October 24, 2023
min read

How To Stay Productive While Working From Home

Luis Minvielle

Working remotely, studies showed at first, increased productivity. Even though some outlets (suspiciously associated to corporate interests) have gone back on that claim, a lot of people working from home know that, studies or research aside, it’s still daunting to stay productive all day long while being remote.

Working at home can turn the most innocuous happening into an Enemy of our Focus: An innocent Instagram notification; a pile of laundry beckoning from the corner; everything is an excuse to thwart productivity.

In this blog, we offer tips to combat distractions and stay productive while remote working.

Best Productivity Books -->

The rule of three

Organising your day by the rule of three is a tried-and-tested strategy for maintaining focus. Start by identifying three urgent tasks that require immediate attention; these are your top priorities. Next, pinpoint three tasks that you intend to carry through by the day's end, setting clear goals for your productivity. Finally, consider three items that are more peripheral or less time-sensitive but still contribute to your overall objectives. You can call them your “orbital” tasks. By sticking by this crisp method, you'll streamline your day and stay productive.

Force deadlines on yourself

Some projects don’t require deadlines; many professionals will confirm how those no-deadline commitments will lurk in the basement of your brain for weeks. So, setting hard, yet achievable, deadlines is a must when working from home, even if you haven’t connected with your requestor in a while. By establishing, for and by yourself, specific time frames for completing tasks or projects, you create a sense of responsibility that will help you stay productive while working at home and keep your sanity rolling.

Undergo a digital cleansing

Digital cleansing means carefully choosing what you do online to help you work better and think more clearly. It’s like tidying up your online life. Just like cleaning your room helps you find things easily, digital cleansing helps you focus and feel less overwhelmed when dealing with technology, which is a big part of what remote work is about.

In conversation with Sam Altman from OpenAI, podcast host Joe Rogan recently confessed he now has two phones: one with socials and one without them, and he already sensed a relief, if not a greater focus. Something as straightforward and seemingly cliché as placing your phone out of sight can significantly improve your productivity and, hence, increase your leisure time. Other practical habits are:

  • E-mail management: Implement a clear e-mail filing system, unsubscribe from irrelevant work-related emails, and use filters to prioritise important messages. Hey.com is an excellent reboot of the whole email concept.
  • Calendar organisation: Regularly update and maintain your work calendar, removing or rescheduling meetings and events that no longer serve your goals.
  • Distraction checks: Block distracting websites and apps during work hours. And download an ad blocker, so you can check YouTube tutorials without getting offered a DoorDash delivery.
  • Workspace decluttering: Organise your Downloads folder and empty your bin.
  • Communication boundaries: Set boundaries for work-related communication, like specific hours for responding to emails and messages, to prevent constant interruptions.

Get up from your chair now and then

Even short-lived bursts of concentrated effort can be incredibly productive. If you can attain them, mix them up with breaks — and stand up for once.  You don’t have to scroll through a research paper from an Ivy League university to know that sitting all day long in front of a glimmering screen will leave your back stiff like an oak tree. When it's time to pause, choose activities that allow you to move around and “zone out” on purpose, so your back gets some fresh air. Consider meditation as an excellent option for this type of work break.

Remember to work better, not harder. Your concentration is a scarce resource, and you should administer it. You’re not Bradley Cooper in Limitless, unfortunately.

Make your desk a tidy place

Did you know that most research on the importance of having a tidy desk comes from before the pandemic? Plenty of prestigious outlets discussed how encouraging tidy, neat desks at the office cubicles would improve workplace productivity. Since most people got to work from home and bake bread just by their computers, surprisingly little research explaining how a tidy desk helps to stay productive at home has shown up (Maybe they want you back at the office, don’t they?).

But based on anecdotal evidence, having an orderly workplace and throwing to the bin whatever pens, papers, candy wraps or telephone bills have stacked up and taken over your desk’s real estate is always a good idea. If you don't make your bed when you wake up, at least give your desk a considerate treatment. One additional tip that researchers suggest will work for productivity is taking advantage of sunlight. So if you can move your desk in front of a window, do it. You can use the vertical spaces above your desk and by the window to add handwritten to-do lists and whiteboards.

Call in those babysitters

You noticed how your colleagues who have a newborn at home never ever send emails but still attend every meeting out there, including investor recaps? Having a baby at home without a babysitter means they can not, under any circumstance, touch the keyboard and type in a message; since newborns require attention and to be in their parents’ arms, your colleagues can only hug their creature and chime in during Zoom meetings. If you’re in that kind of situation, the solution is costly, but straightforward: Hiring a babysitter while working from home can save your sanity and, why not, make you productive again.

Dress for success

Tracksuits and jogging apparel became all the rage during the pandemic, and it’s obvious why. But changing out of your jogging apparel while working from home is a small yet impactful habit that might lead to more productive sessions. According to a study published in the Medical Journal of Australia, wearing pyjamas during remote work increases the likelihood of experiencing mental health issues. So, while it might be tempting to stay in those comfy pyjamas all day, changing into proper work attire (or at least, some appropriate shirt) can lead to increased productivity and a more structured workday.

Wearing Pyjamas and Changes in the Mental Health of Survey Participants

Source: mja

Find jobs to stay productive and stay at home

While working at home, you can absolutely match the productivity and focus you'd find in a traditional office. Just set clear boundaries for your time and create a workspace that suits you. You’ll have to learn to deal with distractions, for sure. These are just some tips from people who’ve been doing it for a while, but each person has their secret to it.

If you don’t think working from home is for you, you can check up on co-working spaces in your city or browse through our job boards to find a hybrid or in-person position. We connect the best talent in Europe with the best companies, so there’ll be plenty of options. Good luck!

How To Stay Productive While Working From Home

October 24, 2023
min read

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