Working from home or telecommuting is absolutely amazing and stress-free UNTIL your dog starts rolling those puppy eyes at you, and the neighbor starts jamming that EDM on speakers. And oh, did I mention that you won’t really get enough sleep amidst all the stress from work and home (quite literally).
Well, for any employee in a corporate, work from home is honestly a luxury that we wish to get every once in a while. But with the COVID-19 crisis locking people inside their homes, it is the only option left in our hands now. So which environment is actually more fruitful for us- the roof or the office?
Distractions are inevitable. At the office, your colleagues will always be there at the desk, ready to interrupt your work-flow. They will engage you in conversations, doubts, lunch invites, bitching sessions, and whatnot! I mean, socializing is good, but it can pose a prominent threat to your productivity if you get distracted easily.
At your home office, your worst enemy is YOU. In other words, when you don’t have your colleagues around, there remain no social obligations. You get distracted only by your will, and not by some pesky peer pressure. Basically, your productivity gets in your hand this way. (Also, you don’t have to wear pants or wash your face)
Today, we will discuss some of the tips that will assist you in dealing with the quarantine boredom and distraction while working from home. Here are 15 productive things to do to make the most out of your telecommuting shifts this year.
15 Productive Things To Do This Lockdown
1. Pretend You’re Going To Office
The mental association we have between our office and work is something that triggers productivity. We tend to lose this feeling when working from home. The reason? We get into the lazy weekend mode when at home for more than two days.
To bring back the workplace ethics, you need to do everything like a routine office day. Set the alarm, get up early, take a shower, have a cup of coffee before you get started, do not skip your lunch, and so on. You don’t really have to follow any strict routine as you would for any working day, but keeping some tiny whiny things in mind would surely help.
2. Dedicate a Workspace
Just because you are telecommuting doesn’t mean you are not working at an office. When at home, have your own office. Choose a space with less distraction (wait, there’s no place with zero disturbance. Duh!)
Dedicate a separate space at your room instead of cooping yourself into the couch. Also, don’t wander around with your laptop in your hands. You never know when you end up in the garden, playing football with your sibling.
3. Get Started Earlier
When working in the office, the morning transportation can help you to wake up and feel prepared by the time you reach your desk. But the journey from your pillow to the laptop is pretty daunting. You sometimes don’t realize what the hell you were typing for the past two hours, and it gets worse when you start working right on your bed.
Okay, STOP! Don’t do that. Start working earlier on your projects. So you don’t waste much time and gain your senses just when you should. Don’t let your morning sluggishness hamper the motivation to work.
4. Structure Your Day Like In Office
When not going to the office, you lack a lot of things that let you automatically schedule your day. At home, you become your personal manager with none of your colleagues or seniors around. With no planned meetings or breaks, everything goes considerably disorganized.
Make sure you follow your schedule, segment your day, and decide everything beforehand. Set reminders for tasks and assign a particular time when you shift and start a new one. Adhere to this routine every single day.
5. Employee Monitoring Software
No, this article is not only about the employees, but also about the bosses. I know how difficult it gets to trust your co-workers with their work, especially when you are aware of how easily they get distracted. In this case, you can directly monitor your employees’ systems to know what they are doing in real-time.
There are various employee monitoring software available in the market like EmpMonitor that assist you in generating screenshots along with the graphical outcome of your employees’ performance. This way, you can be stress-free about any productivity losses or data security.
6. Save Harder Tasks for Productive Hours
Nobody stays at their peak throughout the day. Your creativity ebbs and flows throughout the working hours. It becomes more evident while working from home as you get more time to focus on your work (with no one to ask for help or to call for a meeting)
To make the most out of your days at home, schedule your more arduous tasks during that time when you feel the most productive. Utilize the slower points of your day to finish off the easier tasks that may not take much time to finish. Things like this will assist you in maintaining the momentum of work.
7. Commit for More Work
When was the last time you didn’t overestimate the things that you would do in a day? If you’re a procrastinator like me, this is probably your everyday story. It is quite difficult to complete a project just as planned. It always takes a bit more time than you would think.
As you can already speculate, it gets even worse at home. Always decide to do more work. This way, even when you come short to your goal, you still have a lot of tasks under the completed list. Encourage yourself to extend the amount of work you do instead of extending the working hours.
