Being productive can be a challenge for those of us who already work from home on a regular basis. If you’re new to working from home, you’re probably feeling pretty overwhelmed right now. Here are a few tips to keep you on track in your new work environment.
Working from Home – Productivity in the Midst of Chaos
For many of us, our world and lives look a lot different than they did a month or two ago. As we settle in to our new normal of social distancing and working from home, distractions abound and stress is high. Here are some ways to reduce the stress and focus on the tasks at hand:
This may be difficult, but a dedicated workspace away from playing kids or common areas such as the dining room table or the bedroom can really help with both productivity and mentally leaving work at work. If possible, use a spare bedroom or other area that you can close off, and close the door when you leave. Not all of us have this luxury, so take the space you can under the circumstances. It might be helpful to walk around your house and pick an area that fits your needs and is away from distractions. Let the other people in your household know that you’re taking this area to work and focus.
Well-lit Work Area
Lighting affects our mood and our productivity significantly. While warm colored half-lit lights may feel cozy, you’re going to feel more energized and focused with cooler, brighter light. Try to use natural light from a window when you can or illuminate your work area with daylight colored incandescent or LED bulbs. Try to avoid harsh flickering lights to prevent eyestrain. Discover how the color of light affects productivity.
Clean Work Area
Some people are great at keeping their work area clean and clutter-free. I’m not one of those people. But I’ve found keeping a clutter-free work area goes a long way toward keeping my mind clutter-free as I work. Have a really messy desk? Set aside one hour to put away everything on your desk that you don’t need right now to accomplish your work. Each morning, take a few minutes to tidy up from the previous work day. You’ll save time by having what you need right in front of you without having to search for it, and you’ll free your mind from subconscious distractions as you work.
Make a List
To do lists are a great way to help keep us on track whether working at home or at the office. Even if you’re not the list type, give it a try now that you’re working from home. Not only will you have a clear guide for your day, as you complete your tasks and check them off your list, your brain releases dopamine. You’ll feel a sense of accomplishment and success with each item scratched off your list, and you’ll feel more motivated to work on whatever is next. Learn more about how to make a to do list and how it helps you become more productive.
Do Not Disturb
Here’s another tip that will help you stay productive whether you’re working from home or elsewhere. Set aside some time to dedicate to whatever task you’re working on for 45-60 minutes. Turn off as many distractions as you can. Set your phone to “Do not disturb” mode – if you get an important call, they can leave you a message or call you back. Don’t check social media or the news. You’ll be surprised how much you can get done in those 45-60 minutes.
Just as important to your productivity is taking a break. Every hour or so, get up and stretch your legs. Drink some cold water. Make sure you take a lunch break to refuel your mind and body. Taking healthy breaks will help you adapt to a new work environment and routine and refresh your mind as you accomplish tasks. Find out more about the value of taking breaks from work.
May the Force be with You
Hopefully these ideas help boost your productivity working from home! If they were helpful to you, we’d love to have you share them with your employees, coworkers, or family. And if you have other ways that help you stay productive while working from home, we’d love to hear from you in the comments area!
Pro-IS is an IT services company based in Northern Colorado. We serve small and medium businesses in Fort Collins, Loveland, Greeley, and the surrounding area. In response to the COVID-19 crisis, Pro-IS is working to educate the public with work, cyber-safety, and IT-related information. Contact us to learn more.