Is working at home for you?
Working remotely is very convenient, it allows you to do your work from home or wherever you might be. Some of us work remotely every day, while others do their work remotely while traveling.
Either way, at times it can be difficult to get work done when you are in an environment that is not necessarily a work atmosphere. In fact, it can be incredibly hard to be productive and fight off distractions when working remotely.
I've been doing remote work for a couple of years now and let me tell you, it is very easy to be distracted in your own home. Especially when your Xbox One is staring you in the face for about half of the day, beckoning you to just binge out.
However, I have found after doing this for awhile, there are certain strategies that can keep you on task and productive while you do your work remotely.
#1 Develop a routine
First things first, starting your day off the right way can set the tone for how the rest of your day will go.
If you just plop down on the couch in the morning and zone out looking at social media, it is very easy to lose track of time and thereby lose more hours that you could be working.
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It is much easier to say "Screw it!" and watch Netflix for the rest of the day when the beginning of your day isn't very productive. Instead of falling into this trap, make sure you have a good morning routine to follow.
For example, getting up, getting in the shower, eating breakfast/ grabbing coffee is a very basic routine that most people follow. However, when you are not pressured by a time-sensitive material or a boss that might yell at you for being late, it becomes harder to maintain this morning routine.
Research shows that our minds are firing on all cylinders from mid-morning to mid-afternoon, so don't waste that time!
#2 Channel Yourself
Willpower can be a tough thing to muster up when you get up in the morning, but it is essential to remain productive throughout the day.
According to researchers, you start off the day with a certain amount of "willpower" and throughout the day that "willpower" slowly dissipates.
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When this happens you become more prone to give into distractions. The best way to avoid a slow deterioration of your willpower is to keep things that might challenge your willpower "out of sight and out of mind".
In other words, the willpower you exert to try and not check fantasy football stats on ESPN.com is much more taxing than you might think. Rather than have this urge/temptation slowly drain your willpower, it is easier to just have ESPN blocked on your work device and avoid the distraction altogether.
I usually have my computer ready to go in the morning, so I don't have to wait for the boot-up and risk possibly distracting myself.
#3 Separate yourself from Distractions
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Distractions, Distractions, Distractions...I cannot say enough about them, as they are the number one cause of decreased productivity when working remotely. If you work from home like me, distractions are abundant and constantly calling for your attention.
The biggest distraction can actually be the room you are working in. If you work in your living room, but you also entertain guests there, your brain will not see it as a place of work. It is best if you designate a room or space in your room as the "office".
Only do work in this place/room and your brain will begin to connect that space to work. If you make sure you are consistent about it, it will become much easier to block out distractions that would've hindered your productivity before.
#4 Use Techniques to Enforce Good Habits
Practice makes perfect and repetition of good habits when working remotely can help maintain a productive work environment.
Creating lists of tasks that you have to complete and prioritizing them is one technique that makes sure you complete the things that you need to by the end of the day.
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Listening to ambient noise (see article: "Background Noise and 5 apps to help you be more productive, concentrate, and sleep better." on the TekBlog.) while you work can increase your productivity as it drowns out distracting noises that you might not even realize affect the way your brain ability to think creatively.
There is an app called StayFocused that blocks your access to selected websites for a set period of time. A useful tool for those of us who struggle to stay off social media while working.
If you're a little more old school about things like me, there is a flash card technique to visualizing the tasks you wish to accomplish in the day. Create a deck of cards that have tasks written on one side, and the category they fall under on the other side.
Every morning when you wake up, go through the flash cards 3 or 4 times and try to memorize the tasks. When you can picture them in your brain, you've successfully ingrained a habit into your mind.
#5 Track Your Progress
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The final thing that you must do when you work remotely is tracked your progress. Don't just keep track of what you have completed, but also how much time it took you to complete a given task and your mood you felt while you were doing it.
When you go back and analyze your detailed progress report, you will be able to figure out what tasks took longer, why they took longer, and how you can improve your efficiency.
Tracking your productivity is key to bettering your remote work because no one is harder on you than yourself. If you can do this religiously, you will not only be able to increase your productivity, but also your overall satisfaction with your work.
Have other methods how you stay productive working at home? Tell us in the comments below!
Original Featured Image Source from "Work" by Seth Werkheiser: https://www.flickr.com/photos/sethw/4969591293
Matt Lettieri - Gamertag: ShockerMPH