Productivity Hacks for the Telecommuter
Many of us transitioned to telecommuters due to the COVID 19 pandemic. For some, the transition was not easy because living spaces were not conducive to being a workplace on such short notice; now, I am sure you have gotten into a system. For a person who is not as organized, that transition could have been a disaster. We have children, spouses, no space, and no plan. I am sure some have gotten into the swing of things while others still may struggle. In one way or another, we were all affected, and the stress levels have increased. Without an organizational plan in place, it only grows worse. Companies did not allow employees to develop a strategy; employees were just thrown into the deep expectation that they swim. There is no plan in place for them. While they were grateful to be home with their families more, there were a set of challenges that came with working and homeschooling. Once everything began to open up a little, some of us opted to remain home with our children rather than send them to school, risking coming in contact with the virus. Below I have listed some tips to help us stay productive during such a shift.
Productivity tips to help stay organized, reduce stress, and maintain while working remotely:
1. Make sure you have everything you need to do your job. If there is anything you are missing that would make it work better for you, contact your employer to ship those supplies to you if you cannot go in to pick them up at this point. Having what you need boosts productivity and helps to maintain focus.
2. Organize a workspace in your home. Working from the kitchen table may be okay for a short period, but eventually, you will have to move into a quiet space where you can focus. To maximize productivity, make sure there are minimum distractions, your area is welcoming, and the lighting is good.
3. Stick to your work schedule as much as possible. While COVID 19 has disrupted our lives, employers are looking for you to work as usual, if not more. Start and end work the same as if you were in the building; take your breaks and clock out for lunch as scheduled. Stick to your norm as much as possible.
4. Make sure you have an understanding of what is expected of you while working remotely. If you have any concerns, reach out to ask questions. Do not assume anything. The goal is to reduce stress, and not understanding does cause some anxiety.
5. Make a plan. I love plans! Lists are like road maps when I am not clear about where I am going. They always keep me focused and on track. Create your organization plan by organizing work documents and office supplies. Use a planner to plan out the work schedule and create a To-Do-List prioritizing task that has deadlines. The act of writing by hand help reduces stress and increases information retention and recall. I know there are apps to keep you on schedule, but writing has its benefits. I have enclosed great tips in my recent eBook Organizationally Healthy The content will not only help with organization at the workplace but in other areas of your life that may be affected.
6. Keep your work-from-home schedule visible. Visibility is a useful productivity hack. Include some affirmations, quotes, motivational reminders, and mantras that will keep your energy levels boosted to perform your best.
7. Remain accessible and responsive. Don’t sleep until 10 am when you were scheduled for 8 am. Managers monitor communicators and track output. You do not want to give your employers the wrong impression when there are significant gaps in your report tracking. Remember to adhere to your everyday work schedule.
8. Stay on task, but make time for self-care
9. Avoid multitasking. Yes, I said it. I know most of us thought this was some superpower, but no! First of all, you are not giving your full attention to one matter, so you can potentially miss something. Secondly, the multiple transitions in your brain by jumping from one thing to another can cause brain damage. According to Dr. Leaf in her book Switch on Your Brain, “every rapid, incomplete, and poor quality shift of thought is like making a milkshake with your brain cells and neurochemicals.” Multitasking creates poor concentration that we allow white coats to diagnose as something else then medicate us.