The joy of six — How you can increase your levels of productivity whilst working from home
Is your workload at an all-time high with seemingly no end in sight? Is that to-do list noted down next to you growing longer by the day? If you find yourself giving an affirming nod to these questions you are not alone, and help could be at hand.
Many homeworkers, be they self-employed/freelance or using their house for occupational purposes out of recent necessity, may find levels of productivity take a nosedive when conducting activities in the most familiar of surroundings.
What follows are six techniques I have adopted that have helped ensure productivity remains aligned with my business goals of meeting deadlines and providing a high-quality service…they may also work for you!
Planning for the week ahead
Ever found yourself thinking of the next day on what is supposed to be a relaxed Sunday afternoon? This affliction is commonplace. Allowing yourself just 30 minutes at the end of your working week to lay foundations for the next could be the tonic to enable you to focus on that all-important weekend family time, safe in the knowledge Monday can wait its turn!
Granted, circumstances may dictate that Saturday and/or Sunday working is necessary, though you can be at one with this, knowing those notes you have jotted down the previous Friday will be of great help come Monday morning.
Turning off notifications
The number of apps on our phones is tantamount to the wealth of levers, buttons and lights in the cockpit of a commercial aircraft. Much like the pilot in charge of their area, you are in control of yours.
If you operate on a desktop or laptop and therefore do not need to be in constant contact with who’s doing what and where, how about silencing notifications on your WhatsApp groups or Facebook account? The messages will still be there for you to view come the end of your working day.
Better still, give yourself a clean break from your phone and leave it in another room. You can always keep the ringtone audible should you be expecting a business call.
Do not disturb
Housemates, family members and pets may all provide good company, but when you have deadlines to meet or online calls to make then they can be a distraction.
It may be advantageous to inform those who share your living space of your need for ‘quiet time’, notifying them of pre-arranged meetings. A polite ‘please do not disturb’ sign on your office door is another option.
What about pets, I hear you ask! Well, anthropomorphise as you may, there’s a strong chance the instinctive retrieval of that ball or squeaky toy will gazump your requirements for focus. If your agenda comprises meetings or a period of concentration, then exploration of your workspace for pet toys in advance may prove beneficial.
Eliminating outside distractions
Ensuring a fine blend between natural daylight, exercise and fulfilling work duties makes for a balanced approach to working life. There will be times though when cut-off points for document submission, or a requirement for you to feed back to your colleagues or superiors, will need to take priority.
Lowering your office blind or drawing together those curtains, all the while allowing a glint of natural light into the room, are tried and tested measures to channel complete emphasis on the task at hand and eliminate the passing visuals of cars, bin trucks and home deliveries.
Listening to music
Subjective as this may be, listening to music can prove beneficial for efficiency.
When noise in your environment is affecting concentration, paradoxically adding further sound can increase output.
Take for example the practice of book editing. Some of my best work has been completed to the background delight of Mozart. Classical music aficionado I am not, but the next time you find yourself struggling to concentrate, give Mozart’s Music for Brain Power (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7JmprpRIsEY) the opportunity to offer a helping hand. Such mindful music without words can really engage the senses.
Having a reward in mind
Many facets of your work will compete for your attention throughout the day. Sometimes the best laid plans may well never materialise due to competing priorities. Whatever your scenario, being conscious of a treat at the end of your working day can invigorate that continued desire to achieve.
Be it a walk, run or cycle after hours, your favourite dinner or chocolate bar, or seeing friends and family, having an enticing prospect awaiting your finish can prove alluring.