Life is filled with uncertainties and that’s especially true with problems at work. Even before the 2020 pandemic hit, people from all over the world struggled with various issues working from home. One such problem is staying productive. Especially in situations where companies could be considering layoffs due to the effects of this pandemic on business.
While all of this is going on, you’re still getting work. Even if it’s not as much as you are used to, you still have to keep going. You don’t want to be squandering that opportunity. At the same time, you want to be able to maintain or boost your productivity during these times.
The trick to maintaining that productivity isn’t to feel nothing and continue with business as usual. Instead, you want to make some adjustments to your work space and your work life. Here are some tips for you to do that.
Work In Chunks
One of the most popular productivity techniques around is The Pomodoro Technique. It’s stood the test of time and part of the reason for that is due to its effective approach. In short, it chunks your tasks into small and manageable ones. The only issue with this technique is that it focuses on working in 20 minute increments.
What if you want to be working longer? Or maybe the tasks you have will take more than 20 minutes to perform properly?
In this case, you want to be looking at chunking. It’s a similar structure, but it allows you to work for longer periods of time so they won’t disrupt the working process or workflow. This is crucial, especially when we are quarantining within our own homes. From kids to your partner, the atmosphere has shifted drastically to the point working for eight hours straight won’t work.
Instead, allow yourself to work in bursts over periods of time. Schedule longer but manageable time blocks for breaks. For example, instead of working for four hours before taking a thirty minute break, schedule work sessions and breaks in two hour blocks, .
It’s more generous for sure, but since you’re working from home, it’ll be more chaotic. You have no idea what’ll come up and you may have to shift priorities. By putting in chunks of two hours, this can allow you the flexibility of addressing issues quickly. Plus those two hour breaks can feel rewarding too.
Despite the work shifting drastically, that shift isn’t all that bad. While you may be working less, it’s actually a positive as you can use this in a more constructive manner. For example, you can use the opportunity now to sharpen your skills.
Of course, hands-on practice is great, but people are still putting out courses and other content that’ll teach you all kinds of things.
The beauty of courses and content is that it doesn’t eat up a lot of time. Articles typically take up five to seven minutes of your time. On top of that, there are courses that can be completed within an hour or even 30 minutes.
Some platforms to check out are Skillshare, Lynda, Udemy, and of course YouTube.
Listen To Music
Another way to boost your productivity working at home is by listening to music. There are all new distractions that you’ll have to be facing these days. As such, being able to pop in some tunes can help you.
While you could argue that music doesn’t work, research shows there is truth behind that, but it depends on what you’re listening to. For example, if you need to really focus on your work, music with lyrics may trip you up as it interferes with your thought process. Instead going for instrumental music or nature sounds could work in those cases.
If you’re stuck on what music to be listening to, my recommendation is non-lyrical scores. Video games have come a long way and have composed some fantastic music. There’s also scores from movies that can work too.
While we don’t have the opportunity to visit friends and family or go to local work spaces or the office, there are still ways to connect with people virtually. After all, there are days where you’d prefer to talk to someone other than your kids, or partner.
Even if you’re not in the habit of keeping in touch with people that much, now would be a good time to make an effort to bridge that gap.
Have A Dedicated Work Space
You hear this tip a lot but it’s worth stressing: have a dedicated spot where you do your work. Section it off from the rest of the living space in some way to ensure people don’t disrupt you while you are in that space.
Ideally, your work space should be a space that isn’t cluttered or surrounded by distractions. It should be a place where it’s relatively quiet and you can work in solitude and concentrate.
Leave Work In That Space
Another important thing to maintaining your productivity working at home is to leave work within that work space. Just because you’re at home it doesn’t excuse you from bringing work home with you.
Make an effort to clean up your work space and to put away any electrical devices and work tools as well. You don’t want to have work reminders looming over you or in plain sight.
Discourage Personal Intrusions
Depending on your occupation, you may have to deal with these intrusions on a regular basis. Before this pandemic happened, you may have had a way of dealing with them or you were fortunate enough to never have to deal with these.
Well, now that you’re at home, you’ll probably have to deal with these. These can stem from well-intended friends who want to reach out during these times, family members, or those you are living with.
All of these people interrupt your work and disrupt your productivity of course and can lead you to procrastinate and fall behind on certain things. As such, you’ll need to come up with a system or re-invent your pre-existing one to allow yourself privacy and discourage people barging in for any reason.
Some strategies include stressing the importance of your work space and that you don’t want to be disturbed if there are specific signals that you are displaying. You can also mention directly that you don’t want to be disturbed at all during a period of time. The final thing is to let people know about all of these things hours before you are free.
Allow Yourself To Do Different Things
Similar to what I mentioned above with the two hour breaks, you do want to be taking some liberties. I understand fully that staying at home for long periods of time can exhausting. After a while you may experience cabin fever. You want to be avoiding that and one way to fix that is to get out and spend time doing other things. Lots of research has emerged that shows being around nature can lower our stress and help us relax. As long as you are practicing social distancing, you can reward yourself with the occasional trip outside of your home.
Even after you are done working for the day, you can treat yourself to a stroll outside. Even though our world has been shaken, it doesn’t mean that you need to conform to an entirely different one that’s been forced on you.
Have A Morning Routine
We all have some sense of a morning routine for when we used to go to work at the office. We get up, take a shower, have breakfast, and so on. This routine is crucial as it mentally preps us to get into work mode.
The problem with it now is that if you’re working at home, the sequence of activities have shifted a little. With this in mind, I would suggest developing more of that morning routine. Since you’re no longer driving to work, why not use that time to jog or go for a morning walk for example.
The whole idea is to develop habits right now to help you get back into that work mode.
Be Clear In Online Communication
If you’re in the position where you are communicating with a group of people, it’s important to maintain contact with them. But during these times, it can be tricky to communicate clearly as many companies opt for online messengers with the occasional video conference.
During these times where there can be a lot of miscommunication, it’s important that you convey your emotions as clearly as possible. Things like using exclamation points or using your favorite emoji (or emoji’s in general) can help you in conveying your emotions and feelings.
You don’t need to be spammy with them, however adding an emoji into your messages can help in conveying your overall feelings.
How this boosts your productivity is that it saves you the time trying to explain your position or feelings in messages. There is already enough drama going on in the world. The last thing you want to do is create more because someone misinterpreted your message.
Make Your Productivity Personal
In order to thrive during this pandemic on a productivity standpoint, you’ll need to make it personal. Sometimes you’ll find inspiration and motivation by prioritizing your own needs over others in some situations.
Furthermore, if you are working solo and you don’t have to deal with as many of the distractions I’ve listed, consider looking for remote employee groups. The sense of community can help you in staying focused and motivated.