Our homes are filled with distractions, no accountability over when and how we work, and way less communication with our teams than when we are used to in our offices. Although this may seem like we are not able to be productive, with some proven ways and techniques you can work efficiently from any location.
According to a recent study published by Porch, employees tend to be happier and as productive as their office counterparts when working from home. In their study, one of the dimensions they explored was the perks of working from home.
Participants indicated that the top three perks working from home are :
- daily commute
- schedule flexibility
- and being at home with their loved ones
Chris Lewis, a project manager for Porch said “You can feel more inclined to take a break when you’re not in front of others, and once you get into that calmer mindset, you get an extra boost to get through the day.”
These next few personal tips I will share with you, are the ones that have worked best for me to keep distractions in check and bad habits at bay.
1. Create a scheduled work routine and stick to it.
The decision of sitting down at my desk and starting to work at a certain period of the day is a problem of willpower. Creating the routine that would guide me into that chair is a design of habit. I thought to myself, how can I help me, to overcome the problem of willpower each day and start my work with ease of mind. Instinctively I choose to find out how other people have done it before me and I stumbled on the book called Atomic Habits by James Clear.
For purposes of keeping this text short and efficient, I’ll just head right into it. The method called Habit stacking helped me create the routine of getting in that chair. It is a way of connecting an existing habit we ritualize each day and pairing a new one on top of it. This may go along the lines of, wake up, drink a cup of coffee and sit on your work chair, any way you get the point. Now utilize the heck out of it.
2. Create the ideal home office environment
Well let’s not get our hopes up, the ideal home office would be composed of a room dedicated just for work, a second laptop where one is for personal use and the other just for our tasks. But let’s be realistic, the majority, including myself, don’t have a spare room to use as an office. About a year ago I randomly stumbled upon a video on youtube called “Study Less Study Smart” by Marty Lobdell. Even though the topic was on how to learn effectively, it had transferable knowledge into how to make the best of our work environment, which I in turn used for my work situation.
He states that whenever you sit down and study in a room where multiple activities happen, take an object with you that will signal to your brain the start of your new activity and put a label on it. For example sit down to work, turn on your work lamp, when taking a break, turn it off. It’s that simple. The lamplight works as a signal to your brain that an activity is going on. It’s similar to how our brain reacts when we look at our beds. Another great tip that I use is I have two user accounts: one just for work and the other for personal use.
Here are a few great tips from a Reddit user that can help you out in your search for a more productive work environment.
1. A sticky note/whiteboard kanban board ( been best for me )
- Whenever you think of something you need to do put it on its own sticky note, no tasks share the same note!
- Have a whiteboard with three columns: to-do, in progress, done
- Move your sticky notes across the board!
- Bonus! You feel good having a nice stack of done things
2. Have an analog clock
- It’s a lot easier to actually see the passage of time, less time warps
3. Have a timer
- Try Pomodoro “work 20 min, 5-10 min break”
4. Have a clear desk
- Just move your mess elsewhere if you have to
To make these tips work for you, we also need to pay attention to these attention killers, you can throw my tips above in the drain and forget about the article if the following habits are persistent while working. They can cause your attention to melt and snowball into other unproductive activities while that deadline is looking at your face.
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