Remote work has been a blessing for the global workforce, and there’s no doubt about it. However, it’s not all sunshine and rainbows. According to Glassdoor, 48% of employees reported feeling isolated during the pandemic, with 42% feeling their career has been stalling.
It’s evident that a lack of human contact has a negative effect on overall productivity. So, what’s the solution? Implementing practical techniques to keep yourself going, of course. But if you really want to rev up your output and consistency, you must dig beneath the surface
With that in mind, this article delves into lesser-known techniques such as creating a personalized workspace, setting micro-goals, and leveraging time blocking. By implementing these approaches, you will learn to overcome common challenges and maintain high levels of motivation.
Despite what it seems like, there’s no magic trick to accomplish this. Instead, you’ll have to rely on the following techniques:
Create a Personalized Workspace
Working from your bed or couch might be comfortable, but it will hinder your productivity and cause posture defects. To prevent this, you need to separate leisure from work. If you have a spare room, turn it into a makeshift home office.
If you don’t have an additional room you can convert, you can create a work setup in the living room, bedroom, or attic. Ideally, your workspace should be a separate room or a quiet corner in your home. Once you start the conversion process, focus on these aspects:
Ensure the room has enough natural light. If there isn’t any, warm yellow LED lights are the best lighting to install to boost productivity. The lighting in your workspace considerably impacts your mood and motivation when working. In addition, adequate lighting prevents health problems like headaches, fatigue, and eye strain and creates a positive mood.
When assembling your workspace, it’s important to consider ergonomics, as it affects how long you can remain comfortable and concentrated. This involves setting up your office equipment in a way that minimizes muscle fatigue while working and improves comfort. Create a work setting that reduces or eliminates physical discomfort. In turn, you can increase your mental clarity and complete tasks more efficiently. If you’re on the market for some comfort-oriented items, here’s what you should keep an eye on:
- Ergonomic desk
- Adjustable Chairs with lumbar support
- Lightweight headsets or in-ear headphones
- keyboard trays
- Wristrests / Gel pads
- Adjustable sit/stand workstations
Establish a Schedule
Start your day by creating a schedule that’s optimal for you. This doesn’t mean a 9-5, which is what everyone thinks when they hear the word ‘schedule.’ Sure, a classic 8-hour shift is the easiest to plan around, but part-time employment and side gigs are a different beast altogether.
Uber Eats and DoorDash are perfect examples of this. Despite not being remote per se, they’re still non-traditional jobs and can take lots of strain on your body and mind. Instead of going full-throttle until burnout sets in, think about whether it is really worth it being a self-employed driver before you decide it’s the right path for you. If you’re determined to go down this route, think about your peak productivity periods and try to work during those periods.
Likewise, you must be strict with separating free time and work hours. Working remotely carries the allure of potentially bigger earnings, but don’t get carried away. Rest, spending time with your family and other activities are essential to keep you going and maintain proper mental health.
Set Micro Goals
When working remotely, one of the most powerful and effective ways to improve productivity is by breaking down large tasks into clear micro goals. So don’t buy into those organizational myths, which include the notion that success is only achieved through grandiose goals. That’s just a one-way ticket to Burnoutville.
Instead, think small, or even better — micro. Micro goals are small, specific, actionable steps you can complete quickly. Taking on a large task at once can make you feel overwhelmed and confused, whereas micro goals will keep you going and inject some extra motivation.
While micro goals are useful in situations with little responsibility involved, they truly shine in complex and sensitive fields, such as healthcare. Whether it’s patient support, organizing documentation or maintaining HIPAA compliance, you are always one step away from ruining your reputation.
And HIPAA happens to be another good example of how proper goal-setting can turn things around. Instead of searching aimlessly for answers and putting pressure on other team members, you can split the endeavor into micro goals.
Firstly, you should schedule and conduct HIPAA training, followed by setting up secure communication channels. Only afterward can you deal with things such as limiting exposure to protected health information (PHI) and monitoring.
Think about it. If remote teams in such sensitive industries can function with the help of micro goals, you can too. Treat everything like you’re a doctor safeguarding patients’ information, and you’ll see the results eventually.
Leverage Time Blocking
Learning how to leverage your time is the secret to accomplishing a lot when working remotely. Enter time blocking. The best way to describe it would be as a time management strategy designed to maintain and protect focus. It involves dividing your day into several blocks of time. Each block will be dedicated to executing a specific task or group task. However, it’s also important to properly allocate specific time blocks, which is absolutely possible if you:
- Identify Tasks
Start by brainstorming and listing out the work tasks you need to do for the next day or week. Next, identify the times when you are the most productive and allocate the most important tasks during this time. For mid and low-priority tasks, you can compromise and do them when you’re not at 100%.
- Do Task Batching
Task batching is the act of grouping several similar tasks. It helps in focusing on certain tasks within a time span. For example, you can group filing and routine admin tasks at the end of the week so you can focus on client work. Think about your average workday and try to optimize the most ‘annoying’ tasks by grouping them up.
- Plan Your Time Blocks in Your Calendar
Last but not least, you can use a calendar app to have a clear overview of each time block. That’s why it’s important to assign realistic time frames to batches of similar tasks on your calendar. For instance, you can squeeze all the meetings on Monday, while focusing on more intricate things until the end of the week.
Remote work offers several benefits, including flexibility and autonomy. However, the fact that team members are technically isolated brings forth a unique challenge. A challenge that can greatly affect productivity, drive and focus.
By implementing practical strategies, you can shield yourself from all the noise and increase productivity and motivation as a result. Always set clear goals, prioritize tasks, develop a schedule, and be disciplined. It’s harder than it sounds, but it’s also simple and straightforward, making it the ideal route for any remote worker.
Nahla Davies is a software developer and tech writer. Before devoting her work full time to technical writing, she managed—among other intriguing things—to serve as a lead programmer at an Inc. 5,000 experiential branding organization whose clients include Samsung, Time Warner, Netflix, and Sony
How to Get Sh*t Done will teach you how to zero in on the three areas of your life where you want to excel, and then it will show you how to off-load, outsource, or just stop giving a damn about the rest.