8. Play Tracks that Match Your Work Pace
Listening to the music that matches the energy of your project will help you complete the given task in no time. Strange but true. Try to listen to lyrics-free music, or you may start lip-syncing with it, disturbing the work pace. It makes no sense if your music doesn’t let you focus on the tasks.
Video games soundtracks are the best, as they lack lyrics and are pretty good with the workflow. Multilingual songs are also commendable (if you don’t get the lyrics, but like the tune)
9. Save Discussions and Calls for the Afternoon
Sometimes, I don’t even want to listen to my own voice after I wake up- let alone talk to others with it. You may not need much time to deal with the morning blues, but you must give yourself time before you deal with other people on calls and video conferences.
If you have just started as a telecommuter, you may be struggling to come up with a reasonable work schedule. The best way to do so is to start with the solitary tasks in the morning and deal with calls and meetings around lunch. You will feel more refreshed and ready for it at that time.
10. Work Timers around You
You might be aware of this- taking a shower while listening to songs will let you save water. It’s so obvious why- the songs remind you how long you have been in the bathroom, and you shorten your wash time.
This psychology applies to your working hours too. There are various built-in timers present in our homes, for instance, laundry timers, a serial that your mom is watching (no kidding), a coke studio playlist, etc.
11. Take Regular Breaks (Very Short)
Just because you want to avoid distractions doesn’t mean you cannot take breaks. When working from home, your office time gets extended to a couple of hours, at times. Taking a break becomes extremely crucial in order to keep up with the work pace.
However, a break doesn’t mean clicking on Instagram and scrolling through memes. Utilize the extra time you have to stroll on the terrace, drink some water, wash your face, or talk to your cat. In short, take REAL BREAKS.
12. Do Not Forget Human Interactions
Remember one thing: You’re working from home, not from Mars. You’re allowed to talk to any human present around, even if they’re not your coworkers. It is a good idea to look at a new face when you spend the majority of your day alone.
You are humans, behave like one. It keeps you sane.
13. Prepare Meals A Night Before
It might sound tempting to prepare breakfast and lunch at home as Gordon Ramsay, chopping and cooking included. But think about it this way- is your office time worth wasting? (You are telecommuting. These are still your office hours)
Preparing the food beforehand ensures that you have it ready during the lunch break, and you do not waste your energy on non-work related tasks.
14. Switch on the TV in the Background
It may sound weird, yet relatable- the noises in the TV channels block your mind from wandering into some random imagination. The reason behind it is that the TV is already a distraction, so it does not let any other distraction take over.
Makes sense? It kind of does. I know.
Here’s a catch- play a channel on which you are less likely to glue your eyes, for instance, History TV18 with their ancient aliens and stuff like that.
15. Set a Finishing Time and Stick to it!
Jokes on you if you think telecommuting is going to improve your work-life balance in any way. It is like playing PUBG. You get so much caught up in the activities that you have no track of time.
When looking at the co-workers packing up after work, you too feel like getting up from your seat. Implement this in your home office too. Set up an alarm for the finishing time. Do not consider it as a deadline, but assume that your working time gets over here.
Trust me. It is going to help you to call it quits for the evening.
Log Out of all Social Media Accounts When Working
Wait, what? You’re still here!!! (Virtual hugs loading)
Here’s my gift as a bonus tip for you- make it extremely difficult for you to mess around on social media. We all know we cannot resist Facebook and Instagram when our bosses aren’t around. So why not straight away log out of them just before beginning with our projects.
Okay, I know you want to check out the feed sometimes. You can simply log into your account on the incognito window! It will make the login process too fussy, and you will seldom open your account. (Genius. I know, right?)
Get, Set, Rock The Quarantine!
There is not a single human on the planet who didn’t get bored after a week into the quarantine, not even the introverts (no kidding, they too want to run in an open field). With all that boredom and monotony comes a tremendous opportunity to sit back and WORK.
And come on, why lie down and stare at the screen straight away for a month instead of doing what you are supposed to do? Working from home is, indeed, challenging but not impossible for sure. Read and reread all the productive things to do that I have mentioned in this blog. Let’s make telecommuting easy and self-management easier. Don’t forget to tell us if these points helped you in any way.
Do you have any queries? Want to add something to the list? Drop your words in the comments section below; I’d love to hear from you!