Like everything else, working from home is both a boon and a bane.
The comfort of home, no rush hour traffic, no annoying colleagues, just your work and the flexibility to do it at your own pace.
But, working from home means the comfort of your home, a place where you relax after a tough day, a place where you seek solace from all troubles, your safe corner.
Also, the flexibility to work at your own pace. So you can postpone the task at hand and watch one more episode of the latest Netflix series or you can clean that kitchen cupboard pending for so long.
As much work as there is to do, there is equally as many distractions vying for our attention.
When I started on my own one of the biggest challenges I faced was how to be productive at my home office.
I could never start my day early and at the end of the week, I always felt I was behind schedule. Although on many days, that was not true. I would have completed a lot of tasks, but I never felt productive.
After a lot of experimentation and trial, I figured a combination of tools and practices that helped me achieve the balance I was looking for.
Once I was able to find this combination, it was only a matter of habit before I could adapt it to my routine and be happy about my productivity.
Here I am sharing a list. I hope you find it useful.
A rookie mistake when working from home is to not have a dedicated space for work. If you think you can achieve great things without having a proper place to sit, you are mistaken.
A dedicated work area offers privacy which helps in reducing distractions and improving focus. We don’t need research to prove that when we are in a flow we like to keep distractions at bay.
Another important factor to remember is to ensure that the workstation is ergonomically friendly. Otherwise, we are at a risk of computer posture mistakes which have a detrimental effect on our body and health in long run.
Practice Deep Work
In a world full of distractions, we are rarely invested in the task we are supposed to. As a result, we take more time to complete it and often aren’t fully satisfied with it.
To create that state where we need to give our absolute best, we need to practice deep work.
According to the principle of deep work, to produce at your peak level you need to work for extended periods with full concentration on a single task free from distraction.
One important point to note is that the whole of your work day can not be about deep work. The practice of deep work should be for skills or tasks which are most important to your business.
In your work schedule set aside 2-3 hours for deep work and during these hours ensure your focus is on the task at hand and nothing else. Pause your inbox, mute the notifications, don’t answer calls.
With time you will notice a positive impact on your productivity.
The way it works is like this – you plant a seed in Forest.
The seed gradually grows into a tree only if you don’t leave the app to check text messages or other notifications on your phone. If you do, the tree withers away.
Therefore, you become obligated to stay in your zone and not harm the nature (at least virtually!).
To make it more exciting you can share your forest updates with your friends and inspire them to increase their green cover too!
This one is the most obvious one, isn’t it? Organize your work schedule, follow it religiously and track progress.
The biggest challenge for me while following this step was how do I monitor if I am getting any good done? If my work schedule is productive enough?
When I got into the app world to address this challenge, it got more complex, there were calendar apps, to-do apps etc. That is when I turned to a simpler solution – Google sheets.
I use it to create my to-do lists, track the progress of various projects and manage my work schedule.
At the end of the day or week, I can check my progress and adjust my schedule accordingly.
Keep It Simple
This one is another sitter? Isn’t it? Actually, No!
There was a time when productivity was becoming elusive for me every day. The more I tried to become efficient, more I lost grip on tasks and activities. That is when I realized, the problem was of plenty. I was reading too many blogs, following too many podcasts, practicing too many techniques.
As a result, instead of being super productive, I lost my time shuttling between apps and tracking results of methodologies I was following, rather than the actual work.
That is when I trimmed the fat and started focusing on selective content. And that worked wonders for me.
Sure it took some time, but once I was able to find that right set of the mix there was no looking back. So, try to focus your energies on a few simple things and that should set the ball rolling.
We face a problem of information overload. We have hundreds of apps, methodologies, and tools to become productive and yet none of this is able to help us. Especially, in the context of the home office, where a lot is riding on self-discipline.
If there is no self-discipline, there is a little chance that any effort will yield desirable results.
So, as long as we have a lot of self-discipline and a little help from tools and practices above, productivity won’t be the ever elusive target that we keep chasing.
Featured Image Credit: Photo by Domenico Loia on Unsplash
Charu is a newbie in the world of entrepreneurship. After a successful stint of ten years in Software Marketing, she decided to establish her identity beyond big corporations and designations. She blogs at ErgonomicSpot.