Welcome to Mental Health Awareness Month! May is the perfect time to prioritize mental well-being, especially in today's remote work environment
Shake Up Your WFH Routine with These 5 Productivity Tips
Try these simple tips to become more productive and waste less time, connect better with your team and relieve stress of the workday.
Working from home can be bliss. It can also be a torture. Sometimes it’s hard to ignore the plants that need to be watered and dive into the work at hand. Without the prying eyes of your coworkers in the next cubicle, productivity can take a nosedive. Yet you’re still expected to deliver results and hit your marks just the same. So how do we ignore distractions and burst through the roadblocks that make working from home hard? The key may be to revamp your approach to productivity. Try these simple tips to become more productive and waste less time, connect better with your team and relieve stress of the workday.
Establish a daily flow
You probably have a routine when you get ready in the morning—get out of bed, brush teeth (hopefully), dress, make coffee, eat breakfast, wake up your computer, etc. It’s likely ingrained and requires little thought. Your workday should begin the same way, with a well practiced rhythm that you move through automatically. If each workday starts off as a surprise, you’ll likely be disorganized the rest of the day, struggling to make sense of where you started and where you’re going. Find your flow and order of operations. For example, you may start your day by mapping your to-do list, then move to checking email, creative/problem solving work, etc. You won’t be able to control your entire day, but shaping what you can will transform your time into a more productive working session—especially when you’re the only person around to keep you accountable.
Don’t dwell on unessential tasks
It’s up to you to protect your time—even if someone else is guilty of wasting it. Much of a person’s time is in danger of being spent on non-essential tasks that don’t produce results. Limiting how much time you spend on such tasks will save countless hours and allow you to focus on big-picture projects. Learn to speed-read through emails or written instructions to zero in on relevance. Make sure your presence in meetings is truly necessary. It might sound nice to stealthily play Wordle as you kill time, but the punishment comes later when you’re forced to catch up on real work. Also some of us didn’t listen to our teachers when they warned against procrastination. It can be tempting to tackle the easy, low stakes task first. Let me wake up and get my feet wet before throwing me into the ocean, you might say. But in reality, tackling your hardest task first will likely get better results. You’re fresher, more creative and more in tune with your team earlier in the day, and that will glean more rewards as the day goes on.
Check in with people
It might seem counterintuitive. If I have so much work to do, shouldn’t I hunker down and activate hermit status to get it done? Yes, there will be a time to mute your notifications and focus. But generally, if you take time to connect with your coworkers each day, even on a small scale, it will likely increase your own personal productivity—not to mention your own level of workplace happiness. Working remotely poses many challenges to the human aspect of work. But if you take a brief moment to join the conversation, send a quick hello, wish that coworker a happy birthday, and actively participate in team meetings, you’ll stay more engaged and less likely to drift off into an unproductive slump.
Change your scenery
Sometimes your home office is the last place you want to be. Changing up your scenery will work wonders to inject new life into your routine. Work from a coffee shop, your backyard, anywhere that shifts your perspective and forces your brain to think differently. Joining the outside world and changing up your surroundings will boost creativity and mood so that you feel more driven to find a productive flow and get the job done.
Positive affirmations set your attitude, and a healthy attitude can make all the difference between productivity and failure. Start off the day with a moment of gratitude and a kind word or two for yourself. Take a moment to assess how you’re feeling, and identify how that could influence your work that day. Optimistic thinking can help you find the motivation to start and finish the workday strong. A negative attitude will leave a bad mark, discouraging your skills and ability to complete work. Positivity begets productivity, so find a healthy way to put the pep in your step and stay energized by your responsibilities.
Changing up your approach to productivity may make the difference between a successful workday and one that feels wasted. Working from home has shifted the landscape, but with simple ways to prioritize your time, you can connect better with your team and relieve unexpected stress of remote work.