Here are 7 key Productivity Tips for working from home:
1.Write a To-Do List
Create a master to-do list and identify the 2 most important tasks for the following day (see #2) and lock these into your calendar for when you are likely to be at your best. You only want to use your best brain for your best work. If you are a morning person, undertake your hardest, most important, revenue-generating tasks in the morning and leave your administrative and process-driven work for the afternoon.
2. Set Deadlines
Your brain loves a deadline. A deadline provides focus and motivation to get the task done. At your workplace, often this focus and motivation comes from being surrounded by your colleagues and managers who are also working towards their own deadlines.
When you work from home, it can be a lot harder to maintain the same level of focus towards completing a task – the day feels longer, there are more distractions at home, and there is less external accountability.
To stay focussed you need to set your own deadlines each day. Remember Parkinson’s Law: the economic theory that a task expands to meet the time made available – that is, if you don’t set a deadline, the task won’t happen.
3. Create a great morning routine
Now that you are working from home you can change your morning routine to maximise your productivity. All of a sudden you don’t need to rush out of the house to make your train or to fight against the traffic. However, it’s important not to let your morning fritter away because there is no longer a sense of urgency to get to the office.
Get up at the same time and use the extra time you have saved from not commuting to your advantage – add in some exercise; eat well; meditate; focus, and have a set time that you sit down to start work.
Batching is the process of grouping like tasks together and then blocking out slabs of time in your calendar to complete the tasks together. Batching allows you to have one longer concentrated period of time allocated to dealing with tasks in bulk as opposed to jumping in and out of smaller, like tasks repeatedly throughout the day.
Batch periods of time to deal with: emails; calls; customers; billing; planning; delivery; compliance; social media and so on.
5. Single Focus
Multitasking does not work. Multitasking (such as having your email alerts on all of the time; taking a call while working on a report; or having multiple screens open) can decrease your productivity by as much as 40%. Single focus by batching (see #4) and work on one task at a time.
6. Set a Timer
When you are working hard against a deadline (#2), you do not want to watch the clock – this is a consistent distraction which means you are multitasking and not 100% focussed on the task at hand. And that’s bad for productivity (#5).
For solid, single focussed work try setting a timer or wind up alarm for the amount of time you have allowed for a task. When the alarm goes off, take a break.
7. Take breaks
Stepping away from work for 10 minutes between each batch of work will improve your productivity and decrease your error rate.