Working from home is the dream for many employees, and if the world has learned something from the 2020 crisis, it’s that remote working is the future for more and more people. However, working from home is far from being a blissful thing; the reality is adjusting to this work environment is not easy for everyone, particularly because there are lots of distractions looming at every corner and coming from all directions. Here are some of the best work from home productivity hacks to help you overcome the unexpected hurdles you’ll encounter along the way.
Set Up a Dedicated Working Area
Finding your little quiet spot is essential if you want to remain productive when working from home. The size and type of working area depend on the layout of your home, but you can let your imagination run wild and go beyond the realm of your home if needed. Some people find themselves productive on a bench in a tranquil park or the local coffee shop. There are no limits here — just find a place where your creative juice can flow.
If you set up shop at home, make sure that you let your family know that it is a working space, so they need to treat it as such. This means that they should do their best not to make too much noise or interrupt you when you’re working.
Make Technology Work to Your Advantage
The multitude of apps on your laptop and phone can surely boost your productivity, but only if you let them to. Try to use technology to be more productive, not distracted. If you are the type of person who can’t handle distractions on their own, you should install an app that cuts you off from the things that distract you. If you’re working on a Mac, the Serene app can shield you from distractions by blocking pages that waste your time. For Windows users, ColdTurkey is a procrastination app that does the same thing, which is to temporarily block yourself from social media sites and other addictive websites.
Break Up Your Work Into 25-minute Chunks
Working to the beat of your own drum is surely one of the best perks of working from home, but only if you do it right. The now-famous Pomodoro technique is something that works wonders for keeping you focused throughout the day. This is basically a time management system that breaks down your work into 25 spells with short 5-minute breaks between them. It’s a proven way to increase your productivity, as you can set a number of pomodoros to complete throughout the day and divide your workload accordingly.
Prioritise Your To-Do List (And Actually Mean It)
This may sound like very obvious advice, but how many times have you sat down at your desk to start work only to pick the easiest thing on the to-do list, even if it was not a priority? Many people believe that crossing off the easy tasks from the list before tackling the more challenging one is making them productive. Still, the reality is every day is paved with distractions, so it’s wise to go straight for the priority tasks to make sure you get them done.
Do Something About That Background Noise
Noise-canceling headphones are the best thing to happen to remote workers since, well, remote work. When you work from home, it’s impossible to block out the sounds around you without help. Even if you live alone, you might get distracted by the sound of children playing outside or just traffic. By sealing yourself from the outside world, you are bound to boost your productivity. Besides subduing background noise, noise cancellation phones also allow you to work in a peaceful environment. They allow you to listen to anything from Ed Sheeran to nature sounds, whatever your jam is.
Make Your Breaks Interesting
Taking a break is something that you must learn how to do properly if you’re to succeed as a remote worker. Whether you are using the Pomodoro technique or not, make sure the breaks you take are interesting. Don’t spend them replying to work emails and try to have them in another place than your designated workspace. That way, you can switch your brain for a couple of minutes, so you’ll be more productive when you return to work.
Some activities that you could do during your breaks include listening to a fun podcast, reading a couple of pages from a book or magazine, or simply going to the kitchen to brew yourself a cuppa to enjoy looking outside the window, not in front of a screen. Find the best type of break and your brain will thank you for it.
Listen to Your Ultradian Rhythm
Your what now? The ultradian rhythm is, according to neuroscientists, the heightened state commonly referred to as “the flow.” This is that state of mind that allows you to be more receptive and more productive. Ultradian cycles are 90-minute periods that your brain cycles through, and they’re when your mind is sharper and more focused than ever. Tap into your ultradian rhythms by paying close attention to when you’re the most productive and you can become unstoppable.
Get Dressed for Your Home Office
This piece of advice is slightly controversial, but many remote workers agree that working in your pyjamas actually hinders your productivity. So if overly casual outfits make you feel like you’re clacking, it’s time to get changed into a smart business attire that may also include a pair of shoes (maybe ones you only wear in the house). This way, you can feel your work day has begun. A final home productivity hack is to try and switch it up from time to time. Even if your home office is your primary workplace, try to go to the park, the library, or a coffee shop from time to time. This is bound to keep things fresh and also make wonders for keeping your social skills sharp.