the routine again.
If you juggle different responsibilities and tasks, have to deal with meetings and replying to emails, deal with incessant interruptions, and struggle to stay focused, time blocking can help.
Time blocking is a time management technique that helps you structure your work day. It involves allocating time periods, known as time blocks, to specific tasks.
The concept means you can’t mix up tasks during any time block. It’s all about focusing on one thing and finishing it before moving on to the next activity on your schedule.
Time mapping involves creating a visual overview of your entire day. This time management technique can cover everything you do in work and personal life.
Your time map acts as a map that tells you what comes after completing an activity. This way, you can avoid the tedious process of deciding what to do next.
You can create the map using a piece of paper, a spreadsheet, or a project management tool that supports time mapping.
The idea is to use different color codes to categorize activities and tasks according to type, priority, and duration.
Prioritize Your Tasks
You can work tirelessly all day without achieving anything worthwhile if you don’t prioritize your tasks properly.
Executing the right tasks at the right time means you’ll be spending less time working while increasing your productivity.
To prioritize your tasks, start by listing out everything you have in your to-do list. Then categorize them by importance. Make sure jobs that are important and urgent get to the top of the list followed by those that are important and less urgent.
You can use different techniques to prioritize your tasks better.
The Eisenhower Matrix
The Eisenhower Matrix is one of the most effective priority techniques you can use. It involves grouping tasks into four quadrants, which determine how you’ll use them.
Here’s how you group tasks:
- Important and urgent: Tasks that are critical to your project with due deadlines.
- Important and not urgent: Critical tasks that aren’t time-sensitive.
- Not important and urgent: Time-sensitive tasks that don’t have any impact on important projects. These could be assignments that your colleagues need urgent help with.
- Not important and not urgent: Tasks that you can ignore without consequences
How do you tackle the grouped tasks?
You have to use the 4 Ds in time management. They are Do, Defer, Delegate and Delete.
|Do||Important and Urgent|
|Defer||Important and not urgent|
|Delegate||Not important and urgent|
|Delete||Not important and not urgent|
The Relative Priority Technique
What if you have more than one important and urgent task? Which do you prioritize? That’s what makes the Relative Priority Technique unique.
It works by ranking your tasks from one to ten according to urgency and importance. Look at a task and determine where it falls. You can’t assign two tasks the same number.
The Pareto Principle
The Pareto Principle is also known as the 80/20 rule. The concept states that your work day can be considered successful if you can execute 20% of your most important tasks.
The idea is identifying 20% of your tasks that will make your day productive once completed.
Eat the Frog Technique
The eat the frog Technique involves executing the most important and hectic tasks at the start of your day.
Eliminate Time Wasters and Distractions
Time wasters are activities with little to no importance that prevent you from focusing on critical tasks.
A great example of a time waster is an unimportant meeting. Companies have a lot of these, especially remote-based organizations. They often try to overcompensate with virtual meetings that they end up wasting valuable time for remote employees.
So, ensure you get rid of these kinds of meetings and other distractions like social media.
Learn How to Delegate
Knowing what jobs to pass off to others and when to delegate them is another technique that can boost your productivity.
You don’t have to do everything yourself, as that could lead to burnout.
You should learn to clear your schedule by delegating less critical work to others.
So, ensure you provide clear instructions and confirm that the individual is capable of handling the task.
Finding the best work-from-home routine and pattern is the secret to boosting productivity as a telecommuter. So, ensure you find your productive hours, know when and what to delegate, use time management and task prioritization techniques, and get rid of time wasters.