Some of you may be used to working from home and have your routines mapped out to military precision! However, many of us are still adjusting to a new way of working, whether it be missing the office comradery, waking up at odd hours, or losing awareness of what day of the week it is! If you’re in the latter group, we’ve put together some simple tips to help improve productivity while working from home.
Implementing structure while working from home
It sounds obvious, but simply taking the time to consider your to-do list and prioritise tasks can allow you to tackle them one at a time, and close down a few of those mental tabs that are making you feel like you don’t know where to start.
Write down your to-do list the evening before
While your tasks are still fresh in your mind, write down your top priorities for tomorrow. This will allow your mind to properly rest in the evening, as you won’t have to worry about the following day. It also means that you start tomorrow with a clear focus on what lies ahead.
There’s probably not enough time in the day to finish everything on your list! Instead of trying to cram too many tasks into the day, you may find it useful to have a weekly to-do list that covers all tasks that need to be completed. You can then select a realistic number of priority jobs to complete day-to-day. It’s important to review this each evening to keep track of your progress and priorities.
Break up your day
Create a timetable to plan out bursts of focused work interspersed with time away from your screen. It’s important to give your eyes a break, stretch your body and give your mind a rest.
Know your productive hours
If you’re an early bird, tackle your important tasks first thing in the morning. If you operate best in the afternoon, then take the morning for some down time and work later into the day if you can. One of the benefits of remote working is it allows you more flexibility in how you manage your time, outside set office hours!
During focused tasks, turn your email notifications off and set your phone to ‘do not disturb’ mode (if your job allows it) to limit distractions. It may also be a good idea to block out time in your calendar, so your colleagues know that you’re busy and not to expect a quick reply to their email.
Be clear on your working hours and stick to them
If, like many of us, you’re working at the kitchen table, make sure you clear your workstation at the end of the day, as this will signal to your brain that the workday is over. If you’re lucky enough to have a home office, treat it like your usual office and leave it (with no returning!) when you’re finished for the day. See our tips for setting up a workspace at home here.
Take a proper lunch break
Move away from your desk to enjoy your lunch. Whether you take a break outside, read a book, or exercise, do something to help you switch off. This will give your brain a re-set, allowing you more energy to tackle your afternoon.
Plan your downtime
Planning something to look forward to at the end of the day gives you a reason to switch off your computer and enjoy your leisure time. You could schedule a catch up call with family or friends, plan a date-night in with your partner, or have a Netflix series ready to binge! Whatever it is, make sure you take advantage of your commute time, and fill those hours with something you enjoy!
While we all adjust to working from home, there is a process of trial and error. So, know there is no right and wrong — if you try these tips, you’ll get to know what works best for you!