Remote work took us all off guard the moment the pandemic started and we were left with nothing else but to turn it into the new normal.
Here we are 2 years later, some of us are used to the new reality and working from home, while others are back in the office as before.
In the beginning, there were doubts about keeping the same threshold of performance and productivity. Companies were worried about whether employees would adapt to the new working mode and provide the needed results.
Accordingly, different studies and surveys have been carried out to gauge the effectiveness of remote work. Surprisingly, most of them prove that remote work is as productive as office-based work. Moreover, employees report higher job satisfaction and improved psychological mental health.
The latter is the foundation of high productivity.
The only hard part about remote work is the adaptation phase. Replacing the hustle and bustle of office life with the comfort of your home may sound like a paradise at first. Don’t get me wrong, it can actually be so, but the required discipline, in the beginning, may not.
Some people struggle with resisting the temptation of lying in bed, having extra rest, watching a show, playing with a pet and so on. However, like everything else, this is a matter of time as well. If you think you’re in a similar situation, or simply need an extra boost to level up your productivity, this article is for you.
Let’s get started and see.
Here’s how to stay productive when working remotely:
Set up a routine and stick to it
When working remotely, it is much more important to stick to a routine as distractions are more likely to get to you when not in the office. You most likely already have one, but it’s essential to follow it like a discipline.
When you work in a remote environment, such as home, you do not feel workplace surveillance. That is why you need to be on the lookout for yourself so as not to give in to temptations.
Having a routine allows you to know what your day will look like. That way you know the things you need to accomplish and are more likely to hold yourself accountable for unnecessary actions during working hours. A scheduled routine also allows your mind to feel at ease and not be occupied with remembering the sequence of daily tasks.
Everything is already on paper so your brain won’t have to remember it all.
Create a working environment
By setting up a workspace you draw a clear line between work and personal life, especially if you work from home. Otherwise, it is easy to lose the distinction and mix the two.
In order to do so, you can choose a place ideally away from your bedroom, put a desk, a computer or a laptop, a comfortable chair and everything else you’ll need. The statement about being away from the bedroom is not absolute, as not everyone has an empty space other than their bedroom. Yet, if possible, working outside of your bedroom is much preferable as that is the place that you associate with rest and self-time.
Your work environment should have everything you need at hand. This way you will not have to get distracted every time you need a pen, a sheet of paper, or your headphones. Of course, occasional distractions are ok, but we’ll get to those in the next section.
Get rid of distractions
In order to eliminate distractions, you need to minimize them as much as you can. You may start with categorizing the potential distractions and removing them. These can include putting away your phone, blocking social media or other websites on your computer, telling family members not to call you, not to distract you during work hours, keeping video games and other gadgets at bay and more.
If complete elimination is not doable, try to at least minimize it. For example, if your place is noisy, you have two options – close the door or get noise-canceling headphones.
The situations are going to be different, but your approach should be one- to minimize distractions.
Use time management tools
There are plenty of time management apps that will help you stay on track. These include apps for staying focused, time tracking apps, time and task management apps, productivity apps and more.
Some of them offer fun ways to help you focus and not get distracted, such as growing a tree while working (Forest app). Others track your mouse clicks and keystrokes and show you the results so that you see which periods you can improve on.
Eat a healthy diet
Eating a healthy diet should always be one of your priorities, regardless of your work mode. However, when you work remotely, you should prioritize it, as healthy food is good for your working and concentrating abilities. Plus, it is much easier to watch your diet when not in the office. If you are at home, much better, you can meal prep in advance and dedicate a full hour to enjoying your meal without hurrying to go back to work.
Even when you get hungry in the middle of work, the fridge and healthy products are a few steps away.
A healthy diet will boost your mental and physical abilities in the long run. Your mental health will be thankful and at a lower risk of disruption. Your body as well.
Take regular breaks and get moving
Regular breaks are necessary if your work requires high concentration. There is a technique for concentrated work paired with breaks called Pomodoro. It requires you to do concentrated work for 25 minutes followed by a 5-minute break and repeat. After 3 such cycles, you can take a longer break.
It will be even better if you get up every hour and get moving. If you are at home, it is much easier as you are alone and maybe wearing comfortable clothes and there is no office full of eyes watching you. Do yoga, stretch, maybe jumping jacks, or 5 push-ups. The options are endless, you just need to get moving a little.
If you are not at home, but in a public coworking space and do not want attention to yourself, do some stretching in the bathroom. Or go for a short walk around the area.
Generally speaking, staying productive is dependent on you and your habits. Of course, it is much harder to stay productive when working remotely and surrounded by potential distractions. However, by following the tips in the present article, you will be able to gain that level of discipline much quicker and retain it in the long run.
Start with small steps, stick to them, turn them into habits and watch yourself become much more productive and satisfied with your results.