Staying on task when working from home can be challenging, even after several months of remote work. To make the most out of your day, it’s important that you take some time to find a schedule that inspires you to be your most productive self.
While it might take some time to figure out your perfect routine, here are some tactics for finding an effective work-from-home strategy:
5 tactics for remote employees who want to maximize productivity
Control your distractions
Working remotely as a team can sometimes feel overwhelming with distractions you usually would not face in an office setting. Children, pets, household chores, and personal errands can all take a toll on your productivity. Avoid this problem by finding a way to balance your work and personal life throughout the day.
Even if it’s simply folding the laundry or emptying the dishwasher, stopping to complete household jobs can create interruptions in your workflow. If you find that you are interrupting your workday to finish chores, you might need to spend an hour before or after work dedicated to your personal tasks. This practice will ensure that you have time each day to take care of your home without stopping in the middle of an assignment.
With today’s technology, there are many digital platforms and mobile applications as well that allow you to accomplish personal tasks from the comfort of your home. For example, instead of pausing your workday to run to the bank, you can manage your money online with a digital banking service. This not only allows you to manage your finances more effectively but gives you features like real-time text alerts for each transaction, paper check deposits with a mobile app, and no hidden maintenance fees. Before you leave the house to run an errand, take a moment to figure out if you can accomplish it from your phone or laptop.
Since many childcare providers and pet-sitting services are temporarily closed, some remote workers are struggling to manage their time between work and family. If you find yourself distracted by your pets or children, you may need to create a plan for your breaks.
You don’t have to ignore your responsibilities the whole day, but you should carve out some time for family bonding after completing work assignments. For every few hours of work, take a break to spend some time playing with your pets or children. Taking frequent breaks with your family helps them spend time with you while allowing your brain to rest between hard or complicated tasks. Stepping away from your desk has also been proven to increase mental focus and creativity.
Create a routine
If you have been working from home for a few months, you may not have established a morning routine yet. Whether you take time to exercise or make yourself a nutritious meal, you need to create a morning habit that works for your lifestyle.
Without the daily commute to the office, you may be tempted to hit the snooze button and stay in your pajamas all day. As comfortable as that sounds, this type of morning routine will not make your day productive.
When you don’t take time in the morning to prepare your mind for work, you could end up feeling unmotivated and distracted. Prevent this attitude by waking up early and getting yourself dressed as if you were headed to the office. You can even practice some self-care with your favorite breakfast or caffeinated drink as you sit down to start your assignments.
However you spend your morning, remember to focus on getting ready to have a productive day. A positive attitude is one of the most useful ways to boost your happiness at work while improving your creativity, efficiency, and job satisfaction.
Customize your schedule
Depending on your employer, you may have some flexibility when it comes to your remote work hours. If you find that the typical nine-to-five day is hard to maintain when working remotely, you may need to switch it up with a new schedule.
If you find you are more productive earlier in the day and often lose focus after lunch, you could be a morning person. Or if you have a hard time getting tasks finished before lunch but feel more alert in the evening, you are probably a night owl. That’s because your body is naturally inclined to be more productive at a particular time of day.
To find what works best for you, it could take some experimenting with your schedule. Begin by starting your day a half-hour earlier or later than what you normally would. Changing by small increments of time will allow you to easily fine-tune your workday. From there, you can continue to test out different times for your meals and breaks. Don’t feel discouraged if you can’t see an immediate change in your performance. It might take a week or two to notice any significant changes in your productivity.
Embrace the art of task management
Our to-do list is flooded with countless tasks throughout the day. Most often, we switch to multitasking in spirit to work productively and get more done. In reality, multitasking can be disastrous. Study suggests that multitasking can lead to 40% loss in productivity.
With divided attention, you are more likely to make mistakes or forget an essential part of your assignment. Either way, you will end up with more work for yourself.
Fortunately, there are other smart ways you can use to complete your tasks more efficiently.
Rather than trying to do everything at once, try batching similar tasks together. This can allow you to focus on one job at a time while completing several tasks simultaneously.
Take photo editing for example. To start, try grouping simple tasks together like editing and resizing photos. Instead of working on each photo one after another, resize all the pictures at once and then focus on editing each one. That way, you don’t have to switch from resizing to editing whenever you move on to a new image.
While this process is excellent for quick and easy jobs, you shouldn’t try to combine all of your tasks. For work that is complex, detail-oriented, or something you are new to learning, just focus on completing that assignment by itself.
You can also create a schedule that allows you more time to focus on essential tasks. If you find that you are getting distracted by your inbox, you may need to allocate specific times of the day to answer and reply to emails.
Besides, efficient remote working may need some new work from home tools in your bucket. Take business call management for example. If you are bombarded with hundreds of business calls throughout the day and using only your mobile or old-fashioned landline, you are bound to miss several calls from your prospect customers and clients and lose business. However, with a modern cloud-based business phone system, you can not only manage hundreds or even thousands of business calls but also give yourself much-needed break from your phone whenever you need it. With its smart voicemail service and business hours feature, business phone system keeps your helpline open even when you are not online.
When you want to go on a phone-break or need to focus on other tasks, just set yourself status as “away.” Once you come back or are done with your other work-assignments, you can respond to missed calls and voicemails with the follow-up queue in one sitting.
Socialize with your co-workers
Remote work can make you feel isolated, especially if you live by yourself. That’s why it’s important to socialize with your co-workers and friends. It could be a fifteen-minute video call with your teammates discussing a favorite show or an hour-long conversation about your favorite hobbies. No matter how you spend your social time, you should make it a regular part of your workweek.
Using social interaction as a stress release is a great way to control your workplace anxiety and improve mental health. When you spend time with family, friends, and colleagues, it’s a form of self-care that not only helps your well-being but also that of those who you interact with. Socializing with your co-workers can also build a culture of collaboration and communication.
Working from home doesn’t have to feel overwhelming. Just remember to take time for yourself each morning and stick to your personal schedule. By finding a strategy that works, you will have a more manageable and productive workday. Happy working from home!