Updated: Oct 5, 2020
No doubt working from home comes with unlimited freedom and flexibility. But it also has many downsides, and distraction is the greatest one. Distraction is the killer of productivity.
When we work in a workplace, everything at our workspace helps us to transit from personal time to working time because workspaces are heavily designed to stay focused and motivated, but when we are working from home, there are many distractions because the word ‘Home’ creates a picture of comfort and relaxation. Most of us live with other people who may also be a distraction, especially if we live with children and pets.
When we are working from home there are many other activities also happening at the same time, i.e. other people watch TV, listening to music, or just talking and performing household chores. So, getting distracted and becoming less productive is nature if we do not learn to self-discipline and create some boundaries.
The beauty of these boundaries is, these are created by us and we can create them according to our own convenience and comfort.
When working from home it’s important to stay productive and motivated. To increase productivity it's essential to take some important steps:
1. Give Yourself A Dedicated Workspace:
First of all, try to give yourself a dedicated workspace, what does it mean? It means you should consider having space away from all the distractions. Or a place comparatively less busy and noisy.
Let’s have look at some common distractions; people watching TV, loud music, mobile phones ringing (Non-work-related calls), children playing, pets, other family members, noisy neighbours, clutter, and lack of sleep.
So if you want to increase your per hour productivity, ideally you should give yourself a spare room where you can close the doors and shut the rest of the world out. But if this is not possible, then least you can do is a desk and chair in somewhere comparatively quiet place or corner of the house, and create a visual boundary or little privacy— I understand this action totally depends on the living conditions but try to do it if it is possible, this will help you to stay focused and motivated, that will improve your per hour productivity, and will also improve your financial condition. For set by set guidance on how to set your workspace, read WFH During Pandemic and Beyond: A comprehensive guide to improve productivity and family time.
2. Schedule Your Work:
The second important step is, organise your work by scheduling everything, personal and work-related. It’s better if you can process your whole week’s tasks in advance. This will help to avoid the madness in the morning and wasting your time thinking about where to start. For processing and scheduling your personal and office work, read my WFH During Pandemic and Beyond: A comprehensive guide to improve productivity and family time.
3. Prioritising Tasks:
Although it’s important to organise your whole week's work by scheduling in advance, it’s better if you also prioritise your daily tasks every morning. This can be done by simply checking your planner and emails in the morning. Sometimes you may have to make little changes according to the urgency of that particular day’s tasks. So, prioritising and review tasks on a daily basis also helps to stay focussed and motivated. Some people like to priorities their daily task in advance for example at the end of their working day they give themselves enough time to check their planner for the next day and see what will be urgent, and then they start from there. Of course, they do check their emails in the morning and also leave some buffer time for the urgencies. About how to create buffer time read my book WFH During Pandemic and Beyond: A comprehensive guide to improve productivity and family time.
4. Pretend You are Not at Home:
I know it sounds silly, but pretending you are in your office, will help you to behave like it. How do you do this? I normally, make myself a cup of coffee, and play some music or radio whichever you like, and will not create a distraction, it down with your computer. For comprehensive guidance read my book WFH During Pandemic and Beyond: A comprehensive guide to improve productivity and family time.
5. Acceptable and Not Acceptable:
When you are working from home, you have to decide what is acceptable at work and what is not acceptable, for example, you can’t play with your children or pets when you are at work. You can’t dance and play loud music or watch a movie. But you may take a twenty-minute break and feed your dog or prepare your children a sandwich for lunch or a quick yoga stretch session to keep going, Which I have discussed in detail in my book WFH During Pandemic and Beyond: A comprehensive guide to improve productivity and family time, in the chapter; Taking Meaningful Breaks.
6. Talk To All Family Members:
It is very important that every member of your household must understand that you are home, but you are working, and this is different than being on holidays. And working from home means you are available for the emergencies only. Talk to your children and request them for cooperation as well as moral support. How to negotiate with children, pets, and adult in your household, is discussed in detail. For more guidance read here…