After years of working from shared office spaces, cafés, and personal desks at home, working from our own home needs a lot of purposeful planning and I’m certain of that. Working remotely is indeed a good thing… right up the moment where your neighbor across the street starts using all sorts of noisy machinery and power tools. Managing and handling your time and picking your working hours can be really stressful if you don’t carefully outline your day beforehand.
Painter and polymath Leonardo Da Vinci once said, “While you are alone, you are entirely your own master.” When working from home, you are more prone to waste half your time struggling fighting distractions, procrastination, or maintaining energy dips. If you cede to your distractions, you could end dedicating your productive time to banishing the guilt that comes from yielding to those distractions.
In the rise of COVID-19, many are finding themselves working from home with young children, partners, and family. So how can you maintain your focus despite your environment?
Start Your Work as Early as you can
Waking up early is a habit shared by most successful people. Vanderkam conducted a poll of 20 executives and 90% of the respondents said that on weekdays, they wake up before 6:00 am. From a productivity standpoint, this makes sense because you will have a peaceful environment to work on and fewer distractions.
Strange as it may seem but one way to work productively on our homes is to go straight into your to-do list as soon as you wake up. A solution to creating progress is by simply doing your tasks first thing before your family or roommates have woken up.
Additionally, according to a study, waking up early makes you happier. Some evidence implies that exposure to morning light improves depressive symptoms in seasonal affective disorder.
Know The Time When You’re Most Productive
When you’re working remotely, it’s essential to know when you are most active and focused then plan your schedule around that because no matter where we are, one of the critical elements that we need to consistently deliver our best work is energy.
For instance, if you are most composed, creative, and productive from 9:00 am to 12:00 pm, use that outburst of energy to get things accomplished during that time frame.
If you are a night-owl and productive between the hours of 3:00 pm and 11:00 pm because you need a few hours to slide into the day, leverage that time. Organize your tasks respectively and make those your work hours.
The point is that you can utilize your energy by working with your body rather than fighting against it. It’s better to direct your energy into a particular period than randomly insert it over chunks of time.
Plan Your Day as if it Was just a Normal Day
When working remotely, you handle almost everything— projects, tasks, and breaks. Without a proper structure, you can instantly lose focus or burn out.
To stay on schedule, part your tasks and when you’ll do it over the course of the day. Make use of an online calendar to track personal events and create reminders that tell you when to start on new tasks. In the office, if your mornings are for writing, practice the same schedule at home. Use different techniques and methods to help you be as efficient as possible with particular tasks.
And don’t forget to take breaks, refresh, and recover. When your office is also your home, it’s easy to overwork. Log out when you’re supposed to and resist the urge to open to your computer after dinner.
Know The Difference of Work Zones From Relaxing Zones
When you’re working in the comfort of your homes, it’s easy to crawl up in bed with your laptop and pretend that you’re “working.”
To enhance your efficiency, set up a separate home office or desk just for work. This helps set your brain up for enhanced productivity because your brain, in this kind of set up, gets wired to think of the office where work happens.
One of the great buys and smart ways of spending your money when working from home is noise-canceling technology and gadgets. Years ago, I bought my first noise-canceling headphones and I’ve never regretted the decision.
Working remotely exposes you to sounds like the barking dog of your neighbor, traffic noise that seeps through windows, an on-going construction across the street, and many more that become irritating or unbearable over time. It’s a different discussion if you have kids because they would probably be playing close to your workspace or right next to you even.
Noise-canceling headphones are great at removing those kinds of sounds. They can also cloud the sound of talking if you’re in a setting in which other people like your family or roommates have to also work. They work even better when combined with music. The absence of background noise enhances the music you’re playing, and you can work without the distraction during your focused period.
Don’t Stop Socializing
For us to stay healthy, productive, stable, and importantly, sane, connecting with people is needed more than ever. You can hold online meetings, make a phone call, or send a friend a message. In these times, it’s important that we support one another and, of course, laugh!
Karen Eyre-White, a productivity coach said, “If you’re the kind of person who’ll miss your colleagues when you work from home, build opportunities for socializing into your day.” She also recommends trying to call your workmates or friends rather than sending them an email or a message through Slack.
Our technology has made it really easy to stay connected. Tools like Google Hangouts, Skype, Microsoft Teams, Zoom, Facebook Workplace, Discord, and WhatsApp helps us to stay connected with our friends and colleagues at work. Support from our colleagues and friends not only can help us ease our stress but also improve our coping with stress. Regularly check-in with your friends, family, and neighbors because for many people, working remotely can be very challenging. How we decide to face that challenge won’t just determine our productivity, it will also determine our mental health and even our happiness.