In last week’s blog about working from home, I shared the answers I gave to the Wall Street Journal’s questions about:
*the biggest obstacles people face while working away from the office
*why working from home can feel so full of procrastination
*why working from home can be more productive that working in an office
In this week’s blog, I’ll share with you my answer to their fourth question:
What are your 3-5 best hacks/tips/tricks to maximizing productivity while working from home? How can people best utilize these tips?
- Set your work hours. Whether this is one long stretch or broken up into chunks throughout the day or evening, you’ve just told your brain when you’re going to concentrate on work. Even the most creative people thrive with some kind of structure.
- Share your work hours with your co-habitants. If your roommate, significant other or kids are at home when you’re working, it’s important to share your work hours with them and define what types of emergencies you can be interrupted about. “I forgot to ask you earlier for $20” isn’t an emergency, whereas, “I think I have food poisoning” is.
- Determine your 3 + 3 at the beginning of each day. Choose your top three priorities that absolutely must get finished, and work on those as early in the day as possible before fires – or opportunities! – come your way. Your “+3” is your bonus plan in case you finish early and can move on to your next layer of priorities. Or it’s your back-up plan in case humans or technology toss a wrench into your plans. You can throw a quick tantrum, then get re-focused faster on knocking out priorities – instead of chasing low-hanging fruit because your brain can’t concentrate without a plan when you’re irritated. If you find that your brain focuses on work in the evenings instead of relaxing, or if you have sleep difficulties, consider capturing your 3+3 at the end of your work day, before “clocking out.” This will help give your brain confidence that you know what’s on tap for the next day.
- Take advantage of working from home. Enjoy the blessing of not having to commute. Instead of using that extra time to work more, recharge your productivity by taking a mid-day break and having fun. Do something that you wouldn’t be able to do in an office – like take your dog for a quick walk, plop down on a cushion and meditate, or rock out to your favorite song. Contrary to popular belief, we do not get more done by working longer. We are far more productive when we take breaks.
When you implement these strategies and tactics on a regular basis, you’ll experience increased productivity while working from home!
These recommendations I gave one year ago still apply today. Pause for a few minutes to reflect. Are you still experiencing challenges related to the above? If not, be sure to give yourself some credit and a high five! If, however, you are still bothered by these obstacles while working from home (or a hybrid of onsite and remote) make a decision about how you’re going to address the root causes and apply your solutions.