Remote working has become a very popular model these days, especially with social distancing and offices shut down. According to this report at Buffer, 99% of people would prefer to work remotely. The reasons vary depending on the individual, but most enjoy the flexibility and comfort that comes with it—some said they can spend more time with family and manage their own schedule.
However, not everybody is prepared to work from home. This could potentially affect the company’s productivity in the bigger picture. Jack Gold, founder of J. Gold Associates, once said: “Too many organizations are concentrating on finding a collaboration tool when the bigger issue is training people how to work with others in remote work situations.”
That’s why it is important to follow certain tips to maximize your productivity while working remotely. Here we’ve collated some of the key steps you should follow to stay productive even during this lockdown.
1. Customize Your Work Routine
Everybody’s routine is different, that’s why your work routine won’t be the same as your colleague’s. But it’s important to set a clear schedule that you can follow when working remotely. At home, there’s no one to tell you when you should start working and when to stop, that’s why it can be challenging to keep productive. A good practice to try is to create your work schedule template the night before you start working, this way, you’ll know exactly when you should do each task. Besides, this will help you meet deadlines.
2. Time Blocking
This is a time management technique that requires you to divide your hours into blocks and assign each block to a dedicated task. If you are going into remote working without preparation or planning, almost everything can be a distraction and you’re bound to be overworked. If you have a prioritized task for today, you can divide this task into several sub-tasks to efficiently manage your time. Besides, this provides you some sense of satisfaction when you’ve finished each task and you can remove them from your to-do list.
3. Prioritize Your Tasks
Prioritizing means letting less urgent tasks take the back seat while you focus on more pressing matters. To efficiently prioritize your tasks, you can create a to-do list. This way you’ll have a bigger picture of your daily work, and you’ll be able to easily spot which tasks require your immediate attention. If you are unsure and need an extra pair of eyes to glance over the urgency of each task, you can also send this list to a member of your team who shares the same understanding of the job scopes.
4. Use the Pomodoro technique
The Pomodoro technique is another time management method. It will help you accomplish certain tasks in a certain amount of time. The original technique tracked time with the Pomodoro time measure, which is usually 25 minutes. However, we know that your tasks don’t necessarily take the same amount of time to be completed. You can customize this technique by tracking the time it takes you to finish a task without distractions.
This way, when you’re working again on that specific task, you know the exact time it will take you and you will strive to meet the same record. This technique is very popular, and it’s perfect for boosting your productivity and tracking your time. You can even get faster every time and set slightly more challenging goals to be more efficient.
5. Avoid Distractions
Distractions will always be there, you just need to avoid them as much as you can and know how to deal with them when the moment comes. To avoid distractions, you can turn off your notifications. Your phone can be a major source of distraction—the same goes for your TV or even the radio. If you can keep those off during working hours, that’s huge progress.
Talking with your family to have their cooperation is important as well. When you’re at home, your family may automatically assume you’re resting because you’re not “at work”. They may reach out to you for nothing urgent and that could be a big distraction for you. Therefore, it’s important that you inform them about your working hours and breaks so you can also spend some time with them.
If they still approach you for any reason, deal with the situation based on its urgency. If something demands your immediate attention, get it sorted out and then go back to work right after. Remember that not all distractions are bad, there could be important ones too. You could also personalize your notification preferences to only receive notifications from your boss or any other member of your team. This way, you don’t have distractions, but you can still tend to important requests.
6. Find a Good Place to Work
There’s nothing more demotivating than a messy workplace. This will have your mind busy thinking about the mess and not focusing on the actual work. So maybe what you should do is to have a clean workspace. If you don’t have an office at home, you should pick a place that’s quiet and peaceful, but not necessarily your bedroom. If you start working from bed, your brain will automatically assume it’s sleep time and you won’t be productive at all.
7. Dress for Success
Most people say they’d like to work from home because they can be in their pajamas all day. And while this is totally true, some may find it harder to get in the “working” state of mind when not dressed properly. If you are struggling to be productive, you can try dressing up for work, although your new office may just be a couple of steps away from your bedroom. You don’t necessarily have to put on a dress or a suit, but you can wear something that reminds you it’s time to work.
8. Say Goodbye to Procrastination
Procrastination can be your worst nightmare when you’re trying to keep yourself productive. It can be a big monster to defeat but it’s not impossible. If you’re trying to avoid procrastination, you should set clear deadlines (even if it’s a one-hour deadline to complete a task) and work with incentives. Incentives are a great way to stay motivated. You can set daily, weekly or monthly incentives. This will increase your desire to complete a task and you’ll be less likely to fall into the hands of procrastination.