When you think about remote work, is the first thing that comes to your mind some cool person at the beach casually working on their laptop while holding a cocktail in their hand? Well, of course, remote work does have a lot of benefits, but it’s not all fun and games. Anyone who has worked from home knows how challenging it can be. It requires learning different time management techniques, adapting to fully virtual communication, and investing a lot of effort in fighting the distractions.
I’m a full-time remote worker, but my previous job was an office-based job, with clearly defined work hours from 9-5, so you can probably guess what a shocking transition it was for me. The first week or two of working from home was a complete disaster when it comes to productivity and time management. I needed to make some changes asap, so I came up with some tips on how to increase productivity. Whether you work from home every day or just a couple of days a week, try these tips to get the most out of your remote work. You will be surprised how much you can get done in a day.
1. Get yourself ready as if you were going to the office
The first thing I like to do when I get up is to stick to my morning routine; have breakfast, make myself a cup of tea, get dressed, put makeup on, etc. Wearing pajamas is definitely one of the perks of working from home for some people, but for me, that just didn’t work. I would catch myself working from bed still in my pajamas, and you can guess my productivity was not at the highest level. I was so distracted by so many things that I couldn’t focus on my tasks.
2. Organize, organize, organize
One of my main problems was prioritizing tasks. I was so overwhelmed by the amount of work I had, so I was mainly focusing on the small activities and not having enough time for big and important tasks. After some time, I started to write everything, I mean everything. The night before I would write all the tasks for tomorrow and stick to it the next day. That saved me a lot of time and nerves. If you are one of those people who have a problem with sticking to their schedule (I feel you), there is a lot of tracking-time applications like RescueTime that can help. You can easily check whether you are sticking to your schedule, and see what time of the day you are most productive. A real life-saver, right?
3. Screen break
Personally, I don’t like to stare at the screen for a long period of time. So, what I tend to do is to look every now and then through the window, to see nature, water, anything that is in my environment. Of course, I’m not saying you need to take a break every five minutes, but even a few seconds of regular off-screen time can make a huge difference. Another thing I like to do, which proved to be a game-changer for me, is a bit of stretch every hour. If you need to, you can set an hourly reminder, to remind you that it is time for your stretching exercises. Soon, you will start to see a big impact on your posture, productivity, and overall mood.
4. Stick to defined work hours
This was probably the hardest thing for me. After working in the office from 9 to 5, setting work hours and sticking to them was a major challenge. I would catch myself working 10, or even 12 hours because I wanted to finish as much work as I can. But, as you might know, that is just an endless process. Now I set my work hours the same as in the office, from 9 to 5, and enjoy the rest of the day with my family and friends. I turn off my laptop and force myself not to think about work after 5, even if my work notes are starting at me from the corner of the room.
5. Don’t forget to socialize
Working from home can lead to a lonely life, especially if you are an extrovert and love to spend time with your colleagues. We at Zenos have the rule to schedule Zoom calls to talk about some non-business topics and just chat about everyday situations. You need to fight the lethargy at the end of the workday and not give in to the urge of just moving yourself to the couch and watch Netflix every evening. Remind yourself that you need to spend time in the real world in order to be able to keep working from home.
6. Reward yourself with breaks
Even if you wanted to, you just couldn’t be 100% productive for 8 hours straight. So, what I like to do is to take a 5-10 min break every 2 hours, and instead of going to Instagram and scrolling my feed, I like to do some basic household chores. That way I get to rest my mind from work a little bit, and at the end of the day, everything in my house is at its place so I can fully rest after my workday. 😀
The point is, you need to find what works for you. If you regularly catch yourself wearing pajamas until 4 p.m., know you’re not alone! And, if that doesn’t have any impact on your productivity, good for you! 😀 But, if you are struggling with your work from home, these tips will surely be helpful.