How to Keep Your Productivity Levels Up While Working from Home
The coronavirus pandemic has drastically changed the way businesses operate in 2020. Companies and employees are forced to enter a work-from-home (WFH) arrangement when the government puts the entire country in lockdown.
This is the most plausible solution to keep the economy working. However, whether you just bought your house and lot for sale in Laguna or a condo unit somewhere in the metro, there are certain realities to contend with when it comes to working at home.
Sometimes, it is not about the space because Filipinos are both diligent and resilient. We can work anywhere. However, we cannot say we do so if there are too many distractions around us. There’s a difference between working and being productive at work.
So how do you stay productive while working from home?
Ways to keep productivity levels while working from home
1) Set priorities
Many competing demands would divide your attention now. It would help to prioritize what must be done.
One way to do this is by reducing clutter. You may do this by creating a to-do list and going over it to remove items that are not essential. Focus on what’s left on your list after the go-over.
Also, it would help to clarify with your leader the expectations. Things change swiftly and the management’s priorities may also change abruptly. You want to make sure that your priorities are aligned with that of the team and management.
If there’s a system where you can check the priorities and expectations, do it as frequently as possible. This will save you lots of frustration while also setting the direction of the workday.
When it comes to prioritizing, you need to be realistic as well. Again, there are inevitable distractions at home that may ruin the workday’s schedule. This is especially true for parents who WFH.
So, you should be realistic about what you can and cannot accomplish. Do not overcommit. Work with achieving productivity levels that align with your living situations too.
Communicate this with your leaders also. Honesty and transparency are critical attributes for this arrangement to be successful.
Create and stick to a schedule. Block out a time for work alone, but you need to communicate this with the people at home.
If you need to work on off-hours to compensate for taking care of the family during the day, so be it. Again, communicate with your team leader or project coordinator. Please remember that this is just one way to allow more flexibility to the work arrangement.
When establishing a workflow, go hard. For example, work for 45 minutes to 1 hour then, take a 10 to 15-minute break. This helps in focusing on the priority to-dos as well.
2) Define boundaries
When it comes to WFH, boundaries are defined in terms of both time and space. The first one is discussed above, blocking out time for work and work alone.
The second means designating a workspace where you can concentrate on work while also minimizing disruptions. This should be a stress-free zone.
If having a dedicated workspace is possible, choose a place with less traffic, such as the corner of a room. Your goal should be setting strict physical boundaries that everyone at home understands and complies with. Setting boundaries is also about minimizing interruptions by preventing personal intrusions of this space.
Do this while having the realities of your living situation. Negotiate with other people at home to effectively manage the process. Remind everyone of the temptation to talk to you while working since any interruption compromises your productivity. These are psychological boundaries that could strengthen WFH.
The opposite is true also. After work, you must put away any gadgets or work tools to focus, this time, on your loved ones. It’s only fair to keep socialization, albeit at home.
3) Use time wisely
Even when WFH, we don’t always have the luxury of time. The more things you do at once, the more time seems lacking. It bears repeating: use your time wisely.
There are formal and informal interactions. Focus on collaboration. If it helps to conduct a 15-minute micro meeting than calling or chatting with each team member, do it. Everyone is also focused on passing along only the most relevant information and making decisions quickly.
Whichever you choose, it is essential to onboard all team members working on a project to minimize the risks of making haphazard and unfounded decisions. This helps not just with your own productivity, but also with others.
4) Practice self-care
And don’t be guilty about it. For one, everyone needs to be conscious of one’s own mental health. The coronavirus pandemic is chaotic, taking a toll on people’s overall health including emotional, psychological, developmental, spiritual, etc.
You can only be productive if stress levels are low, so, work on reducing your own stress levels through practicing self-care.
The first step is building effective self-care in your daily routine. It could be exercising for 30 minutes, walking your dog in the morning, calling your parents after work, binge-watching your favorite K-drama, finishing a novel, sipping brewed coffee, cooking a meal for yourself, or any other feel-good activity will do. Connect with the people or causes that you care about as much as you can.
If you can go outside to avoid having cabin fever, do it as well. Spend time with nature while practicing health protocols while outside. This clears the mind and invigorates the senses, giving you the energy to work more productively the next day.
While doing all this, check your attitude and emotions. Perspective is any person WFH’s greatest weapon against the challenges brought by the pandemic. Don’t let your own twisted view victimize you. So, when faced with a situation that is beyond your control, think more objectively.
Focus on what you can control instead. It also means accepting what you cannot control. Through this, you can move forward and work more productively the next day.
Evidently, there are many ways to keep productivity levels up while working from home. You need to learn to set priorities, define boundaries, and use time wisely. However, the most crucial is practicing self-care. Don’t expect to be productive when you are not in the right frame of mind. Everything else is tactical, but self-care is more dynamic, tying all things together.
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