How To 10x Your Productivity When Working From Home
As the Coronavirus Pandemic worsens, working from home has become standard working practice – for those of us still working at least!
Most companies will likely now be into week 2-3 of working from home and the novelty for many will now be wearing off.
Whether or not we want to admit it, most of us have probably seen our productivity drop since working from home full-time.
Many of us will be living with someone, or a bunch of people, already on furlough and so the temptations soon set in – don’t bother to get out of your pyjamas, work on the sofa with one eye on the TV etc.
Long term though, you need to maximise remote working productivity. The best way to do this is to create a micro-environment filled with physical and sensory triggers which tell you it’s time to get to work.
Here are 10 steps to 10x your productivity when working from home.
Create a real workspace
One of the biggest productivity killers when working from home is where you work.
Sure, working from your bed or the sofa is ok initially but you need to create a space you associate with work and that shouldn’t be where you relax or sleep.
To really work, you need an actual workspace – simply a dedicated desk and chair.
If possible, this shouldn’t be your dining table, the ergonomics are terrible and your neck and back will soon begin to ache!
If you want to get real work done, you need to create a space where you can really focus and that means removing distractions.
The first step is to turn off the TV as anything you’re watching was no doubt designed to grab and keep your attention.
The next is to limit outside noise. If you’re living in a busy house with multiple people or kids this may mean reaching for your headphones, ideally noise cancelling ones.
Set boundaries with others in the house
If you’re working remotely while others in your household are not – perhaps they’re on furlough or off school, it’s really important you set boundaries with everyone.
There’s no point in having a dedicated workspace, free of distractions if you’re getting interrupted every few minutes.
Get up in plenty of time
If you’re waking up at 8.55am, it’s highly unlikely you’re going to hit the ground running to start work at 9am.
As tempting as it may be, make sure you get up in plenty of time so you can start your day feeling refreshed and ready for work, rather than ready to go back to sleep!
Actually get dressed for work
Being productive is all about implementing mental triggers which get you ready to do great work.
Not getting dressed for work is a sure way to limit your productivity so make sure you’re showered and dressed before your working day begins.
This doesn’t mean sitting in a suit, if you usually wear one for work, but I’d suggest wearing something other than what you’d wear to relax around the house.
Focus on ergonomics
If you’re working remotely for the foreseeable future, which most of us are, you should focus on creating an ergonomic desk set up now to save your neck and back later.
There are plenty of resources online for creating the perfect ergonomic desk set up but the chances are you’re likely working with a fixed height desk and chair which were not designed to be used as a home office.
Just try and keep the top third of your screen at eye level and about an arms distance from where you’re sitting. You should also try and sit at a height so your legs and arms are parallel to the floor. Basically, don’t sit at your kitchen table hunched over your laptop – if possible.
Aim for natural light and airflow
In short, sit near a window if possible and keep it open slightly. The natural light and fresh air will help with your mood and focus, generally making your working environment much nicer.
It might even remind you there is a world outside – easy to forget after a couple of weeks in isolation.
Set your to-do list the night before
This is one of the basics of being productive but do make sure you write your to do list the evening before so you already have plan for your day before you get started.
Personally, I like to look at this just before I go to bed and immediately when I wake up as I find it’s the best way for help energise me to be as productive as possible.
Focus on smell
Smell is incredibly powerful and linked more closely with memory than any of your other senses.
A specific smell can instantly bring back powerful memories and invoke specific emotional states.
Make your work area smell significantly different, in a good way, to the rest of your home.
Just as with all of the other triggers, this will help your mind automatically distinguish you’re now in a place of work, not relaxation.
Take regular breaks
Despite many people taking a relaxed approach to remote working, there are others who feel they can’t leave their screen from 8am-6pm incase they miss something.
When you’re in the office, it’s unlikely you’re questioned every time you’re not at your desk and working from home shouldn’t be any different.
If I’ve missed something you find useful to increase your productivity when working from home, connect with me on LinkedIn and let me know!
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About the author
Hi, I’m Tom – Founder & CEO at Hired By Startups. You can connect with me on LinkedIn here.