Saved time travelling to and from work, more flexible schedules, peace and quiet instead of distracting open-space office…
it seems that work from home that came along with quarantine had to become a dream come true for everyone who wishes to work more productively and have more time for themselves.
“I will wake up at 8 a.m., part of the lunch break will be devoted to exercise, and at 5 p.m. I will have finished all my work tasks and will be able to quietly read a book,” I told myself once the lockdown began. However, in the first week, I broke all the promises I made to myself: I rolled out of bed 5 minutes before the morning meeting, I usually spent the lunch break watching a TV show and finished work at 8 p.m. or even on weekends – what difference does it make, when you work, if you are at home the entire time.
I believe that I am not the only one who struggled with working from home. After all, productivity is determined not only by concentration but also by the ability to plan your tasks thoroughly, accountability to your colleagues, and even the limits of work and leisure, which are not so easy to define these days. Therefore, while the eighth week of quarantine is taking place, I am sharing the lessons I’ve learned and some tips, which, if not going to make you supermen, will definitely help you to work at least a little bit more productively.
Live meetings have been replaced by video calls, many deadlines have been postponed and you don’t even have to get out of your bed in order to appear in your home office. Convenient? Perhaps yes, but all these things surely do not boost your productivity.
One of the most common things that kill productivity is low involvement. So if you notice that you started doing your routine tasks a lot slower, and you often postpone boring tasks to the next week, the solution is simple – get more involved and take on more responsibilities.
Have a clear deadline for each task (even if it doesn’t matter when it will be completed) and talk to your colleagues about the progress of your project. Name what you expect from yourself – if you wish to learn something new, perhaps now it is the right time to take on more responsibilities? And turn on your cameras during video calls. I promise you, you’ll be less tempted to scroll through your Instagram.
A more flexible schedule sounds great until it becomes the constant cause for work in the evenings and on weekends. Although the temptation to take a longer lunch break or do some tasks in advance, even on weekends, is quite high, the blurred boundaries between work and leisure time usually lead to fatigue and burnout.
Set clear business hours and plan, which tasks you will do at that time. Don’t watch TV while you’re working and do not start cleaning your house (even for a few minutes, as that can extend to a few hours and a closet ready for the summer season).
Of course, the breaks are important, but during them try to do the same things you would do in the office: make a cup of coffee, grab a snack or go for a walk.
The lockdown is certainly not a good reason to spend less time for yourself. While each of us wants to be more productive and a better employee, learning to disconnect from work once the evening comes is a must. Create your own evening rituals which would mark the end of a workday: it can be a dinner, a call to your mom, or even an online yoga class. If you have plans for the evening, you are much more likely to turn off your computer on time, rest, and be even more productive the next day.