Working from home has become the new normal. For some people, it’s turning out to be a great experience, as they are able to manage a better work-life balance. But for many, it is proving to be extremely unproductive, distracting and wasteful.
If you do not develop any sort of discipline when working remotely, your days, projects and personal deadlines will likely suffer. In this post, we will go over a few very simple steps that will help you get the most out of your day when you work from home. When put into consistent practice, the benefits of these tactics can really be quite impressive.
Now let’s get right into productivity tips!
1. Put Your Smartphone in A Different Room
You wouldn’t believe how much time is wasted (per day) simply by checking your smartphone – whether it’s text messages, social media, emails, sports statistics etc. The average number of times a person checks their phone each and every hour is astounding.
The basic technique of putting your smartphone in another room can absolutely revolutionize your day and workflow.
Don’t believe me?
Well then, try it out for yourself.
If you’re reading this and work from home a majority of the week, then I have a challenge for you. Starting tomorrow put your phone in another room (preferably on another floor or level). If you absolutely must check your phone, make sure to do so only every 2 hours or so.
Monitor your productivity and track your results over the next few days. You see when we constantly “check-in” with our phones, this breaks the deep concentration that is so hard to acquire in the first place. Every time you check your phone, you now have to regain your concentration and start from square one.
The less you check your phone throughout the day, the minimum interruptions you will have and the more time you free up to focus on your work.
This step alone can increase your productivity by 20-30%.
2. Exit Out of Unnecessary Browser Tabs
Now we’re all guilty from time to time of having too many browser tabs open at once…which is okay if they’re related to your work. However, having Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, MSN, etc. open will only lead you to further procrastination and eventually frustration when nothing gets done.
This tip is as simple as closing out of any distracting or unnecessary browser tabs (like the ones mentioned above) until all of your work is complete. The one exception to this rule is if you’re listening to music (see next step below) on YouTube or another music-related website to help with your focus. If this is the case, it is recommended that you open this in a separate window and then minimize it so it is out of sight.
Once you eliminate any additional distractions in the browser tab section, you can really start cruising right along. This gets rid of temptation and will save you hours and hours of valuable time throughout your week (we all know how long we can get lost on sites like Facebook, mindlessly scrolling through the news feed).
Being a bit more minimalistic oftentimes can take you a long way.
You will now start to see that these simple tactics begin to build upon each other. Now that your phone is in another room and all irrelevant browser tabs are closed out, you’re ready for the next step.
3. Listen To Stimulating Music To Increase Your Concentration
This will vary from person to person but finding the right music is known to ultimately help with concentration and sometimes motivation. Now everyone’s taste in music is obviously different, but the process is still the same.
Put on something that works as good background music, preferably on headphones. What many people see great results with is ambient or drone style music, classical, instrumental, alpha waves, study music etc.
Again, this will be different for everyone but there’s something about consistent sound waves that can be really beneficial while working and especially when jamming through a difficult or time-consuming project.
Feel free to experiment with different types of music as well. What you think may not work, may just work.
Try this out for yourself…A good starting point is to search “Study Music” on YouTube. There will be many options to choose from that are designed to help with focus and concentration (and probably stress too). These work well for many people and are worth experimenting with on your own.
4. Take Regular Breaks Throughout The Day
This is important to anyone who wants to maximize their productivity in general. If you work straight through the day without any “break” time, you will be less productive in the days, weeks and months to come. It’s as simple as that.
We all need time to recharge and reset, and there’s no better way to do this than walking away from your computer and getting away from technology for a few minutes.
In fact, if the weather is nice out, this tip is even more powerful when you take it outside. Going for a quick walk in nature, believe it or not, can do wonders for your creativity, motivation, efficiency, and mood.
If you can’t go for a walk maybe you can do a quick workout routine. Exercise is known to help with overall learning and retention.
Another good way to use this break time is by making a cup of tea or coffee, which can also help with concentration when you’re ready to get back at it. Additionally, it’s important to note that green tea is excellent to sip on while doing work as it can really boost your brainpower.
Working hard is a great asset to have, but you also want to avoid burnout. These breaks are crucially important to not only your quality of work moving forward but also for your quality of life.
These little “hacks” can really make a difference in your life and are not difficult to make into positive habits. When combined together and practised on a consistent basis, the results can truly be significant.
A good strategy to bring this all together is to work your normal week (without implementing these strategies) to start and record your productivity. The next week incorporate one or two or all of these tips above and re-record your results. Try to see if you notice any changes, patterns, breakthroughs etc. You may just be surprised at the improvements that start to manifest as a result of these techniques…Now if you do this over the next few weeks, months and hopefully years, you’ll see that there is no turning back.