The State of Remote Work 2019 says it: remote work isn't the future of work - it's the present.
From flexible hours to a comfortable environment, working from home has its perks.
However, too much flexibility can do more harm than good - it can get tough to focus and be productive while being at home.
Read below our 6 steps for home office productivity.
#1 Map out your office space
Nobody likes sitting up most of the day at an uncomfortable office chair. However, working in bed all day doesn't sound very productive.
When you work from home, you have the luxury of creating your own space. Whether you’re taking a few work-from-home days from your job, or you’re a full-time freelancer, you need to organize your home space accordingly.
Think of what your ideal work environment looks like. Do you prefer a quiet room, where you sit at a desk with a large computer monitor? Or are you actually okay working on your sofa with your laptop? Or maybe you like to alternate between spaces throughout the day?
Personally, I tend to spend 4 to 5 hours working on my desk, 2 to 3 hours on the sofa and 1 to 2 hours on the dining table.
Choose what suits you best and prepare it well. Remove distractions, plan the spaces ahead, get all that you need in advance, and start working.
#2 Stimulate the senses
Stimulating the senses correctly has been proven to improve focus and productivity.
Music with 60-70 beats per minute for example usually helps work longer and improve cognitive abilities. The volume of your music is also important - if it's too loud, you won't hear yourself think, it needs to stay in the background. Also, music with no lyrics is best, which is why ambient and nature sounds are usually popular. We've created music playlists just for this purpose, check them out.
Indoor plants are also great allies. Studies have found that the presence of plants in the workspace boosts one’s ability to maintain attention. So add a little green to your home office.
Introducing sweet fragrance through scented candles can also play a great part in increasing focus. Generate Ideas with Peppermint or Cinnamon, stay awake with Orange or Lemon, focus more using Rosemary, reduce stress using Jasmine.
#3 Design your morning & afternoon routines
Avoid procrastinating by having a structured routine in the morning and another one in the afternoon. Just like getting ready to go to the office, get ready to go 'into work' in the morning and right after lunch in the afternoon but from the comfort of your tome.
A morning routine could simply be:
- Drink tea
- Eat breakfast
- Practice 10 minutes of meditation
And the afternoon routine:
- Drink coffee after lunch
- A walk around the block
- Browse social media for 15 minutes
You’ll feel ready, you’ll get that blood pumping through your veins, and you’ll break the lowkey sad, lonely working at-home vibe!
#4 Focus on task, not time
Do you know why you're usually productive in an office-based? It’s the fact that you're kinda ‘forced’ to be productive.
We, human beings, love to procrastinate. In fact, it’s sort of a natural tendency. Unless I 'have to' be in this office until 6pm or ‘have to’ do task XYZ before leaving, I can delay work indefinitely.
In a home environment, forget the working hours and instead discipline yourself through a task-based schedule: make a list of tasks to usually fill you a full or half-day and don't stop until all tasks are completed - whether that means finishing earlier or later than expected.
It'll be much easier to motivate yourself by just having a to-do list to go through on the day.
#5 Honor the attention span
You’ve probably heard before that our collective attention span is similar to the one from a goldfish. It's actually worse.
In the age of information technology, our attention span has been shrinking down to 8 seconds. This simply means it's hard to work 3 hours non-stop.
In an office environment, you usually have breaks naturally by interacting with other people in the office.
At home, you may be alone, that’s why we recommend you split your day into 60 to 90-minutes chunks, separated by 15-minute breaks. Go for a walk, grab a coffee, whatever seems convenient to you.
You’ll be able to pull off the fuse of your mind during these breaks, and when you come back at it, you’ll tackle things with a crystal clear brain.
#6 Cast yourself away
Tom Hanks did get some work done when he was trapped on this desert island, didn’t he?
An average of 153 minutes is globally spent on social media per day, as of 2019. That's 2 hours and 33 minutes.
Instagram self-control isn’t the easiest skill to harness, and until you get there, you can use technology itself to reduce your screen time. Countless apps have been created to solve this problem since it’s a major cause in productivity decline among people. Mobile apps like OFFTIME, Moment, Cold Turkey as well as browser extensions for your laptop/pc.
On your laptop/PC, close all tabs and apps non-work related before you start your day.
Give yourself back some time by limiting 'entertaining' time until you're done with your work.
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