I have worked remotely my entire life and I still find it challenging at times. Working from home provides a lot of freedom and flexibility, but if you aren't intentional with your work day, you will not be productive in the work from home environment. Remote work really helps me with my work life integration because my home is also my office. Although, to help me be even more productive I have found these three productivity hacks the most useful when working from home.
Create A Daily Schedule
It is one thing to create a schedule in your head, but writing it down is even more helpful. When I end a day I look at the day to come. I used to find looking ahead to be quite stressful, so I started creating a daily schedule. After I finished creating this daily schedule I felt a sigh of relief. Sure, life will throw some curveballs at me the next day, but overall I know what I need to accomplish and when it will get done. I actually have a word document which I have up on one of my three screens at all times, but you can just as easily write out a schedule on a piece of paper. If you have not invested in a dual monitor yet, it will change your life. Please do yourself a favor and pick up one like this. This Acer 23.8in monitor is what I have in my home office and it is the perfect size. You will also want to get an HDMI cable to plug in your laptop.
Create A "Top Six To Do List"
The methodology behind my To Do Lists are over 100 years old! The Ivy Lee Method, or The Top Six To Do List, is very simple: at the end of each day, write down the six most important tasks you need to accomplish for tomorrow. But, don't write more than six. Then you will need to prioritize these tasks based on how important they are. The next part takes a lot of willpower, especially for me, because I love to bounce around. You must start by focusing only on the first task. Once the first task is complete, you can move on to the second. Keep doing this throughout the day and hopefully you can make it through the list in one day. If you do not finish all six tasks, that is totally fine! Just start a new list for the next day and any unfinished tasks will be at the top of the list. We are faced with so many different tasks throughout the day that is hard to stay focused. The Ivy Lee Method will help keep you organized and on track. Sometimes single-tasking is better than multi-tasking - something I still need to improve on in my work life integration practice.
Don't feel guilty about taking breaks throughout the day. Studies show that you are even more productive when you take breaks. Would you rather work 8 hours at 50% or 6 hours at 90%? This helps break up the day and prevent burnout. Trust me, if you get some exercise, you will come back feeling recharged and ready to go! It could be something as simple as a walk around the block and some fresh air, or I decided to buy a Peloton Bike for some easy and quick exercise throughout the day. I also find a quick meditation to help me focus. Even something quick like 5-15 minute meditations help me regain calmness and focus. If you don't start you day with journaling you could alway use this as a good excuse to take a break.
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