Working from home can be a dream for many, especially for those of us who spend upwards of 3 hours in our daily commute to work. But when you’re used to being surrounded by all your colleagues in an office setting, it can feel a little jarring to be working from home for an extended period of time. In our team’s case, given the recent developments of the COVID-19 pandemic, we have decamped to the safety of our own homes and have been working remotely ever since.
While this is a necessary measure we need to take these days (plus, it can be a good break from the everyday routine of being in an office!), being at home introduces a whole slew of distractions you’d never encounter at the office. What happens then when the chickens in your backyard start clucking during a conference call? What should you do when your dog eats an entire roll of tissue behind your back? Or how can you maintain your focus when your parents suddenly barge into your room while you’re in deep work, asking you to do household chores? More importantly, how do you get into the right work mindset when your fluffy bed mattress is only five feet away?
We’ve rounded up some of our team’s tried-and-tested tips that keep us extra productive while working at home, and hopefully it does the same for you! Check it out below:
1. Schedule and plan your day
This is the top productivity tip across our team members, and it still applies even if you’re working in the office. Planning your day helps you stay on top of the tasks that matter the most, but also can give you room to adjust and identify what can be bumped down if anything urgent arises. Additionally, it helps you figure out your absolute do-not-disturb timeblocks, so you can coordinate this with the other people living with you. Some of the things that our team does includes calendar time blocking, writing down to-do lists on a notebook, creating daily Wunderlists, and the like. You can get creative, but plan ahead in a way that works for you.
2. Choose your environment
Whether it’s knowing by heart the spot that gets you the most WiFi connectivity or which spot the chickens’ clucking gets the loudest, you know your space better than anyone. You know the best spots that are conducive for work and the ones that are a trap for inefficiency. Plan your environment together with your day, so if you know you need to take a call at a certain time, you can give your housemates a heads up and talk to your team in peace.
3. Change out of your pajamas
One of the many perks of working from home is opting to work in your pajamas, but that could be a serious productivity killer for some. We highly recommend changing out of your jammies and into regular clothes, as if you’re heading to the office. This helps you create a clear boundary between your at-home and at-work selves, and gets you into a more productive mindset. Also, when you dress up, you can be webcam-ready anytime a client or your boss suddenly calls you for a video chat. Work from home, but make it fashion.
4. Put your device on airplane mode
When no one is watching, it’s easier to habitually pick up your phone and scroll through social media or respond to non-work messages from friends. We suggest placing your phone on airplane mode, especially when doing deep work. Snooze notifications on applications where you know none of your teammates or clients can reach you at. But because we know the importance of staying reachable when you’re working remotely, you can limit your device usage to just your main work device.
5. Prep your meals ahead of time
It’s easy to lose track of time preparing your meals, and it can take a lot of energy from you. You wouldn’t want this happening in the middle of the work day. We suggest either meal prepping the night before, or getting up extra early to do so (depends whether you’re an early bird or a night owl). This way, you can spend your lunch break eating while relaxing your mind from work — giving you more mental energy for more pressing work tasks during the rest of the day.
6. Get moving!
When you’re working from your couch or in your bedroom, you might actually forget how much time you’ve spent sitting or lying down. It’s still important to get up, take a walk, and change your scenery every once in a while. Not only does it give you a physical break from the monotony of lengthy work sprints, but it also promotes the flow of new and fresh ideas. After all, no one’s had any amazing big idea breakthroughs by just sitting down all day!
Images: Cardinal Digital team members, Unsplash