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5 Productivity Tips for Working from Home

In these strange times that we live in due to the Covid-19 pandemic, many people have been forced to work from home. Each person has their own particular circumstances, and some think that working from home is a positive thing and others would prefer to be in the office. I personally like working from home, as it allows me to spend more time with my family, however I have to admit that sometimes it is very difficult. Especially if you have young children, since caring for them requires constant attention.

What is clear is that working from home requires a very particular organization so that our time is used well. Today I am going to give you some tips that can help you to be more focused, to be more effective and to make your work time more productive, regardless of your circumstances.

1. Awareness

By this I do NOT mean to be aware of how the situation is in society or the health crisis. I mean to make an assessment of our workflows and the use of our tools. Let me explain:

To be more productive, we first have to identify where we are least productive. And the only way to do that is to assess the areas of our work environment one by one. Here is a list of areas to observe throughout an entire work day and take notes about each of them. Later, evaluate each area and grade it from 1 to 10. This way you can identify where to focus your energies.

  • Workspace: how is your workplace, the environment, if it is noisy, if it is tidy, if there are many interruptions, etc.
  • Working hours: how many hours do you dedicate throughout the day, are they in a row, do you take breaks, at what time do you feel more energetic and when do you feel tired.
  • Emails: how you manage them throughout the day, do you look at them once, every 5 minutes, etc.
  • How do you manage your calendar, meetings, appointments, etc.
  • To-do list, how you manage each task that you have to do throughout the day (professional and personal), how you prioritize tasks.
  • Where do most of the tasks and projects come from, the source of the tasks.
  • Make a list of all the tools you need to work remotely, technological and analog. See if there is a gap, if you need a tool that you are not yet using. You need to be well equipped with all the tools that can make your job easier.

It is important to accept in any case, that the circumstances surrounding us working from home will probably never be perfect. However, we can try to minimize situations that take away our focus and productivity.

It is important to accept in any case, that the circumstances surrounding us working from home will probably never be perfect. However, we can try to minimize situations that take away our focus and productivity.

2. Space Optimization

It is important to designate a specific space for work, that way when we are in that space, we know that we are in “work mode”. Although it seems silly, it is an important step. From the moment we enter that space, subconsciously we will be ready to work. Try to make the space accommodate your needs during the day and make it feel comfortable.

Another important factor is tidyness. A clean and tidy workspace means a calm mind and ready to carry out the tasks of the day. Make cleaning your workspace a ritual that is part of your daily routine. Ideally, you should be doing it at the beginning and end of the workday.

Dressing appropriately for work is also a good practice. Being at home, makes it very easy to work in your pajamas. However, being dressed for the role will make you feel like you’re ready to work. Of course if we have meetings we must dress accordingly, but even if we do not have them, it is a good idea to do so.

3. Time Optimization

It is important to set limits to your work time. Set a work schedule and also set your time-off schedule. It is essential to recharge the batteries and disconnect, which is difficult when you work from home since personal and work tasks overlap. However, you will see great benefit in separating the two.

Define work hours, breaks, meal times and if you can even set schedules for both work and personal tasks. Time limits create focus on the task you are doing. Having a time dedicated only to work and time dedicated exclusively to your family and your rest will make you focus much more when you are working. And if you also have established what time you are going to do each thing, you no longer have to think about it. It’s one thing you get out of your head to focus on being productive.

Having a time dedicated only to work and time dedicated exclusively to your family and your rest will make you focus much more when you are working.

I like to get up very early in the morning as the house is completely quiet and allows me to get on with things that require concentration before the rest of my family wakes up. By the time the others family members get moving, I have already attended a lot of things with a calm mind and attention. So I can help my children to eat breakfast and get ready for school without the pressure of all the tasks that I have pending. Each of you will have to find the best time of day for you.

4. Technology Optimization

There are a series of apps or basic programs that we will need in order to work properly. Here are the fundamentals, to which we will then have to add specific programs for whatever field you are in:

  • An email provider that is accessible from any device
  • A calendar (can be physical, like a planner or digital)
  • A place in the cloud to store documents, images and share them with other people (google drive, dropbox, etc.)
  • An instant messaging app with which to communicate with your co-workers (whatsapp, slack, etc.)
  • A videoconference app to have face-to-face meetings (google meet, zoom, etc.)

5. Information Optimization

In this section I am going to give you a brief summary, but soon I will write another post going into detail about how to optimize our workflows, our task lists, our calendar, etc.

The important thing to think about is that we usually waste a lot of time doing repetitive tasks throughout the day. For example, look at our email or social media. If we look at our inbox every time we get a notification, we can spend all day in there. And this makes us waste a lot of time. If we can get this under control, we will save a lot of time and energy.

One of the first things that I recommend that you do is disable all unnecessary notifications both on the computer, and on your mobile devices or tablets. This will prevent us from being tempted to look every time we get a notification.

One of the first things that I recommend that you do is disable all unnecessary notifications both on the computer, and on your mobile devices or tablets. This will prevent us from being tempted to look every time we get a notification.

Once unnecessary distractions have been avoided, our next step will be to have a system for capturing information, that is, all the things we have to do. There are many options regarding how to do this: a planner, a notebook, an app on your phone … You may have several places to record this information. The problem is that when the information is so dispersed, we can miss out on things and it is more chaotic.

My recommendation is that you write everything down in 1 or 2 places maximum. I work very well with a planner and with a notes app on my devices that allows me to synchronize them and have the information updated. When we use a notebook or planner, we have to manually write down the information, and when we write it down, our brain assimilates that information. Using a planner allows me to see all the tasks that I have to attend to daily, weekly and monthly very clearly. In addition, our planners are very focused on productivity and goal oriented, which can help you achieve your goals. You can see our selection of planners here.

Once we have a system that is comfortable and easy to implement, the next thing will be to have a system to prioritize and organize tasks. This will vary depending on each person, as we each have factors that influence the importance or urgency of our tasks. In the next post I will go into detail on this topic, since it is very extensive information that requires its own post. You may also be interested in these posts on How to create an action plan to achieve your goals and implement them and 6 Steps to reach your goals this year.

I hope this information has helped you, and remember that you can write me an email at contact@myberryown.com or tag me on social media @myberryown for any questions or concerns you may have. Have a productive day!

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