MANILA, Philippines – Thousands of Filipinos nationwide are currently working from home. While this is a luxury many of us can finally afford, working from home comes with its limitations. No matter where we look, we are constantly surrounded by people and things that can distract us. So, in order to ensure everyone currently working from home can finish as much as they can, while maintaining their work-life balance, here are eight simple things you can do to keep productivity flowing.
- Set Ground Rules with the People You Live With
Working from home doesn’t mean you’re easily available to the people you live with. Whether they are your roommates, siblings, parents, or even romantic partner, setting your personal boundaries is incredibly necessary. Before embarking on your work from home period, make sure to notify the people around you. Doing so ensures that you are free from any distractions or obligations during your working hours.
DO: Tell the people you live with you need time to work. You have a job to do and a life to provide for.
DON’T: Make yourself available all the time. Let everyone know your schedule so that you’re all aligned with each other’s schedules.
- Set a Dedicated Time to Start and End Your Day
Ideally, we can manage our work-life balance when we work from home. But nothing can be further from the truth. Without any structure, our personal lives can have a serious effect on the amount of work we complete on a daily basis. To really maximize your time, follow a strict schedule that resembles your office schedule. If you wake up at 6:00 AM, you are afforded a good three hours to workout, eat breakfast, and shower. The simple act of waking up early enforces structure from the onset that will allow you to begin work at 9:00 AM and finish it by 6:00 PM. There’s no need to commute, leaving you with more time to focus on yourself once you are finished for the day.
DO: Create a full-itinerary for your entire day. This will help you achieve most, if not all, your designated tasks for the day.
DON’T: Wake up and start working expecting to accomplish anything. Most often, you end up getting very little done.
- Find a Place to Work From
It can be easy to lock yourself in your room and work from your bed. But if you do this, you’re bound to accomplish very little during the day. Instead, assess your home and find a quiet, clutter-free area you can work from. It can be the kitchen, your living room, and even your balcony. Finding the right spot, combined with a bottle of water and cup of coffee, ensures you are free from any distractions, leaving you with enough focus to complete one task after another.
DO: Since you’ll be there the whole day, you might as well find a nice and quiet place in your home to work from.
DON’T: Work from your bed. Your bed is for rest, not for work.
- Prepare an Agenda of Tasks to Complete During the Workday
When working from home, it can be very easy to aimlessly jump from one task to another. Before starting any work, give yourself a good half hour to assess which tasks are the most important ones for the day. Once you know what you have to do, you can start working in an orderly manner.
DO: Spend 30 minutes at the start of each day to determine what tasks are most important. This will help better ease you into the day ahead.
DON’T: Dive straight into work without knowing what you need to accomplish for the day. You will end up getting swallowed by your work instead of finishing tasks like a working professional.
- Estimate How Much Time You Really Need
It is easy to say we can complete a task in under two hours, but when you’re comfortable at home, even the easiest tasks will take a long time to complete. Don’t be afraid to be realistic with yourself and your surroundings. You are not in the office. You are at home – a place of rest. Before starting any work, give yourself a realistic deadline for each of your objectives for the day. And allow yourself to have room for error, because something will always come up to distract you from completing any work. So, if you find yourself presented with a task that would normally take you an hour to complete, give yourself an hour and a half instead.
DO: Set realistic deadlines with some margins for delay. You are creating practical expectations for yourself.
DON’T: Underestimate the amount of time you spend on a task. This can only lead to over-promising tasks and disappointing yourself or your co-workers.
- Start with the Easy Tasks
You know what feels good? Accomplishment! Start your day by focusing on simple, relatively quick tasks you can complete in an hour or under. Before you know it, you would have spent your entire morning finishing one task after another. This very momentum will allow you to concentrate on bigger, more challenging tasks in the afternoon. The feeling of accomplishment you get from finishing these tasks throughout the day will ensure that you can finally call it a night the moment that clock strikes.
DO: Start with the easy tasks and gradually build up to harder ones. You’ll move on to the difficult challenges feeling so much more accomplished.
DON’T: Aimlessly jump from one task after another. You won’t be able to finish a lot of work this way.
- Take Breaks
Because you are working from home, it can be easy to put aside your regular breaks in the hopes of finishing early. This hardly ever works. You end up depleting all your energy focused on trying to complete your work. Allow yourself to take short breaks throughout the day. Take five minutes every two hours to step away from your computer and do something for yourself. Play with your pets, make a cup of coffee, scroll through your Instagram feed. But remember to be effective with your time. Once those five minutes are up, return to your work. Those small breaks will go a very long way to ensure you can accomplish more during your work from home.
DO: Set reminders for yourself to take breaks and time them. Small breaks go a long way in boosting productivity!
DON’T: Exhaust yourself trying to complete a task, especially if you have a lot to do. Before you know it, you’ll be binge-watching Netflix because you need the “noise to work”.
- Declutter Your Workspace
It’s hard to imagine that your workspace can get messy, especially if you spend most of the day in just one spot. But it happens. By taking your frequent trips to the kitchen or the bathroom into account, you end up with a mess that will affect your level of productivity. Don’t be afraid to periodically declutter your workspace every now again. Put your things where they rightfully belong and don’t be afraid to take the extra effort to dispose your garbage into a bin. A clean workspace ensures you’re left with more focus to finish more work before the end of the day.
DO: Use apps for decluttering – such as Keepr Storage PH, which may greatly help you store away unused items. Keepr Storage PH simplifies storage organization and solves the problem of lack of space due to unwanted clutter in your home. Make room for more productive activities!
DON’T: Let your mess pile up around you. This will affect your focus in completing your work and may cause your productivity to plateau – something we should all avoid!