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EVA Blog Article
WORK FROM HOME: Staying Productive
March 16, 2020

Work From Home: Staying Productive by Laura Licursi

The coronavirus has everything turned upside down. Companies are canceling meetings and travel, having employees work from home instead of coming to the office…it’s affecting almost every aspect of our lives and changing the way companies are managing their workforce virtually. 

Working from home has always sounded like a luxury to some, but for others, it can create chaos in their normal routine. Some people don’t like the isolation of working from home; others feel the need to get away in order to get things done.

But, after working from home for the last 23 years, I know a trick or two to help you stay productive and focused. You still need to structure your day as if you were at work in your office, but you won’t have in-office distractions from co-workers, people popping in to say hi or ask a “quick” question, taking a “water cooler” break, or the dreaded office meeting that could have been a phone call.

You may, however, have children at home, maybe your spouse, or even your animals underfoot and sharing your space. Here are a few tips I’ve learned that will help you do more in less time, and maybe even shorten your workday:

  • Schedule your day with buffer time. I schedule my day in half-hour increments and allow myself a 15-minute buffer in between task blocks. This helps me hyper-focus on a set of tasks or projects and reward myself with a break.
  • Have a designated place to work. This is key, because distractions like wanting to do dishes, vacuum, do laundry, etc., can really throw a wrench in your productivity. Give yourself a quiet place to concentrate, and use your buffer time for “housekeeping” (if you’re a freak like me), or getting outside.
  • If you can’t stand the isolation, try setting up some virtual co-working time with other friends, family, or neighbors that may also be working from home.
  • Stay focused on your task at hand. Now that you don’t have in-office distractions, you can get really productive with a few tips:
    • Make DND (Do Not Disturb) your best friend. 
      • Only check your email 3 times a day (morning/lunch/4:00). Unless you’re waiting on a major emergency, these are good check-in times so you can set aside the time to dedicate your focus on responding (30 minutes MAX).
      • Other times, turn on the Do Not Disturb on your email or log off altogether until it’s time to check in. It’s too easy to get sucked in at other times.
      • Put your phone on Do Not Disturb. Again, unless you’re working on something urgent, this is a great habit to get into, especially when you’re trying to focus on a task or project. Give yourself certain check-in times as you did for your email.
      • Set a timer. If you’re taking a “break” or using your buffer time to check social media or look something up online, set a timer for yourself so you don’t fall into that black hole of scrolling or research, and 30 minutes later you’re wondering where the time went. Once the timer goes off…so do you, and back to work.
      • Close ALL browser tabs except what you need for the task or project at hand. It’s too easy to see that “shiny object,” click over, and lose your focus.

It took me years to figure out some tricks to help me become hyper-focused (along with advice from others in this industry), but they really work. You can easily shave off at least 1-2 hours a day if you can limit distractions. This is the difference between being busy vs. productive. And, it takes practice to make this your new “habit”, so you’ll need to make a concentrated effort to stick to it. And, if you’re looking for the most up-to-date remote tools, you can check out Time Doctor’s list here.

Find out how EVA can help you stay productive!

 

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