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Working from home can be both a blessing and a curse, or even both at the same time.
Just like every other form of work, it has its challenges and perks.
Still, it is a fact that more and more people worldwide choose remote or semi-remote work because of its flexibility.
However, right now a lot of people out there can’t choose, and they are forced to work from home as a result of living through a pandemic.
Covid19 or the novel coronavirus made a large number of people that are used to a regular working environment be stuck at home with their families trying to be productive.
Working from home is challenging by itself, but when you take into consideration the added pressure of the world we’re living in right now it can be borderline impossible.
As a person who has a lot of experience in working from home, I decided to write a post on how to reach the highest productivity level you can while avoiding some stressors.
So, in this post, I will share my best tips from working from home, and mention the usual tips that everybody broadcasts but don’t actually put into practice.
What doesn’t work?
Okay, so I am aware that most of these articles usually offer the same tips that are way too general, and to be honest, they make no difference in how productive you are.
Of course, they can help some people, but I find that these general tips that are shared everywhere around the internet just won’t make a huge difference in how successful you are in working from home. These are some of the common tips they talk about:
- Choose a working room: a lot of people will recommend that you have a separate room or place that will be only for working. A lot of people live in small apartments, or just don’t have enough rooms to make one especially for working. Even if they do, what is the difference? I did some of my best work from my kitchen table. In the end, it is totally up to you what place you want to choose, but I just don’t think it is that relevant to being productive.
- Make to-do lists: I have found that even though this can be a good way to be organized, it doesn’t necessarily make you more productive. Have you ever started to make a to-do list and got so lost into it that you spent two hours just like that? At that time, you could have handled some real tasks. If you choose to be organized, I would recommend tools that are much better than to-do lists. After all, it is 2020.
- Wear working clothes: Again, totally unimportant. Whether you feel more comfortable in PJs or a suit it’s not really relevant to your productivity. After all, you’re in your home. You can finally wear whatever you want. Don’t push yourself to be stuck in jeans or pants the whole day. Working at home is a different environment, don’t try to replicate your working atmosphere at home.
- Have sharp working hours: Sometimes I have bursts of productivity at 10 PM. I am using those. Some mornings, I feel “out of it”, and that’s okay. There is no need to have a sharp working time from 9 to 5- that is the point of working from home -the flexibility to work whenever you want. In the end, it’s not about the hours you work. It’s about getting the job done whether that takes you 2 hours or 6 hours, whether you do it all at once or with breaks- it’s not important.
If you think that some of these will work for you, go ahead and implement them into your daily routine.
I just think that there are far more important things that you should focus on if you want to be more productive.
Relevant: Check my tips and guide on productivity here
Productivity is a very fluent thing, it comes and it goes. Different people are inspired by different things and have different concentration spans.
The first thing you need to know in times of a global pandemic is to listen to yourself and not push yourself too much.
1. Create the right mindset
If we leave all that easy “wear a suit at home” mumbo jumbo out of it, this is what it all comes to.
You have to work on your mindset.
The most successful people, scientists, leaders distinguish themselves from the others just by their mindsets.
That prioritizing mindset by which you put your work first, so when you’re finished with it you can enjoy other things.
By putting work first, I don’t mean first thing in the morning, but first on the priority list.
Whatever your process is, whatever your working time, whatever you wear- work first mindset is what holds it all together.
If you are not passionate about your job and if you don’t want to move forward in it for whatever reasons, then productivity might be harder to achieve.
The reasons are different for everybody, somebody is motivated by the money, somebody is motivated by the cause, or by the end products, etc.
Just wake up, repeat your reasons to you, and prioritize your work!
2. Respect your limitations
A lot of this depends on your position in the organization, and how your boss (if you have one) expects you to behave.
There are still a lot of people that expect from their employees to be productive for eight hours per day.
I believe that this is not quite possible. I don’t think that a person can keep being focused and concentrated for periods longer than several hours.
And this is another thing that is very individual. I personally have shorter spans of productivity but they are quite intense.
When I get an idea or inspiration, I can finish a big number of tasks in a few hours.
After that, my concentration is gone and I tend to make mistakes or produce work that is not the best.
Some people can have longer periods of focus, even 6-7 hours. And that is fine too.
