The global pandemic has turned our lives upside down. Amidst rising cases and death rates, our day to day routines are different from what we have ever experienced before. Regardless of vulnerability, many of us are reducing our time spent outside. From January 2021, the UK is in a national lockdown and restrictions are gradually increasing across different parts of the United States.
For some of us, heading to work or to a bar with friends isn’t an option right now. But we can’t just drop everything. Whether we’re self-employed or working for a business, we need to continue working at full capacity in order to earn a living.
With the array of distractions around the house, it can be difficult to stay focused. But here as some tech tips to help you remain productive while working from home.
Strategically Manage Your Tech
When Covid-19 broke out, most businesses weren’t prepared to support a team of employees that worked remotely. With over 55% of workers having never worked from home before, some employers have relied on their staff to supply their own equipment. Many Startups, for example, expect them to use their personal mobile phones and laptops.
According to entrepreneur Eilesette Carson, this forces us to work on the same devices that we use for leisure. And this results in unnecessary distractions that hinder our productivity. Because if you’re working on the same device that you browse Facebook or watch Netflix, you’re bound to feel tempted to switch across when you should be focusing.
Have Multiple Devices to Boost Productivity
Because of this, Entrepreneur Andrey Khusid argues that we should have multiple devices for different purposes. He also advises keeping a virtual tech stack of apps we’re allowed to use during work hours to help us stay focused.
When doing so, he divides these apps and allocates them to different devices. This gives him added flexibility. To give an example, for collaborative work, he works on a device on a large screen as this helps him switch between apps quickly and efficiently. By comparison, he only uses his work phone for apps like Slack and Zoom, to help him communicate.
Doing so sets rigid limits of what apps are and are not off-limits during his 9-5. It also helps him to stay focused and in the parameters of his work.
Set Your Downtime and Limits
When you’re working and resting in the same environment, it can be difficult to switch from one to the other at the end of the day. Of course, overworking yourself to burnout is likely to hinder your future work. So, to remain productive in the long run, you need to allow yourself sufficient breaks at the end of the day.
To avoid your work and personal life interfering with each other, you need to set rigid limits to your work and allow for relevant downtime. According to the NHS, you can do so by creating a dedicated workspace at home, such as a room or shared office space where you work. It’s a space for you to close the doors to outside distractions while working, and then close the door to those responsibilities during your downtime.
Doing so is a good way to compartmentalize your tasks: when you’re in your workspace, you should be in full work mode. But when you leave that room you can leave your work tasks behind and forget about them.
Using Technology to Help
Just like how we get distracted while we’re working, when stressed we can often get distracted by work when we should be resting.
If you’re struggling to maintain a rigid work/life balance, then you should utilize app blocking software that can help you along the way. FocusMe, for example, offers a Pomodoro timer and forced breaks that helps you block access to certain apps and software in timed intervals. By doing so, you are able to restrict your social distractions when you should be working, and your work notifications and stresseswhen you should be relaxing.
Take Walking Meetings
In normal circumstances, being in the office doesn’t mean sitting at your desk for eight hours at a time. You’ll have the morning commute, the chatting to colleagues around the water cooler, and the social interaction over lunch. Research indicates that these regular, short sharp breaks and social interactions boost productivity.
Despite the circumstances, you can emulate these social interactions at home. When you have less serious calls with work colleagues and friends, Carson recommends taking your phone on the go and having your meetings while you go on a walk outside. On top of boosting our productivity, these social interactions in a non-work environment could boost your happiness and overall well-being.
Opt for Voice notes
If you’re working from home and encounter a problem, you can’t just walk across the office and ask your colleague for help. Instead, you have to type up a detailed email or slack message, and that can take anywhere between five and ten minutes.
To communicate the same information in a quicker, more efficient way, you could send voice notes to your peers. Instead of wasting time typing out a long email, you can speak for a minute and then return to work. It can also help you reply quickly when a message is urgent.
Better yet, voice notes don’t leave out the non-written communication lost in texts and emails. Tone, emphasis, and emotion can be better conveyed; ensuring your message is received in the way you intended it and reducing the odds of miscommunication.
Whether we were prepared for it or not, a lot of us are being forced to work from home during the global pandemic. In order to continue earning a living, we need to be as productive as possible. To boost your productivity, you should:
- Manage your tech and utilize different devices for different tasks.
- Set your downtimes and limits to avoid burnout.
- Emulate the same breaks you have in a normal office by taking walking meetings and sending voice notes.
Jon Rumens is the Creator of FocusMe, an app that’s dedicated to help you to fight distractions and give you back control of your time and your life. As a former procrastinator, he has made it his mission to make the world a more productive and happy place. Learn more at https://focusme.com
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.