I am working remotely for my 9 – 5 because I was asked to self-quarantine for 14 days after traveling to Orangeburg, SC to speak at The Leaders Conference. I had an amazing time, met some really awesome people, and made some great connections. Many of them feel like family now. I’m glad I decided to go to the conference, in spite of all that is going on.
But, back to the whole reason for this post. More and more businesses and organizations are shifting to remote work to minimize public contact. I thought it would be a good idea to share with you a few tips for maintaining your productivity while you are working remotely. If you are not accustomed to working remotely, it can be a challenge because you have to bring a different mindset to your work.
While it has some great advantages, there are also real challenges which come along with it. So today I am sharing 8 tips for maintaining your productivity while working remotely.
Stick to your normal routine.
It is important to stick to your normal routine as much as possible. I you typically work 8 am to 5 pm then show up for work at 8:00 AM, meaning log into your computer system at your normal work time. Also, log off at your usual close of business. One of the challenges of being at home when you’re working or working remotely is that those lines can get really blurred about work time versus personal time. Do the same with your breaks.
Have a designated workspace.
If you do not already have a home office, set up a designated workspace. Find a space where you can work consistently. It should be a place conducive to work rather than your bed or couch. You can even use your kitchen table. Just find a place in your home where you can set up your office and focus on your work. This will help you feel like you are showing up to work than just kind of willy nilly working wherever.
Begin each day with a clean area.
Another challenge of being at home is you can see all the things you need to get done at home. Maybe you have dishes in the sink or a pile of laundry needing to be washed. Perhaps there is clutter around. Whatever the case may be, those things can be a huge distraction, especially when you’re taking a break. For example, let’s say you have to go to the bathroom. You get up and head to the bathroom but on your way, you notice dirty dishes in the sink, you see toys in the floor, or dust bunnies in the corner. It can be very tempting to handle it right then rather than doing your work. Find a way to either before you go to bed each night or first thing in the morning to clean up your house or take care of those things that would distract you from your work.
Take breaks more often.
This may seem counter intuitive but I say this is because you probably don’t really realize how often you get kind of mini breaks because of a phone call coming in, a coworker pops in their head in your office, or you have a sidebar conversation with someone at the copier. You probably won’t get that at home, unless you’re working with minis around. By setting designated times to take a break, it enables you to keep your productivity high. I recommend every 90 minutes taking a five-minute break. Make sure you set a timer that way you don’t get caught up in something else not realizing how much time you’ve been away from your work. You can get a cup of coffee, step outside, check your social feed stretch or even meditate.
Set work goals.
Establish a goal for the work you want to complete by the end of the day. By having a specific target to hit for a project or number of tasks completed will help you to move forward and stay on track with the things you need to accomplish. It will challenge you to get things done and drive you forward.
Use chat tools.
Staying in communication with your team is crucial when working remotely. It’s tempting to send an email for a simple question since you don’t have the luxury of walking down the hall or peeking over a cubicle wall. However, making use of a chat system like Skype or Messenger can be useful for small talk or easy communication that doesn’t necessarily need to be an email. We are all being inundated with emails right now. So the less email you need to send, the easier it’s going to be on you to keep from feeling overwhelmed by inbox overflow. If have a chat communication system available, utilize that for those back and forth conversations that don’t need to be in written form. You can also simply pick up the phone or send a text message in order to keep that offline.
Working remotely can be a dream. I’m in my sweats today and my energy is high. I’m feeling great. But if you start to feel a little bit low or depressed, try getting dressed like you normally would to go to work. It’s so easy for your attitude to mimic the way you are dressed. A lot of people are excited thinking, “Oh yeah, I get to work in my pajamas.” That doesn’t always translate into you showing up professionally. So if you find yourself kind of filling slack or feeling depressed or feeling down, then just go ahead, put that makeup on. Do up your hair. Put on your favorite outfit and dress like you would to go to the office. That will help put you in the mindset of showing up in a more professional way.
Avoid social media.
As much as possible, avoid social media and the news. We all know they can be time sucks. You can very quickly think you just hopped on for a minute or two and before you know it 15, 20, or even 30 minutes have passed since you have been in scrolling. Your productivity will take a hit because of it. It will take away from you being able to accomplish what you need to accomplish in your work. When you choose to hop on social media or check the news, set a timer for how long you’re going to be on consuming that content and when the timer goes off, you click it off and go back to work.
So those are my eight tips for maintaining productivity while you are working remotely. Happy working and stay safe!
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