How to beat productivity lows when working from home
There are 53 million people doing freelance work in the US — 34% of the national workforce (a significant portion!) and other than freelancers there are a number of other professionals who work from home quite often.
Many companies started encouraging work from home, while most of employees expect the possibility to work from home within their organizations.
Given the increasing popularity of working from home, it has become crucial to ensure that employees remain just as productive (if not even more) when working from home as when working from an office.
Here are 6 tips on how to stay productive in this case:
- Keep up with the company work hours
Note two points here:
- Follow the same work timings your team members/company is following. This way, if you have any questions on a given task or new suggestions you want to propose, you can discuss and resolve the issues right away, instead of waiting for another full day.
- Always keep track of the number of hours you are working, more specifically the number of hours you are being productive. Tracking tools like WorkPuls can help you track and record your timings. Tracking is essential if you charge per hour as consultants do; it can help you keep an eye on how you are spending your time, and hence helps you work with more discipline.
- Implement ergonomics
Making sure that your workplace is physically comfortable is an often overlooked, but highly important aspect. According to science, an ergonomic workstation can boost your productivity.
The central idea of ergonomics is to design the workplace to minimize the physical stress on the worker; you can’t have your ability to work and your health hindered by poor workspace settings. Backaches, leg cramps etc. can be quite detrimental to the quality of work and combined with physical and mental stress these problems produce, it can be quite harmful to your well-being.
For example, consider working in an uncomfortable chair for hours together; Wouldn’t it tire you out much faster than working in a chair with a proper backrest? Sure it will.
Poor ergonomics can lead to frustration and fatigue.
- Keep physical work to afternoon
Planning out your day and work in advance and strategically is key to maximizing productivity when working from home.
For example, when you are fresh out of bed in the morning, you are full of energy and raring to get to work. Be smart and use this morning energy to get energy-demanding and monotonous tasks done and keep the more action-oriented tasks such as making phone calls, coding etc to the afternoon.
Having said that, you should know that according to science there are specific times when we are highly productive and it usually depends on the person; being aware of when you work best and making the most of that time is crucial to having a productive day.
- Keep your work zone sacred
This segregation of your work zone at home can indeed test your willpower, but I assure you it will be worth it. This is the only way you can ensure that your productivity doesn’t succumb to distractions. All tech tools and productivity hacks can’t help you if you welcome distractions during your work hours.
I know it’s great to watch something on Youtube while working simultaneously, or to munch on snacks, or to sit next to your children, but it is assuredly counter-productive. It will decrease your efficiency; you will end up working on a task for hours even though you could have been finished in an hour.
Besides slowing you down, mixing your work and personal space/time will affect your accuracy. You will tend to make silly mistakes such as overlooking a line in the code, which can cost you a lot.
- Take advantage of tech tools
There are about a gazillion incredible productivity, time management and task management apps and tools for you to take advantage of and experiment with. Integrate them into your everyday workflow to maximize your efficiency; make use of time management apps like Finish and task management apps like Evernote and more.
Another important thing to note here is that — don’t just focus on getting the right apps to support your work, but also make sure you have a hardware that is complementing or lightening your workload. For example, if your work involves a lot of note-taking then you might want to invest in a smart pen that automatically digitizes your notes or if your work involves a lot of typing, you should get a type-friendly keyboard etc.
- Follow the Pomodoro method
If you like to work in intense short bursts and take quick breaks frequently, then this technique will well suit you. In the Pomodoro method, you work continuously for 25 minutes, take a short 5 min break to stand, stretch and relax, drink water etc. and after four such cycles, you get to take a longer break.
Lucky for us, there are many apps to help you integrate the Pomodoro technique into your working style. A personal favorite of mine is the Pomotodo app.
Finally, I would strongly recommend not to rely completely on willpower to beat the productivity lows; there are definitely smarter and more effective ways to do that with the help of tech tools. Instead of trusting yourself not to open Facebook, why don’t you just use a blocking tool to block it out until you are done with your work?
Take advantage of hacks, tricks, shortcuts and technology to really boost your productivity.