Resilience Series – So, How Do I Increase Productivity While Working From Home?

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By: Jennifer McKune

It might seem like a while ago that we discussed how to adjust to working at home, it was slightly over two months, the time has flown by!  Crazy right!?! I believe we have all adjusted, for the most part, to working at home, probably just in time for us to come back to the office.  But if that isn’t the case and you are still working from home, let’s discuss tips on how to increase your productivity. 

  • Mindful about communication avenues.
    • Always be mindful of how you are communicating things whether it’s an update or asking a question, you need to know what kind of communications are effective to make yourself the most productive.  While instant messaging or emailing may be appropriate and effective with some people or in some situations, other times they can make things less productive. Think about this: instant messaging or emailing might feel quick and easy, but the amount of time it takes to type/craft, make sure tone or language isn’t misunderstood, and wait for a response it would have been easier to pick up the phone to have a quick conversation and get the answer or update you needs faster.  Just be mindful how you communicate when it comes to increasing your productivity.
  • Create structure.
    • Whether or not you like schedule everything out or you like to wing it, creating even a little structure in your schedule can help you increase your productivity.  Through prioritizing and structuring your calendar, accordingly, you can help your brain focus on one thing at a time as much as possible, things will come up.  If, however, you are looking down a long list of To-Do’s and a whole day to complete them, you may find yourself looking at all the squirrels.  By creating structure and assigning times to different tasks can allow your brain to only focus on the task at hand and becoming more productive. 
  • Allow time to re-focus.
    • You may think that ‘Hey, I don’t have a commute anymore and I work more hours a day therefore, I’m already very productive!’  Careful with idea, just because you work longer doesn’t mean you are more productive.  Be sure to take breaks and allow yourself to re-focus.  This is especially true when you are stuck on a problem, walk away, and come back to it when you have a had break from it and can re-focus.  While create your structure from the last bullet, make sure you schedule a break or two!  Giving yourself a break, allows you to come back more refreshed and more productive.
  • Create space.
    • This will look different for everybody but it’s important when it comes to increasing your productivity. Whether you’re an extrovert at home working with kids stuck to your hip or an introvert trying to make a tiny apartment a workable environment with roommates, we all need space to think and focus.  And no matter how much you claim to be a multi-tasker, your brain just isn’t wired that way, so in order for us to increase our productivity we need to get rid of the distractions for at least part of the time and create space to think and focus.  That way you don’t have to re-read this paragraph five times to understand what I’m saying.  Get creative about making the space you need to be distraction free: consider working at non-business hours (early morning or late nights) to ensure you have space to think and focus, consider collaborating with your roommate’s schedule to ensure there is time where nobody is on the phone and both of you have space to think and focus, and like mentioned before with some structure in your calendar you can also create that space you need to think and focus.

I hope you find these tips to be helpful as we can become more productive at home.  What additional tips and tricks have you learned that you would like to share? Add them to the comment section below.

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