Here for some work from home tips? We’ve got 11! Apply these changes to become more effective and productive working from home.
For many professionals, working from home is a new frontier. Traditionally, workers hunkered over their cubicles and go about the humdrum of their day.
Things are different now.
In 2021, 25 – 35% of the workforce will be working from home. And in light of COVID-19, that figure stands to balloon even bigger.
This nudges professionals to adapt quick.
Trouble is, few are used to (if at all able to) do any meaningful work in their bedrooms while rocking their jammies.
Speaking from one lazy bitch to another, it’s easy to spiral down a black hole of procrastination when working from home. So, here’s a list of changes you can apply to your daily work to make sure you come out of it a badass (and not a lazy-ass) every day.
11 work from home tips to make your work more productive
- Block time to save time
- Keep focus with themed days
- Make room for work
- Declutter your physical + digital workspace
- Use the right tools for the job—the right one for you, anyway
- Ditch your jammies and suit up
- Step out when you feel distracted
- Say what you mean (and mean what you say)
- Set strict boundaries
- Take a break. You deserve it!
- Plan your days ahead
1. Block time to save time
Since you’re not going to the office anymore, your calendar becomes 10x more crucial. As a general rule, everything that will and should happen throughout the workday should be in your calendar.
It will vary on different work set-ups, but blocking time off for meetings, projects, or important tasks can help you design your workdays.
2. Keep focus with themed days
Where able, you should theme your days.
Companies—the good ones, anyway—let their employees “own” certain KPIs, and it’s up to them how to hit their own goals, including managing their own time.
One great way of doing so is theming your days.
You can keep your workweek’s meetings/standups strictly on Mondays. Then content creation on Tuesdays. Reporting on Wednesdays. Planning on Fridays, and so on.
3. Make room for work
Get yourself a dedicated workspace. Trust me, it’s crucial.
Like a siren call, your bed’s pull will grow stronger and stronger, until 5 minutes later, you’ll find yourself laying around, mindlessly scrolling on Instagram.
Having a space meant specifically for work will signal your brain that you’re supposed to be working. It’s a simple mind trick, but it works.
4. Declutter your physical + digital workspace
Why stop with just having a space? Make it ideal. Make it pleasant.
Keep your workspace clean. And that includes the space where you physically work at, as well as the device you’re working in. For the latter, I use a modified version of Tiago Forte’s PARA filing system.
When you like the physical and virtual place for work, you do more and better work.
5. Use the right tools for the job—the right one for you, anyway
As a self-proclaimed productivity nut, I’ve clocked more than enough time trying out different tools to help keep myself productive.
I have one takeaway: tools don’t matter.
You can work off of something as basic as a spreadsheet or something as sophisticated as, say, a full-fledged project management software like Jira or Asana.
It will depend entirely on your workflow. Pick one, run with it, and use the tool (don’t let the tool use you!)
On the flipside, for more technical work, it’s imperative to use the right tool that will help you accomplish your task. If you’re working UI/UX, you might want to use a wireframing tool or something like Miro.
6. Ditch your jammies and suit up
Just like your work environment, the clothes you wear condition your mind to go on “work mode” and strive for productivity.
You don’t have to wear button-downs like you would at work. Getting out of your sleepwear is enough. Little goes a long way, be that wearing your wristwatch or wearing your work shoes at home.
7. Step out when you feel distracted
When you feel stuck, it’s perfectly fine to step out of your home to reset.
For me, that’s a nearby coffee shop with decent Wi-Fi and an abundance of electric sockets (for charging). If your town/city has a coworking space, you might want to consider that too. Plenty of room to work at and opportunity to network with other professionals in your area.
Sometimes, the mere dispelling of comfort is enough to kick you into a more productive headspace.
8. Say what you mean (and mean what you say)
Here’s a work from home tip I don’t hear often…Communicate more efficiently!
Poor communicate takes a ton of time away from your day-to-day. How many unnecessary “got this” or “thank you” emails/messages have you sent or received? It adds up.
While we’re at it, practice asynchronous communication. Not every message requires an immediate response. Choosing which one deserves your attention can be the difference between a productive and an unproductive day.
So, the next time you hear that Slack notification ping, assess whether it needs your attention right away, or if it’s perfectly fine to put it in the backburner.
9. Set strict boundaries
Working remotely has some liberties built in. That said, it also comes with the responsibility to set your own boundaries.
This applies to many things, including the scope of your work, your available hours, and more. Similarly, you’d want to set expectations with people you live with. It pays to have them know which hours you shouldn’t come a-knockin’ on your room door.
Communicating these boundaries clearly will help you work smoothly and more productively.
10. Take a break. You deserve it!
Counterintuitive it may seem, breaks are good for your productivity.
Your brain, after all, can only focus for a handful of hours every day. Your brain needs downtime.
That’s why productivity tactics like Pomodoro Technique are popular. The gist is to focus on working on a single task for 25 minutes. Right after, you take a break for 5 minutes.
It’s the same concept as putting your reps in at the gym. Give your muscles (in this case, your brain) some time to recover, before tearing it apart again.
11. Plan your days ahead
Sun Tzu says that every battle is “won before it is fought.”
The same thing applies to your workweek. Giving yourself the time and space to step back and look at the big picture of what the week entails helps inform your tasks and projects.
Regardless of how you manage your to-do lists, knowing what will happen in the week will help you plan ahead, and therefore, become more productive.
In short, don’t come into a duel without a loaded gun.
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