As most of us have adjusted to the new normal of remote work, being productive seems like an impossible challenge at times with all of the distractions that come from home life. Thankfully for most, the kids have gone back to school, but that doesn’t take away from the cooking, cleaning and home affairs that are often staring you in the face daily as you work through your work to-do list.
It’s natural to still be adjusting nearly two years later. A number of remote-work arrangements were implemented suddenly, leaving employees and managers alike to navigate a new work reality alongside personal anxieties and concerns about the public health crisis. And with so many companies planning a completely remote work structure moving forward, there’s still the added feelings of being distracted, isolated, unmotivated and even stressed, while still trying to stay productive at home.
Looking to supercharge your productivity? Easier said than done, right? Here are a few tips to help you maximize your productivity while at home.
Plan your day ahead.
Because of all the competing demands trying to navigate home, social and work life, it’s imperative to spend time prioritizing what needs to get done. According to Attentiv, the average employee spends 13 hours per week on emails alone. If email is the first thing you do every day, it’s going to suck up all of your time — time you’re better off using elsewhere. What helps me, is setting my intention on Sunday nights, so I know everything that I need to accomplish for the week. It’s as simple as taking pen to paper, and once a task is completed, crossing it off and moving to the next one.
Meal prepping can save you a lot of time and hassle in your week, plus it helps to boost productivity levels. Not to mention, a well-thought-out meal plan can help you improve your diet quality or reach a specific health goal while saving you time and money along the way. But if you’re like me, actually finding the time to meal prep with a demanding work and social schedule often doesn’t allow me to do so. That’s why meal prep and pre-packaged meal companies such as Hello Fresh and Daily Harvest have been life savers to stay healthy and save time. You don’t have to overthink, and the food is clean, delicious and convenient.
Set a schedule, and stick to it.
Having clear guidelines for when to work and when to call it a day helps many remote workers maintain work-life balance. The more time that’s spent on formal meetings, the less time there is for employees’ other responsibilities or for more-beneficial informal interactions with managers and colleagues.
Focus on three big tasks a day.
I once took a leadership training that emphasized the importance of tackling little rocks vs. big rocks. The big rocks are the larger tasks that take up the most time, and are critical to your success, while the little rocks are the day to day tasks such as emails, meetings, etc. While both are extremely important, it’s easy to get caught up in the inevitable day-to-day emergencies, but it’s important to remember your larger goals. One of the best ways I do this is by focusing on getting three big tasks done every day. Write these goals at the top of your list and schedule your day around them. This helps me to avoid working on smaller tasks and to focus on more needle-moving work.
Practice self-care.Black women: It’s important to know that living life in this perpetual state of action and achievement isn’t sustainable. This ultimately does more harm than good. Your mental state plays a huge role in how productive you are on a day-to-day basis. No matter how free your schedule is, if you’re feeling overwhelmed or stressed, it’s like still not going to get done — or well, at least. And self-care doesn’t just mean massages and bubble baths. It can be as simple as taking a few minutes to meditate, or ensuring you’re getting enough sleep each night. In fact, one study found that workers who reported insomnia or insufficient sleep spent three times as long on time management throughout the day as workers who reported quality sleep. The sleep-deprived workers also reported difficulties with motivation, focus, memory, and decision-making. That’s why a few key moments carved out for self-care will prove to be majorly beneficial in the long run.