Remote working was only prevalent after the coronavirus pandemic. For security reasons at the time, many people who were unfamiliar with the new working environment had to work from home. Nowadays, such a rigid framework is no longer necessary. Still, even after the end of the social distancing regime, many businesses and companies started to move employees to permanent remote working hours, and freelancing has become incredibly popular. However, it’s hard to stay productive and not be tempted to give yourself a long weekend despite the convenience of working from home – allowing you to avoid travel time and be comfortable without rigid controls. So how do you remain a valuable worker who meets deadlines?
Workspace. The importance of creating the right working environment
The first and most crucial point is to create a dedicated workspace. You do not need to set up an office in your home – creating a working environment – a quiet space and a desk – will suffice. This space must be used for work tasks only, helping your brain to associate it with focus and productivity. You can decorate your workspace with plants to rest your brain occasionally – the natural green colour is relaxing and encourages concentration. A music playlist is also advisable to work – with music that helps you concentrate on your work.
If you can’t work near your home sofa and are tempted to sleep a little longer, or if you have a noisy family and need more space to work, find a co-working space of some kind in your town. It can be something other than an expensive centre for freelancers – a quiet cafe near your home (if you’re not too distracted by others), a local library, or, in the warmer months, you can work in a park in the countryside.
Prioritise and schedule your work
To start effectively working remotely – you first have to understand where and how to start. In the beginning, it is an excellent idea to synchronize your work with the way you work in the office. Wake up, eat breakfast, and start working at the same time as you would with your regular schedule. Save approximately an hour of free time to check on your previous tasks and be ready for work.
However, this may not be enough to increase your productivity – and a large number of tasks can discourage you from even starting to deal with difficult tasks. In order to get your priorities straight, you need to get your time management right.
One technique for using time well is the Eisenhower Matrix. This methodology involves setting clear goals and classifying tasks according to importance and urgency. You will end up with four categories of tasks – first, what you will do is urgent and important, then important but not urgent, following – urgent but not important, and at the end, not urgent and unimportant. To structure your tasks and not forget anything, you can use free project management tools where you can write down your tasks and make a schedule that helps you to be responsible and act like a boss for yourself.
Another technique is called the “20/80 Rule” – it states that 20% of effort leads to 80% of the result. The technique consists of an in-depth analysis of the tasks, identifying among them 20% of the tasks that bring the most results and prioritizing their implementation.
With these techniques, you will be able to prioritize your tasks and achieve maximum results.
Regular breaks and physical activity
To avoid burnout from the cult of productivity and stay healthy, it’s important to remember to rest. Contrary to popular belief, regular short breaks can significantly increase productivity levels. Use methods such as the Pomodoro method, where you work a certain amount of time.
This can follow a pattern of twenty-five minutes of work and five minutes break. Every fourth break can be increased to fifteen minutes. During the break, get away from the workplace and stretch or take a short walk. You can do small exercises found on the internet for the neck and shoulders as well as exercises for the eyes.
Question all productivity tips and remember that the only three rules relevant to everyone are good sleep, healthy nutrition, and regular active breaks – balance is basic.
Finally, to maintain productivity when working from home, setting boundaries between work and your personal life is important. Communicate your work schedule to family members or housemates to minimize distractions. Also, turn on “Do Not Disturb” mode on your devices while you are concentrating. You can also use applications that block your phone till working time. Most importantly, remember to log off at the end of the day. Hobby activities, spending time with your family and friends, and getting plenty of rest are essential to restore your energy and maintaining a high level of productivity.
It is important to set clear boundaries and communicate them with your colleagues. Take lunch and rest breaks, and only answer work calls or emails outside of office hours if it is critical. This will help you and your team respect your personal time.
Maintaining a work/life balance requires physical activity and healthy food. Make an effort to get regular physical activity in your daily routine, and closely check what you consume. Maintain contact with family and friends; socializing also aids in stress management and general well-being.
Working from home makes it easy to overlook the necessity of self-care. Allow time for rest and recovery. This could be as easy as a meditation exercise, reading a book, engaging in a pastime, or simply relaxing. Remember that in order to be productive, you must take time to care for yourself.
Finally, remember that each person is unique and demands a personal approach — experiment to identify the best ways and strategies for maintaining a work-life balance while working from home.