Working from home offers lots of benefits, such as flexible schedule or full control over your time, but lack of supervision can sometimes lead to productivity issues.
If you’re a remote worker, you’re probably aware that keeping your motivation high is a serious challenge. Here are 7 tips on how to improve your productivity in this relatively new working environment.
1. Establish a schedule (and stick to it)
Just because you’re not following a nine-to-five daily schedule, doesn’t’ mean you can be spontaneous about your time. Working from home makes it really easy to have your time ripped off by daily errands or unexpected phone calls/visits. Respect your time and others will respect it too. Set appropriate boundaries and make sure to slip into ‘work mode’ in accordance with your schedule.
2. Set up time limits for tasks
If one of your tasks is challenging or dull, it’s very easy to get distracted completing it. Prevent yourself from losing focus and set specific time limits for each and every task – knowing that you’ve got only 15 minutes left to finish it, will help you gather your energy and do your best within this time frame. Sometimes switching tasks might be helpful, but remember that the promise of returning to your task must be fulfilled.
3. Set deadlines
Parkinson’s law says that a task will always expand to fill all the time you give it. This means that with no deadlines, you’re facing periods of really unproductive work, where simple tasks take hours to complete. Act against it now and impose some strict deadlines on yourself – respect them and you’ll see how your productivity will grow.
4. Use productivity tools
The web is full of distractions, but it can help you to focus as well. There are lots of productivity tools out there to help you manage your time and improve productivity. While IDoneThis will help you make better to-do lists, Producteev allows to track the progress of your project.
Use Pocket to save all web content that you feel you should read later on or because you’re afraid to lose it. If you’re easily distracted, have a look at a Chrome extension, StayFocusd, to block distracting websites and get some real work done.
5. Create task lists
Keep a general task list of long-term projects always near your sight. Otherwise, you’ll easily lose focus and forget about your goals. Before you start your day, it’s a good idea to create a task list as well. Ticking off your tasks one by one will not only give you the satisfaction, but also improve your productivity. Be realistic – staring at a longish task list is always off-putting.
6. Change your environment
If you feel stuck and unable to come up with interesting ideas, try changing your environment. Do some brainstorming in a park, think about the project at a café – a change of scenery can inspire you with new focus and enhance your productivity.
7. Take regular breaks
When planning your daily schedule, always leave some time for breaks. If you’re convinced spending hours on a project without a break will help you to be more productive, you’re wrong. We all have a limited attention span and regular breaks help us to refocus and return to tasks with renewed energy.
Figure out your productivity cycle and allot time for 15-minute breaks. Don’t spend your break browsing through your social media news feeds – go out for a walk, have a healthy snack or do some simple exercises to get your blood flowing.
Working from home can be challenging to your productivity. However, as long as you stick to the rules listed above, you’ll have enough time to complete all your tasks and achieve something every day.
Monique Craig is a passionate blogger and marketing specialist who works for Oneflare, an online marketplace which connects customers with local service providers.