With the coronavirus pandemic requiring millions of Americans to work from home, many people are finding themselves thrust into an entirely new work environment — and just as many people are discovering that working from home can often mean sacrificing productivity.
Fortunately, there are ways to improve your productivity while working in a non-traditional setting. Here are five ways to stay motivated and maintain your focus when working in a different environment.
- Set Smaller, Achievable Goals
Making lists can help boost productivity. If you’ve ever woken up and immediately developed a knot in your stomach because you’re overwhelmed with work, the solution might be to break down your daily tasks into a more manageable list.
By listing all the to-do items in a visible format, you can more easily visualize your day. Making a list also gives you the ability to check off tasks as you accomplish them. Even knocking out relatively small tasks can help keep you motivated. As you work your way down the list, you can feel good knowing you’ve made progress and maximized the hours in your workday.
- Work When You’re Most Productive
One of the biggest advantages of remote work is that you can set your own schedule. While some people excel at working early in the morning, others hit their stride in the afternoon. There are also people who prefer to tackle work hard in the evening hours, when there are fewer distractions to tempt them away from getting their work done.
If you’re an early riser, set your work hours for the morning and stick to your schedule as much as possible. If you work better at different times, pick a block of time during the day and make a habit of working during those hours every day.
By setting your work hours at a time that best suits your internal clock, you may very well find that you can accomplish more in a relatively short amount of time.
- Take Breaks
Most people have memories of burning the midnight oil while they wrote a college term paper or studied for a big test.
While this might have worked just fine in college, the majority of adults can’t sustain a grueling work schedule that requires hours and hours in front of a screen.
In fact, research shows that most people get more done when they take frequent breaks throughout their workday. One popular work scheduling method is the Pomodoro Technique, which was developed by Francesco Cirillo in the 1980s.
With the Pomodoro Technique, you work in short bursts that usually last 25 minutes. Strict adherence to the technique means setting a timer and then stopping work when the timer goes off. In between 25-minute sessions, you should take a five-minute break. After four 25-minute rounds, you then take a longer break lasting anywhere between 20 or 30 minutes.
You don’t have to stick to this strict of a schedule to make the Pomodoro Technique work for you. For example, some people like to work for 45 minutes and then take a 15-minute break. The point is to avoid working in long stretches so you avoid feeling burned out.
- Eliminate Distractions
Working from home can be liberating, but it can also come with a host of distractions — especially if you share your work space with pets, children, or even a noisy upstairs neighbor.
For some people, it helps to set up a designated office space. Let kids or housemates know that you’re working and shouldn’t be disturbed. You don’t necessarily need a home office to make this arrangement work, however, you should designate an area of your home as a dedicated workspace.
For example, clear out a corner of your bedroom and set up a desk. If you don’t have the space to make this work, set up your kitchen table as a work station. The point is to create a space that allows you to “go to work” for the day. This division can help you get in the right mindset to be at work even when you’re physically at home.
- Try Coworking
For some people, working from home simply doesn’t work. Plenty of people fare better and improve their productivity when they have the option to work in a real office space without all the distractions at home.
Fortunately, you can still enjoy all the benefits and flexibility of remote work without setting up an in-home office.
This is where coworking comes in. With coworking, you rent a physical office space when you need and only when you need it. You can work whatever schedule best suit your goals and personality, and you get the opportunity to network with other professionals in your industry.
Coworking is also an excellent way to give your business legitimacy. Depending on your industry, some clients may not wish to visit your home to conduct business. Vice versa, you may prefer to meet with clients or customers away from your family’s private space.
With coworking, you get access to critical facilities like conference rooms, copier rooms, and public restrooms. For most people, these amenities simply aren’t available in a home setting.
Ready to Get to Work?
Research shows that the average office worker only does a total of two hours and 53 minutes of work in an eight-hour workday. This leaves five hours of wasted time and lost productivity. By switching to remote work with a coworking space, you can commit yourself to making the most of your time while saving money and enjoying a more flexible lifestyle.