Leading Remote
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Leading Remote

5 Ways I Actually Stay Productive Working From Home

Remote work doesn’t mean you have to be at home the whole time

Photo by cottonbro from Pexels

Staying productive is a difficult task whether you’re working in a physical office or at home. There are different challenges to face depending on the place you are.

When you work at home, you may feel lost and tired all the time. You may feel guilty for not being productive the way you want to be.

I founded a gaming company in 2012. In 2014, I decided to get rid of the office. Understanding how to be productive working from home helped me build a profitable six-figure business.

If you want to get the most of remote work, there are five things you may try to do that I do.

#1 I have a work schedule

Many people think that they can run away from the work routine as they work from home and work anytime they want. It is not because you can work anytime in your home that you should.

The same way that you have time to start and stop working in an office, you should have one in your home. Having a work routine at your place is essential for productivity. Your brain understands when you should or shouldn’t be working. It’s the same as having a work environment.

I usually wake up at 6 AM, work from 8 AM to 11 AM, go to the gym, and work again from 2 PM to 7 PM. I have a well-defined routine that allows me to organize my time and be productive.

#2 But I also improvise

Business hours are the hours during the day in which business is commonly conducted. Typical business hours vary widely by country. By observing common informal standards for business hours, workers may communicate more easily and find a convenient divide between work life and home life.

Business hours usually are from 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM, Monday to Friday. But, who said that work only needs to happen during “business hours”?

Ricardo Semler is a Brazilian entrepreneur. In his book, The Seven-Day Weekend, he talks about work and fun. We learn that we should work from Monday to Friday and have fun on the weekends. That is one of the most things that society expects from us. Most of us do that without even realizing it.

Working from home gives you more flexibility to adapt to different or unexpected situations. You should enjoy that. Not having to go to the office can provide you with time freedom, but you should use it wisely.

You should have a well-defined routine and improvise on top of it if you need to. Sometimes you may feel more productive and decide to work more. Sometimes you may feel down and decide to stop working earlier. Don’t be too restricted with yourself.

The Seven-Day Weekend mindset, where work and fun can happen any time, does not mean that you should not organize your days and weeks. You must build a routine for your life.

People are creatures of habit, and routines offer a way to promote health and wellness through structure and organization. Having a routine can significantly improve our productivity.

#3 I take short breaks

It’s impossible to be productive all the time. It’s not very easy to maintain complete focus on a single task for long periods. The amount of time spent on a task before concentration starts to fade varies from person to person.

While some people can stay focused for up to an hour, others struggle to get beyond 30 minutes. When you take breaks, it’s a way of pressing the “reset” button in your mind.

The Pomodoro Technique is a time management method developed by Francesco Cirillo in the late 1980s. The technique uses a timer to break down work into intervals, traditionally 25 minutes in length, separated by short breaks.

If you can only stay focused on a task for 30 minutes, taking a five-minute break after 25 minutes will help reset your focus when you resume.

I’ve tried the Pomodoro Technique, but it didn’t work for me. Sometimes I’m in the flow for more than 30 minutes, and I don’t like to stop. I prefer to keep going. When I feel that I’m stuck, I stop.

What I most like to do for a short break is to play an instrument. That is something that helps me to relax and reset my brain. As I work from home and have many different ones around me, I can choose to play any of them when I need to rest my head.

#4 I avoid distractions

According to a University of California Irvine study, it takes nearly 30 minutes to refocus after getting distracted. Think about the lost time, energy, and money that it represents.

When you work in an office, you may be interrupted by your colleagues taping in your shoulder to talk. The same cannot happen in a remote environment. However, you may be interrupted by notifications. It’s hard to do deep work if you are constantly interrupted.

The most simple and easy thing to do is to disable all notifications on your computer. You don’t need to reply to people or be replied to in real-time.

Many leaders think that if their people don’t reply fast is because they’re not working. They’re away from their computer. The truth is that replying fast means they’re not productive. Constantly asking people what they’re working on prevents them from actually doing the work they have to do.

I work with my iPhone on not disturb mode. I also disable all notifications on my computer. When I’m not in the middle of a task, I check if someone needs me.

#5 I get out of home

A study found participants were more likely to report good health and well-being when they spent 120 minutes or more in nature a week. The good vibe peaked at 200 to 300 minutes a week. Anything less than two hours didn’t make a difference.

As you are working from home, it is easier not to get out of where you are and spend most of your time at the same place. Remote work doesn’t mean you have to be at home the whole time.

I start my day walking for 30 minutes outside in some park with trees. I also may take a bike ride somewhere. Starting the day like that helps me to think about what I have to do for the day.

At lunch, I take a big break and go to the gym, which helps me go back to work revitalized.

Final thoughts

Working from home isn’t for everyone. I had to organize different processes to allow remote work for my company and me. Also, I needed to hire people that could adapt to that environment.

Remote work comes with its fair share of challenges the same way that a physical office. If you want to the get the most of it, remember to:

  1. Have a work schedule
  2. Improvise
  3. Take short breaks
  4. Avoid distractions
  5. Get out of home

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