The world is witnessing an unprecedented situation due to Covid-19. Many businesses have closed temporarily, while those that can, have enforced work from home for all their employees.
Now working from home is not an alien concept, especially to those working in the IT sector. But working from home for such a long duration is something new, and is taking a toll on the productivity of many, including yours truly. I have tried various ways in the last few days to trick my brain into being productive. Here are a few that worked for me.
How To Ensure Productivity While Working From Home
1. Wake up as you would have if it were a normal office day
This is of utmost importance. Start your day as you normally would. Stick to your routine. This means that you must wake up at your regular time, take a shower as you would if you were to go to the office and be at your breakfast table on time.
2. Don’t let your work and personal life mix
One of the biggest challenges while working from home is that the line between personal time and office hours fades, especially for those who are either living alone or have all the members working from home (working couple with no kids, a working couple living away from parents, friends living together, etc). The opposite scenario is also true – you may get so engrossed in the series you were watching last night that you decide to complete it during your work hours and end up spending the entire day chilling.
To avoid that, keep your workspace separate from other areas in your home. It can be a separate room with no distractions or even a corner in a room. The point is to have a dedicated space for work. Office work (and stress) should not step out of this space, and fun activities should not enter this space. This doesn’t mean that you should not let your kids come near you, or you should not speak to your spouse and parents while working. What I mean is that when sitting in this corner, you should not be watching Netflix, or reading books.
3. Come to the point immediately when communicating over chat
Pinging someone on chat is not the same as having a call over the phone or Zoom. When video conferencing, you may start with greetings and small talk and then come to the point. That works because the other person is right there with you. Don’t extend this to chat though. If you ping someone, don’t just say “hi!” and then wait for them to respond before coming to the point. Say whatever you had to in one go. You do not know if the other person is available to respond to you when you ping them. By pinging one sentence at a time and waiting for them to respond, you end up wasting a lot of your time and theirs.
For e,g., instead of saying
“hi! I need a favor. Could you please send me that doc you presented the other day?“
Now when the other person comes online or is free to respond, they can send you what you need instead of just responding to your hi!
4. Plan your day before working on any task
This is more of a general tip than something to be followed during work from home.
I know planning one’s day is easier said than done, but if you start doing this it will declutter your brain and you won’t feel anxious about all the work that you have to do.
There are many apps out there where you can add your tasks and tick them off when they are done. After trying many such apps and failing to form a habit, I moved to a pen-and-paper method a few months ago and that has worked wonders for me. You can read about it here.
This is something that I suggest everyone follow normally and not just during the lockdown.
5. Treat Weekdays Differently From Weekends
Though you are at home, that should not mean that all days are the same. Treat weekdays differently from weekends. So, no binge-watching during the weekdays! This will also make you look forward to weekends. Weekends feel special because weekdays exist, don’t make them lose their charm!
These are some of the ways that are helping me be productive. Why don’t you share some of yours using the comment form below? 🙂