Way, way back in another lifetime (actually 2014) a Harvard Business Review post said: “to raise productivity, let more employees work from home.”
What we want to know is who these super-human people are? How are they able to stay laser-focused?
We, at least some of us at DYT, struggle with work from home. Instead of being more productive, we are distracted. Netflix calls our name. The bed beseeches us to sleep some more. And let’s not even get started on snack runs and house chores.
So, we did some digging and found out we’re not alone in the black hole of low productivity. And we found easy, realistic tips to boost our productivity.
Create a morning routine and stick to it.
If you want to be productive right at the start of the workday, find out how to get your mind up and running.
- It could be a cup of coffee that does the trick.
- It could be a 30-minute workout.
- It could even be getting out of pyjamas and wearing business-casuals.
Whatever works for you, find it, and then include it in your morning ritual. The key is to create a system that gets you pumped to tackle your task list.
And once you have a routine, stick to it every day.
Find a distraction-free corner.
Back in March, our founder, Ankit, wrote a great piece on work from home. He said, “If changing clothes flips the mental switch, a designated workspace flips it physically.”
And we agree.
Focusing on work gets tricky when the couch is right there to have a lie-down, or the TV is blaring the latest news. Count in parents, roommates, siblings, partners, etc. interrupting every other minute, and productivity goes for a toss.
That is why you need to find a corner in your home that is free of all clutter and distraction. Designate it as your work zone.
- Your workspace should not be common areas of the house like the dining room, if possible.
- Use a proper desk and a comfortable chair.
- Keep the desk and the area surrounding it free of clutter. It will keep your mind from wandering.
- If there is a TV nearby. Switch it off.
- Mute all social media notifications on your phone while working. Believe us; it does wonders for work productivity.
Write your goals for the day.
People who write down goals are 10x more successful than those who don’t. We don’t say so, a Harvard Business study does.
If you want to be fruitful while working remotely, you need to set goals for each day and then write them down. You can even create weekly or monthly. It’ll help you complete a bigger project within the deadline.
A simple way to build the habit of creating goals is:
- Write down three tasks you have to complete the next day. When you start work in the morning, it’ll give you a strict direction and focus the mind.
- If you’re working on a team project, use a tool like Trello to create checklists.
- Break the project in smaller tasks.
- Assign each task to a member.
- And then at the end of the day see how much got done and what is still left.
Think of it like grocery shopping. If you have a list of things to buy, you shop faster and better. If you don’t, you wander the aisles for an hour and still end up not buying half the things you needed!
Build schedule blocks for essential jobs.
“Work expands so as to fill the time available for its completion.” This is called Parkinson’s Law.
No, it is not a scientifically proven law. Yes, it still is true.
Think about it. If you have one day to write a report, it’ll take you all 24 hours to complete. If you have one hour to write it, you’ll finish it in those 60 minutes.
It happens because we keep pushing work until the last minute or simply stretch it out.
When we’re working from home, Parkinson’s Law really comes into play. It goes like this – “Oh, I still have a day to write the blog post, let me quickly make a cheese sandwich, and then I’ll get to it.”
We all have those tasks that have been on our to-do list, but we keep procrastinating. The productivity tip to get them done is to schedule a time block for these tasks.
You mark a portion of your workday to finish the job. During that hour or two, you do not do anything else!
Find a friend.
The Association for Talent Development says you are 65% more likely to meet a goal after committing to another person.
What that means is after you create your work goals, find a person, and tell them about it. Because another individual now knows you have to finish tasks A, B, and C today, you are more likely to complete them.
They are called accountability partners. A colleague that helps you remain on track and keep your productivity high when working from home.
WFH Is Indeed Productive!
Once you have a system that works for you using the tips above, work from home will become more productive.
Lastly, at the end of the workday, if you haven’t completed the to-do list, ask yourself why! Don’t just think “eh, I’ll do it tomorrow.”
It is when you hold yourself accountable that remote working becomes easy!