10 Habits to Increase Your Productivity While Working Remotely

You should have a set time to work, a defined workspace, and a daily routine, even though you’re at home

Harsha Vardhan
Nov 23, 2020 · 6 min read
Scrabble tiles forming the words “work from home”
Scrabble tiles forming the words “work from home”
Photo by Nelly Antoniadou on Unsplash

Ever since work from home began, my productivity has had its ups and lows until I found the right way to do it. Since then, it has been at a constant high. During the initial days, all of us must have had mixed feelings. I first thought it would be fun for a while to wake up five minutes before the first meeting and spend all day in pajamas. And I thought avoiding traffic and travel was the best thing that could ever happen to me.

But later on, when burnout kicked me pretty hard, I decided to not let it get to me. I thought it was just me, but later on, when I’d talked to my colleagues who live with their parents or the ones that have kids at home or a noisy neighbor who loves to yell all the time, I realized what the real deal was. Also, being prone to get distracted or to procrastinate has also become extremely common as we are all at home in our own space. We’re the master of our time now as there’s no one around us that we’re scared will judge us.

I’d decided to figure out what was actually going wrong. Following these few, simple habits will give you enough focus and concentrated time to work. I had inculcated these habits the tough way because, honestly, if remote working is not planned, there are at least a thousand ways it can go seriously wrong, sucking up your time and energy.

1. Have Specific Work Times

Plan your work times based on your comfort and stick to them strictly. Make sure to pick a time range that you’re sure to dedicate to work and when you have zero disturbance around you. It’s recommended to start your work early and close early because in the mornings, we have peaceful environments and the chances of getting distracted are fairly low.

Also, make sure that once you’ve logged off, you do not work until your work hour begins the next day. Communicate your work hours to your teammates and always make sure you share a common time with them for collaborative work.

2. Have a Routine

Given the chaos and uncertainty that COVID-19 has caused, it’s always good to have a routine that gives us a sense of stability. A routine gives us mental sharpness, emotional wellbeing, and better energy. All of that, in turn, results in better productivity. A routine will help us feel like we have something to look forward to.

Trust me, I honestly appreciate the monotonous life that I used to have because that was way more fun than being locked up at home.

3. Have a Defined Workspace

Set up a proper workspace with a table and a chair, preferably an ergonomic chair to make sure your physical health does not go for a toss. It’s strongly advised to never work on a bed or a couch. Having a proper workspace will also prepare our brains to think of work only when we’re around it, and it will give us a sense of going to the office. It will also help you maintain proper work times, and most important, it does not give you the hip or shoulder pain that you’ll develop if you don’t sit and work in the right posture.

Try to even have standing workspaces because sitting for prolonged hours is not healthy as well. I read an article that said sitting for too long is also addictive, like smoking, and that it has its own issues. Give this interesting article a read to understand the side effects of sitting for a long time.

4. When You Start Your Day, Create a Checklist to Follow Strictly

Jot down the list of things that you want to finish by the end of the day. Be practical when you draft it and ensure your list does not end up making you work overtime. When you’re not able to finish something by the given time, take note of why it did not go well and try not to repeat it. This process also helps you to review yourself, and you tend to understand the different things that could help you be more productive.

5. Noise-Canceling Music

Noise cancellation headphones could be your lifesaver if you’ve noisy neighbors, if you live close to a lot of traffic, or if you’ve got kids in the house. When you need quick focus in a noisy environment, put your earphones on with your favorite tune on it, and I promise you, you will be taken to the world of high concentration. This technique has worked like a charm for me almost all the time.

6. Over-Communication Is the New Communication

There are too many factors involved that can cause data loss while communicating with your teammates, so please don’t leave anything to be read between the lines. If you’re trying to communicate something that’s complicated, always feel free to call the other person. Since all of us are in our space, the chances of forgetting also are reduced as they constantly get reminded of things that are over-communicated.

7. Do Something That Will Make You Feel Good About Yourself

Now like never before, being at home has helped us have enough time to do things other than work. Use this time to learn something new, develop a new hobby, read more books, write something, become fitter, or basically just do anything that will help you feel happy. There’s chaos out there right now, and we have ample time in our hands, so to remain sane, it’s important to take good care of yourself.

8. Take Enough Breaks

Short breaks help you become more productive and are good for your mental health. It’s necessary to step away from your desk and your monitor to recharge yourself both mentally and physically. Taking short breaks also improves one’s creativity. Some people complain that they feel guilty if they take breaks — please don’t.

Always remember that no one can work for hours together and taking enough breaks is good for you and also your work. There’s no reason to feel guilty about it.

9. Drink Enough Water

It is important to stay hydrated. Because we’re at home, we might get carried away easily with work and go without drinking water for hours together. So consciously remind yourselves to drink water, and if you fail to do so, there are plenty of apps that will do the job of reminding you.

10. Spend Enough Time With Your Loved Ones

Life is not all about work: One must always find the right balance between work and life. The quintessential way of maintaining this is by spending enough time with your loved ones. Now that we’re at home in a calmer environment, away from the hassle of rushing to work and racing through traffic, it’s high time we make it up to the people who actually care for us and whom we’ve failed to give enough of our time and attention. This will give us happiness and peace. It’s like therapy.

Conclusion

Working from home can easily become stressful if you don’t deliberately make a choice to properly plan your time and follow these simple habits. If you plan right, you might even opt to remotely work for the rest of your life because it seriously has the potential to help you work with your highest productivity. Be positive, be kind :)

Thanks for reading!

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Harsha Vardhan

Written by

Engineer, Photographer, Tech Blogger. Builds products and writes for developers. I love to code and love to help others code :)

Better Programming

Advice for programmers.

Harsha Vardhan

Written by

Engineer, Photographer, Tech Blogger. Builds products and writes for developers. I love to code and love to help others code :)

Better Programming

Advice for programmers.

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