The recent outbreak of the corona virus pandemic has obviously changed the way we work as individuals, teams or organisations and business. It is certainly no news that most people are working from home.
The big question is: How do you stay effective when working from home?
I have put together some tips as they have helped me stay focused this period, enough to complete my book I had started earlier and to create an online course, amongst other things.
I hope you find them useful as you apply them.
- Have A Schedule
A scheduled routine of the things you need to do will certainly be helpful. There is every temptation to wake up later than you usually do because you do not have t commute to work or drop the children off at school if they do not use the school bus service. Avoid every temptation to just laze around the house in the morning in your pajamas or nightie. If you usually have a morning work out or yoga to start your day, or an early morning devotion, still stick with this during this period.
Make every effort to wake up early, take a bath, dress up and follow through with your morning routine. Have a mind reset that you are actually going to work; the only difference is that you are doing it from home. Dressing up brings a serious dimension to the work-at-home thing.
Decide how many hours you are going to work daily, and decide what time your break will be. If your organisation has prepared a digital schedule for the team to guide them, please follow it as this will help curb distractions and help you stay focused. If you have to sign in digitally at work, ensure to do so and sign off at the end of the day.
Have a to-do-list the night before, and star the items which are priority tasks. Make sure you include trivial things such as snack break, lunch break and a nap into your schedule. Well, they may not actually be trivial after all!
When your work day comes to an end, shut down your emails and move away from your computer. This helps to reset your day for play mode.
- Make the Best Use of Technology
Messaging and conferencing platforms such as Slack, Zoom, Microsoft Teams, Skype, Google Hangout, Go-to-meeting and WhatsApp amongst others, will certainly be useful in getting your work done during the day. If there are going to be meetings, please plan them ahead of time, so that each team member comes prepared to make contributions. Ensure there is an agendum.
Videos help to keep connections alive; there’s something about seeing the faces of your team members that brings in the real work environment alive. It’s different from just sending text messages, even though I must confess this is usually expensive in the developing world.
- Balance Between Offline and Online
Whilst you can achieve a lot online, it is also distracting with all the various tools and apps. So, try to balance between working online and offline. It is less distracting to work offline. Move away from online activities for a few hours to get somethings done.
- Avoid Distractions
By now you know what happens when you have your phone that’s connected to the internet very close to you. WhatsApp messages, Facebook messenger, emails, phone calls, telegram ad a barrage of notifications form your numerous apps and tools consume a good part of your day. You won’t miss much if you keep the phone far away from you; probably in the next room. That way, you keep your mind on the task at hand. You’ll be able to accomplish a lot more without your phone by your side.
You may find the Time Doctor app useful in tracking if you are a manager, or if you need to keep track on your activities and what’s taking your time in a day.
- Ensure You Have A Comfortable Work Space
One of the ways to stay effective while working from home, is to have a comfortable work space that is devoid of clutter. It should be comfortable for you and the kind of work you do.
I work from my study because it’s organized and free from the television and other things. It’s just my books on the shelf, with a few files and a comfortable work table and a chair, with good ventilation.
- Adopt A Positive Mindset
Keep telling yourself that you will be productive even while working from home. You, see everything in life is about mindset. Adopt a positive mindset to working from home and set out to achieve all that you are capable of doing.