Working from home has become the norm for so many people due to the pandemic. While some of us thrive in a remote environment, others may struggle to be productive outside a traditional office space. If you’ve been longing for the good ‘old days when cubicles and break rooms were a thing or if working remotely still isn’t coming easily to you, we’ve got some practical tips to help you be more productive while working from home.
Do whatever helps you be most productive.
No matter how unconventional it may seem, doing whatever works best for you is a tried-and-true strategy that can do wonders for your productivity. If you work best in the evening, adjust your hours. If you get the most work done sitting in the easy chair with your feet propped up, don’t try to force desk life. Make the overwatched sitcom your background noise or the cozy rug your work surface. And remember, the way you work remotely may differ from your coworkers or even your spouse, and that’s okay.
Make the most of the time you have.
Distractions and interruptions
Working from home, a day in the life: You set your kids up with Bluey and start the morning with a hot cup of coffee and your laptop. You realize you forgot to take the trash out and the dog is whining. So you stop work long enough to run the trash out to the road and let the dog do its business. Then a phone call comes in, so you take it and chat for a bit while you fix the kids breakfast. Right as you sit down to work again, your toddler gets tired of the show and wants a snack. No, not the breakfast you fixed, a snack.
If that sounds all too familiar, you’re not alone. Distractions and interruptions come with the territory when you’re working from home. While some may find it convenient to blend their work and home life, many people get frustrated by how unstructured and unpredictable each day is. The key to making it work is to take advantage of every block of time you do have, even if you’re unsure how productive you will be. Be prepared to be interrupted, but be prepared to get to work the minute you are able to as well.
It might not come easy at first, but try to be productive whenever you can, tackling whatever task you think you’ll make the most progress on right then. So, if you have 10 or 20 minutes to work at your kitchen island while the rice boils for dinner, reply to emails or write down what supplies you need to buy for that project. If you just dropped your child off at preschool, use the next 5 or 6 hours to work on tasks that require deeper focus and a quiet atmosphere such as Zoom calls, analysis, writing, etc. Make the most of each pocket of time, and you’ll see just how quickly those minutes add up!
Working remotely can be hard. Give yourself some grace.
A global pandemic is probably the worst time to learn how to work from home. (And yes, there is a learning curve to it.) So do your best, but if you feel like you’re not being as productive from home, know that that’s normal. Try to cut yourself some slack. And communicate your struggles with your boss! You never know what tools they may offer to help you continue to do your best work.