Staying productive while working remotely can be challenging, especially when deadlines draw closer and tasks pile up. Some individuals turn to productivity apps, while others create a routine to sharpen their focus at work. Here are some tips to overcome challenges that impede you from doing your best at work.
Why is Productivity Important?
When it comes to work-life balance, remote work is making a positive impact. However, the latest research shows fully remote work is associated with about 10% lower productivity than entirely in-person work. Maintaining high productivity — especially when working from home — is challenging, whether you feel lonely, constantly distracted, or find it hard to set boundaries between work and personal time.
However, it’s essential to boost your engagement with your work. Being productive means completing your tasks efficiently and on time, allowing you to manage your personal and professional lives with peace of mind.
10 Tips to Boost Your WFH Productivity
Work efficiently and enjoy more free time while working from home using the following strategies.
1. Manage Your Energy
Human brains and bodies experience ultradian rhythms throughout the day, which refers to the biological cycle that includes everything from blinking, heartbeat, breathing and energy peaks. Rather than forcing yourself to get things done, follow your body’s natural rhythms so you always work when your productivity levels are high to avoid burnout.
To do this, try working at your highest intensity for no more than 90 minutes before taking a 20-minute break. While you can’t realistically do this every day due to the range of your demands, make it a priority to identify your peak performance times.
Use a spreadsheet or journal to record how you feel throughout the day. List your activities and grade your productivity levels on a scale of one to 10 to help you assess patterns in your performance.
2. Isolate Yourself from Distractions
Remember the last time you were laser-focused on completing a project and your phone suddenly lit up, pulling you out of the work? While updates don’t require your attention right away, they can disrupt you when you’re focused on a task.
Two main types of distractions can impede your productivity:
- Environmentally imposed: These refer to things you can’t control easily, like a cousin dropping by your house during working hours.
- Self-imposed: These disruptions are those within your control, such as your phone, which you can turn off while working.
Here are some things you can do to minimize distractions and sharpen your focus:
- Close your email tab.
- Turn on Do Not Disturb mode on your phone.
- Avoid watching TV while working.
- Wear headphones to block out external noise.
- Work in a room away from common home areas, like dining and living rooms.
3. Practice Mindfulness
Mindfulness refers to being conscious of what’s happening in the current moment, freeing your mind from distractions and increasing your happiness. When you experience a boost in mood, your focus increases with it, too. Research shows happy employees are 12% more productive than their unhappy peers.
Increased concentration will allow you to work effectively, sustain attention for longer and can aid you in making better choices because you stay focused on the present. Additionally, mindfulness practices can boost creativity. Enhanced concentration makes it easier for you to relax and forget about distractions, making it easier for Eureka moments to happen.
4. Focus on One Thing at a Time
Mental blocks from shifting between tasks can cost as much as 40% of your productive time. Going from one task to another interrupts you, which will tank your ability to produce quality work.
When you focus all your energy on one thing, you can dedicate your time and resources to mastering it. As a result, you can complete more tasks in less time and deliver top-notch results.
Setting a timer for your task can be a game-changer for your focus. For instance, try taking 60 minutes to focus on a particular task. If your mind wanders, eliminate distractions and slowly return your focus to work.
5. Take a Break
Many people believe busyness equates to productivity. However, busy people are always preoccupied with having a lot on their plate, so they work on multiple tasks simultaneously. Meanwhile, a productive person knows how to prioritize the things necessary to accomplish, resulting in less work each day and a greater sense of accomplishment. They know how to take a break, while busy people consider it a luxury.
If you struggle with taking breaks and finding a way to balance your workload, remember that breaks are essential. You’re a human, not a machine. You need rest to recharge your mind and body, helping your productivity levels stay consistent throughout the day.
6. Practice Healthy Habits
What you put inside your body affects your daily life and productivity. Here are some food options that are beneficial to your concentration:
- Carbohydrates: This macronutrient is your body’s leading source of energy. Food options include brown rice, whole grains and dark chocolate.
- Fruits and vegetables: These selections are crucial to your mind and body. For instance, leafy greens like kale and spinach contain iron that carries oxygen throughout your cells, creating energy and boosting productivity. Berries are rich in antioxidants that help prevent brain damage.
- Seafood: Tuna, salmon and mackerel are rich in omega-3 fatty acids that help cognitive function, boosting your brain throughout the day.
Aside from eating healthy, it’s also essential to exercise daily. It helps improve learning and thinking, which are related to productivity. You don’t have to buy a gym membership or join a spin class — sometimes, a 30-minute walk outside or workout at home before sitting on your desk should be enough.
7. Automate Manual Tasks
If you repeat the same task to meet deadlines daily, use automation tools to save time. For instance, if you’re managing multiple social media accounts, you can use a tool that updates brand pages and schedules posts for you while you’re doing more important projects on the side.
If you’re a freelancer, filling out and tracking invoicing details can be challenging. Automation software for invoices will save you time and lessen the risk of errors.
8. Eat That Frog
This saying means tackling the least pleasant task first thing in the morning. Getting the hardest thing done can increase productivity and complete your daily to-do list faster, but this rule doesn’t automatically mean doing the job that takes most of your time. For instance, say you have work requiring you to sort and transfer files to a separate folder — this might be time-consuming but only requires minimal brainpower.
9. Don’t Waste Time on Emails
While email is a mandatory and effective communication tool, going through everything and typing detailed responses are often a waste of time. This case is especially true if you get distracted by notifications while focused on working.
Block a particular time to reply to emails, eliminate fluff, and keep your replies straight to the point to help you and the recipient save time. Doing so can prevent the stress of having a full inbox, which is tougher to sort through.
10. Attend Meaningful Meetings
According to Microsoft, an average worker spends 57% of their time communicating via meetings, email and chat and 43% at work. While meetings aren’t typically an issue, pointless ones can take away many opportunities for uninterrupted focus work. What makes these conferences worthwhile are the ones where you:
- Learn something crucial for your work
- Report on something actionable
- Participate in decision-making
Other good reasons to attend meetings include building rapport. If you’re unsure how a gathering will go, ask for the goals or suggest some.
Are you ready to work more efficiently? Gear yourself with these actionable strategies to have a productive day at work. Remember to take the process slowly, trying these tips one by one and seeing which works best for you.