The important thing is that you know yourself and how much you can achieve. Don’t try to push yourself too much outside of your productivity zone too much.
The positive thing about this is that employers around the world are starting to realize that the hours are not as important as long as the job is done.
3. Have good communication
Working from home when you have to can be quite a change for some people who are used to working in an office surrounded by their colleagues.
Also, your work might be one where you need constant collaboration with other people from your organization.
For this, you have to make sure that you all have a clear and easy channel of communication that is not taking a lot of time like e-mail for example.
There are a tons of very good tools out there, but I will mention the following as some of the best:
- Slack: is a very popular team communication tool that lets you chat with your colleagues, share files, and many other features. It is very easy to set up and use, and a lot of people can be a part of one team.
- Zoom: if you need to have an online meeting or just talk to several people at once Zoom is the best tool out there at the moment. It is a remote conferencing company suitable for a bigger number of people that want to have an online meeting.
- Fleep: another communication tool that combines messaging with file sharing and tasks.
- Ryver: is a tool that takes all team communication in one place. It has multiple apps and an email all in one app. Suitable for complex teams.
Whatever tool you choose for communication, make sure that you communicate often and be open with each other.
4. Project management tools
Earlier in this post, I said that instead of doing to-do lists, there are much better ways to get organized that will take a lot less time and effort, and provide better insight.
Well, here we are. Project management tools are one of the most important tools for keeping you organized, and productive.
We have all been there: there’s a deadline coming tomorrow and you’re working like crazy today without even stopping to eat.
Like it or not, deadlines motivate a lot! When you know you have no other choice but to finish the work until the given deadline, it’s a different story.
Having a nice project management tool that will display all your tasks, their deadlines, additional details- can be extremely helpful for many people.
Again, it’s individual which type of tool you would prefer. In the end, to-do lists might do the trick for you.
Do whatever works for you.
For those that haven’t been yet in contact with project management tools, these are some of the most helpful ones:
- Trello: is a simple, visual, Kanban-style tool that is web-based and makes task management extremely easy. You create columns with tasks, and drag the task cards around when they are moving forward in the process.
- Asana: is one of the most famous project management tools with many functionalities. You can assign tasks to other members, add followers to projects, have overview of deadlies, etc.
- ProofHub: is a work management tool with plenty of project management functionalities. You can organize files, plan and monitor projects, communicate with team members, etc.
If you want to learn more about the best productivity tools, read my guide here
5. Make your own combination
As I previously mentioned, we are all different people. We are motivated by different things, and have different perspectives.
Don’t expect that some general tips will do wonders on you but work on it!
Try some of them, then try combining a few.
If that doesn’t work, try changing them, mixing them, tailoring them to your specific needs.
At one point, you will find the right “cocktail” of organizational and productivity tips that will make you reach your full potential at your job at home.
Also, what works for you now might not work for you next year or even next month.
We constantly change, learn new things and improve.
So don’t forget from time to time to just ask yourself how are you doing and what else can you try to be the best version of yourself that you can be.
6. Take breaks and reward yourself
Work is important, to some more than to others.
What is more important is for you to be both physically and mentally healthy. In these troubling times, that is surely harder to achieve.
That is why you need to respect your “you time” more than ever.
When you’re on a break, be on a break. Don’t write with colleagues, don’t take work-related calls, don’t panic about tasks that follow.
We have to learn to shift our focus in times where we are overwhelmed by bad news and too much stress.
After you have been productive and done a good job, reward yourself.
Read that book, do that workout, drink that wine. Whatever it is that works for you, do it.
Just don’t forget to take your foot off the gas.
To sum up, there are no universal tips for how to make different people productive.
We all should learn what works the best for us, and start from there.
It doesn’t matter if you are used to working from home, or you are just now forced to because of the current situation, we all can use some help.
In the end, this too shall pass and hopefully we will learn something about ourselves in the meantime.
Was this post helpful? Check out these posts on productivity:
- How To Be Super Productive: Killer Productivity Tips 
- What is market segmentation? A Beginner’s Guide
- How To Do Digital Marketing: A Beginner’s Guide 
Leave a comment below letting me know what other productivity-related posts you would like to read.