If you’re one of the millions of employees who are working from home because of the COVID-19 pandemic and struggling with maintaining high levels of productivity, then there’s good news, as there are some battle-tested tips to boost your remote working productivity.
From your pet begging for attention to roommates (or parents) disturbing you for trifling issues, possible distractions are endless. Not to mention your constant desire to scroll social media for absolutely no reason.
So, to help you stay super productive when working remotely, here are four actionable tips you can implement right away.
1. Have Clear Goals for the Workday
The first thing you need to do after waking up is to make a clear to-do list outlining the tasks you need to complete within working hours. Waking up early will give you a headstart, but it’s alright to sleep in a little extra to feel fresher because you won’t be wasting any time commuting.
While on the subject of commuting, you can use the time you save to properly schedule your day and complete non-work related yet necessary activities, such as cooking, laundry, running errands, and so on.
Indeed, setting clear goals and creating a quick list of tasks (with or without time limits) first thing in the morning will streamline your workflow throughout the day. It’ll also keep you motivated as you cross tasks off the list.
2. Set Up Your Workstation
When working remotely, it’s all too easy to become too comfortable. This can quickly lead to languor, something that kills productivity. Thus, it’s usually a bad idea to stay in your bed or kick back on the couch – spaces that you mentally link with leisure activities.
Rather, set up a dedicated workspace that helps you focus and is devoid of distractions – such as a clean, well-lit table with nothing but the essential tools you need to work productively.
This can be in a spare room or in your own room as long as you consider it as a serious place for purely work-related activities. And once the pandemic ends, you can (and should) consider renting a beautiful coworking space that’s designed for boosting the productivity of remote workers, freelancers, and startups in a cost-effective way.
3. Take Periodic Time Outs
Ultimately, your goal is to get the job done in the most efficient way possible. Gluing yourself to the screen even when you’re unproductive isn’t doing anyone any good.
While taking frequent breaks may seem a bit illogical, studies suggest taking short breaks helps with improving productivity and creativity levels.
So, consider taking frequent 5-10 minute time outs after every hour or so. You could take a break as a reward for each task you check off your to-do list (this also helps with motivation), when you hit a wall/creative block, or when you can’t seem to focus and need to refresh your brain.
Stand up and stretch your muscles. Get a little snack in your tummy, play with your pet, socialize with whoever’s home (or on a short call with a friend), and then get back to work. You’ll likely notice an instant boost in productivity and consequently, get more work done in less time.
4. Stay Connected With Your Team
Humans are social creatures, and working remotely can quickly lead to feelings of loneliness, especially if your work involves writing, coding, or crunching numbers with a little-to-no need for video conferencing or virtual meetings.
To reduce this sense of detachment, make sure to chat with colleagues and teammates every day, even if it’s not work-related. Just knowing about their workload or what’s going on in their everyday lives will make a huge difference in chasing away loneliness.
Moreover, frequent texting over Slack/Skype or quick calls while working remotely will help maintain your relationships with your coworkers and managers. And of course, doing so also shows that you’re working instead of taking a nap.
As you’ve realized by now, working remotely isn’t as easy as it seems. Productivity can readily take a toll and the feeling of being “stuck in a rut” can be gloomy, especially in these troubled times.
But with the actionable best practices outlined above, working remotely at peak levels of creativity and productivity is very much possible while also having more work-life balance.
Aanya Rachel is the Content Manager at The Address, a coworking space in Ahmedabad, Gujarat. She is passionate about sharing her knowledge, experience, and extensive research in this field. She writes on a wide range of topics related to coworking, growth of remote workers, startups and real estate.