It’s no secret that Coronavirus has changed the game. It’s possible that we will all be working from home for at least part of the time for the foreseeable future.
Working from home presents a unique set of challenges. Whilst in the office, coworkers are often the biggest threat to productivity, but when you’re working from home, you run the risk of becoming your own worst enemy. For many workers, taking away the peer pressure of coworkers watching could mean all the difference in productivity (in a negative way).
How can you push through the slump and become more productive than ever? We’ve broken down our best tips below.
In 2019, Harvard Business Review conducted a survey that challenged professionals to take a hard look at their productivity levels and the habits they associate with accomplishing their workloads. The survey found that one of the most effective habits of productive professionals is prioritizing tasks, and then acting with a specific objective in mind. What does this look like for your working day?
- Set your daily schedule the night before, and write down your priorities. Write objectives for every appointment in your calendar.
- Send detailed agendas ahead of meetings.
- Create objectives for large projects.
- Before reading any material, identify your specific purpose and planned outcome.
- Before writing, create an outline that will help you stay on track.
Set a Time Limit
To-do list fatigue is very real. Do you find yourself with a list full of things to do, and no idea how you’ll complete them? The secret to making your workload feel more manageable is setting a time limit. The Pomodoro Technique is a great place to start. This technique breaks up tasks into 25-minute, focused blocks of time (called pomodoros). After each pomodoro, you’ll take a five- or ten-minute break, but after four pomodoros, you’ll take a break that’s 15 to 30 minutes long.
Watch Device Use
Technology is a fantastic thing – it’s allowed us to continue working during a pandemic, after all. However, our devices are wreaking havoc on productivity levels. The very things that are supposed to help us (think notifications, Zoom calls, and constant emails) are extremely distracting, and because we’ve normalized this behavior, we don’t even realize that it’s happening. Fast Company contributor Jandra Sutton shares her best tips for keeping an eye on device use:
- Be honest (and brutal) about your habits. Try working away from your phone for just 25 minutes, and see how it feels.
- Simplify. Don’t add a new mindset, app, or methodology.
- Prioritize better habits. Productivity is about doing the right things better, not doing more things faster.
Take a Break
A recent survey from Tork found that 90 per cent of North American employees claim that taking a lunch break helps them feel refreshed and ready to get back to work. Stepping away from your desk helps increase focus and energy when you return, and is a great way to beat the dreaded mid-afternoon slump. Don’t be afraid to make it fun, either. Chumba Casino’s recent survey found connections between playing video games at work and increased productivity. In fact, 54 per cent of survey participants have played online games during working hours.
Set Clear Hours
Now that you’re spending the majority of your time at home, it can be very easy to let work bleed in to home life. You might find yourself working long into the night if you aren’t careful. In a recent article for Forbes, business expert Bryan Robinson discusses the importance of stepping away from your workspace after a long day. Robinson says: “After a reasonable day’s work, put away your electronic devices and work tools just as you would store carpentry tools after building shelves or baking ingredients after making a cake. Keeping work reminders out of sight keeps them out of mind, and helps you relax and recharge your batteries.”
While the working landscape has changed in 2020, there are plenty of ways to stay productive as we enter this new normal. From prioritizing tasks to playing video games during your lunch break, don’t be afraid to shake things up – it might inspire all the productivity you’ll need!
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