4 Ways to Be More Productive While Working From Home
We all have days at work, especially while many of us are currently working from home, where we feel like we did not get much done. Maybe you felt like you needed assistance from a busy colleague, had a bad night’s sleep, or were distracted by family members being around. However, there are easy steps you can take regardless of the situation that can lead you to be more productive. Here are 4 ways that we recommend:
1. Focus on one task at a time
While many of us feel like we can multitask efficiently overwhelming scientific research has demonstrated that the vast majority cannot. When you switch back and forth between tasks your brain must backtrack to figure out where you left off on each task. This extra use of brainpower ultimately slows you down and wears you out.
Instead, set up your work environment to mono-task. Silence your cellphone when you can, turn off music and remove other distractions you may surround yourself with during the day to lock in on the task. You may not be able to designate hours for one activity but taking 10 minutes to an hour to focus on one item will make better use of your time. You can set a timer to force yourself to stay locked into the task. You will begin forcing yourself to stay engaged.
2. Beat procrastination
While putting off that expense report or presentation may feel good now, forcing yourself to cram in at the last moment creates unnecessary stress and volatile workflow. What feels good now usually hurts later.
Hold yourself accountable by finding an accountability partner. This could be a co-worker or boss whom you must update on your project's progress. Making sure you have a partner who shows disappointment in not meeting outlined deadlines and one who praises when they do can provide needed motivation.
Create a To-Do list of items you want to accomplish for the day. Don’t make the list unattainable or too broad. Be succinct and think short-term to avoid feeling overwhelmed with what needs to be done. You could do this at the beginning of each morning to help you organize how you go about your day in as little as 5 minutes.
3. Clean up your workspace
There is no “correct’ way to set up your work area. But how you do it can have a huge effect on how well you work during the day. In most cases, you should keep your desk clear of everything you are not currently working on. Having multiple separate tasks on your desk can cause you to jump between them forcing your brain to multitask throughout. One easy way to change your workspace is to spend the last few minutes of your day preparing for the next. You won’t have to worry about the mess you left yesterday and will be able to jump right into your work for the next.
4. Manage your inbox
Your email inbox can be a chaotic place at times and dealing with these emails in a timely fashion can be problematic at times. Set aside time each day to process email. This could be a handful of times a day or once every hour to filter through it. Giving your email full attention a few times will allow for the greatest efficiency.
You can also divide your email up into separate folders. Most email platforms allow you to do this where you can assign which type of emails go to each folder. If you want to always know when a client emails you, create a “client” folder to allow for quick responses to notify you while the others will be on hold until your designated time to check it. Turn off the notifications for emails that are not urgent and keep them on for the more pressing matters.
While you still will likely have “bad” and “good” workdays they will be relatively better than those of your past. Everyone requires different work environments and different work schedules so adjust accordingly so you can have the most energy to get things done even if it is a Friday afternoon.
Have a tip or trick for maximizing your efficiency during the workday? Our team would be thrilled to learn about your work-style and happy to help if you find you and your team are struggling to accomplish your goals during the current work climate.