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Maximizing Your Productivity While Working Remotely

Red-headed woman working from home

Combat internal & external distractions in our user-friendly guide.

Feelings of isolation are hard to combat. More so, when you spend most of your waking hours alone at home day after day. Those of us, who are suddenly finding ourselves thrown into remote work may be struggling to readjust.

Certainly, there are both perks and losses to simply logging in for the day. However, we’re here today to discuss how you can seek greater productivity while still wearing pyjamas.

Here’s a quick snippet of what we’ll be covering:

There are many temptations in your house and sometimes the best solutions are easy fixes you could be implementing now. Let’s start with the first and perhaps most important aspect of being productive around the house: managing your time efficiently.

The Pomodoro Technique

Woman working on tablet in front of screen

Undoubtedly, one of the most praised aspects of working from home is the ability to designate your own schedule. However, some people have difficulty focusing on tasks without a proper structure to their day.

The Pomodoro Technique is one of many time management methods meant to increase your productivity. It was introduced in 1992, as a method to “alleviate pressures from the time, increase sense of decisions… and enhance concentration” (Buzan 1983).

Check out our previous article about which apps to download to help reach your goals. 

The technique in question consists of typically twenty-five minutes of high-intensity work broken up with five minutes breaks in between. Through following this technique people were able to discover their own “physiological rhythms and sustainable pace” for their work (Feng)

While you can manually set a timer on your phone there are also several plugins for your browser that can notify you when it’s time to take a break. Overall, this technique is great for breaking down complex tasks into manageable chunks, but it cannot save you from searching through folders to find that one file you left untitled.

Physical and Electronic Workspaces

A cluttered desk top

Organization and productivity go hand in hand. If you’re taking fifteen minutes to locate a file amongst a pile on your desk when you could be taking one, then perhaps it’s time to reorganize your space.

Start by moving the files that you don’t use on a day to day basis onto an external hard drive or into the cloud. We’re going to prioritize what should and should not be visible. Once that’s done it’s time to build a naming convention. This could be something along the lines of blog-march-2020. Use whatever system is logical to you, but just remember to stick with it from now on.

For a more in-depth guide check out Giogrgos Petkakis’s article on how to declutter your workspace.

Prioritization with the Pareto Principle

Pie charts with pencil

Whether you’re permanently or temporarily working from home it will be vital to figure out which tasks you need to prioritize. In this case, we look to Pareto’s Principle for guidance. Also known as the 80/20 rule it states that “a small minority, that have a major, dominant impact” and inversely a large majority have a minor impact (Koch, 2011).

To apply this to your remote work, think about all the tasks you need to finish. Starting with the minor ones, like reblogging a tweet or checking in with a coworker is as (if not more) important as that large project due at the end of the month.

Coordination with a Remote Team

Female coworkers on screens

Speaking of your team, how are they? You might be dissuaded from contacting them for minor issues if they’re in different cities or timezones. The temptation to hermit away and struggle in silence is stronger.

Personally, we highly recommend setting up regular group video calls to combat this hesitation. Afterall collaboration stems from proximity. Seeing your co-workers rather than reading their words in a chat, provide key non-verbal cues you might have missed otherwise. In general, the use of “computer-mediated communication makes it difficult for people to discern the external and internal experience of remote partners” (Hinds). Therefore, put on a hoodie and turn that camera on.

Celebration and Reflection

Champagne glasses toasting each other

Take time to celebrate your accomplishments. When you’ve finished a project it is too easy to click the next tab and drive yourself into burnout. Make yourself a cup of tea or rest for twenty minutes. Studies show that taking time to meditate and reflect on your experiences “make a huge difference in a worker‘s attitude, productivity and effectiveness” (Deshpande, 2012)

Final Thoughts

Working remotely can be difficult to adjust to, but hopefully, by following these tips you can be as productive in cotton bottoms as a suit and tie.

Personally, I find that working by a window makes a ton of difference. The natural light keeps me more alert, and it’s nice to give my eyes a break by looking out on the people below. That’s all for now, let us know what you do to remain on task at home in the comments below.

 

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