Six tips to stay productive working from home
HOW many people can walk to their working desks in their home clothes and begin work?
Or wake up five minutes before “work time”?
Or move working hours around to fit in home errands?
These are some of the advantages to working from home.
But with it comes a lot of time wastage and lack of efficiency because there is lack of discipline and structure.
How can one best make use of this working scenario? Here are some best telecommuting practices:
You may not match the 9-to-5 or 10-to-8 of regular office goers, but you could allocate a fixed time for working during the day. For example, a working day can start at 6am and continue till 9am with a short break for breakfast in between. After 9am, you could have time to run errands or do a bit of exercise before returning to work.
Lunch could be followed by more errands before returning to the home desk for another round of work.
One of the advantages of working from home is that working hours could be tucked around day to day commitments – say if you wanted to go to the gym or for a run or drop the kids off or pick them up from school.
A sleepless night could also be turned into a one of high productivity.
Discipline is key
At the start of the working day, you could schedule what needs to be accomplished that day. When allotted tasks are completed, they can be scratched off the list. Resist the temptation to do too many things at the same time.
Six half-finished tasks instead of five completed ones with just an hour to go before clocking off could lead to frustration. And with that the working day tends to get elongated by tacking on more hours to finish those tasks.
Efficiency should be part of the day structure and strategy.
It is good to take breaks throughout the day. These breaks could not only give the mind a rest, but could also get your head back in the right space to complete what is at hand.
Sitting is said to be the new smoking, so moving away from the desk should be part of the work routine. It could be a 10-minute break or a tea break or a visit to the local shops or a coffee with a friend.
Do not procrastinate
One of the drawbacks of not being in a workplace environment is the tendency to lose that discipline that comes with working with others around you.
As you work alone from home, the tendency to procrastinate creeps into your workday. What can and should be done today gets postponed to the next day and the next and the next if the deadline is some days away. This makes your workday less productive - or not productive at all.
If you feel you are wondering into the land of procrastination, you could take a short break and come back to the task refreshed.
A few hours at a cafe and a library make for a wonderful change of scene and could reset the brain into the working mode if you are facing a mental block.
Getting connected and digital savvy is meant to make our lives easier. But getting connected also means we are constantly checking our emails or visiting websites that keep us engaged for a fair bit of time.
These distractions can be avoided if we consciously make up our minds not to visit them. Yes, emails have to be attended to. But sometimes they take up time which could have been used to finish tasks that need our more immediate attention.
Keep an “office”
An “office” space could be a desk in the home that is solely for the purpose of doing work. It could be in the living room or the spare bedroom. You could keep this desk as you would one that would be in a regular office. So leave what you would need and nothing that would distract. That does not mean that you should not keep family photos or a green plant or something that keeps your focus on the job at hand.
Looking at our loved ones could well be the reminder why we are working from home and why we need to finish our allocated work before the end of the working day.