Distractions happened whether you work in a traditional setting or from home. In the traditional setting, there are many places that distractions can happen such as the lunch or copy room. When working from home you can get sidetracked by domestic tasks such as laundry, taking out the trash, dishes, or family members. These distractions drain your productivity when working from home. You may be thinking that in an office setting you weren’t working every second and there were times that you took a break to talk to your neighbor or took the long way to the mail room to stretch your legs. So, why do you feel less productive at home and how can you overcome that feeling and reality?
1. Make a Plan
At the end of each day or beginning of each morning, you should write down a punch list of things that you need to accomplish for the day. Having a plan or even an outline of what you need to do for the day will help you stay on task and keep you organized. Keeping both an electronic and desk calendar will help eliminate missed due dates while making sure you still arrive on time for your late afternoon meeting. These things all seem simple but many of us don’t take the time to do them for fear it will waste time when in reality it actually improves your quality of work and time management.
Email is a staple in our daily life. You may come to work and have 75 unread emails and feel the overwhelming burden of having to get through them before you can get your day started. But the reality is that emails are going to come in all day and you could spend your day glued to your keyboard responding to the messages that keep flooding your inbox. Prioritizing your messages will help ease the “need” to answer all of them immediately. Take care of the action items that need immediate attention. Make sure you keep that same rule as new emails come in throughout the day.
At the end of each hour carve out ten to fifteen minutes to go over the non-urgent emails. You’ll find by the end of the day you have responded to most if not all of your emails, reduced or eliminated your unread message count, and managed to get all your other work completed.
3. Social Media
No social media at work. That rule seems like a no-brainer. But as the workforce gets flooded with the younger generation who grew up on social media it is becoming an unheard of concept. The problem is that you get sucked down these rabbit holes when you are on social media regardless of your poison and before you know it you’ve wasted a half hour of precious time. This is where some self-discipline needs to be implemented. Either ban yourself completely from social media until after work or if you absolutely can’t live without checking your Twitter during the day then set aside a five-minute break in the morning and a five-minute break in the afternoon to quickly check what you need and get back to work. Don’t worry, if you don’t check in it in the moment it will still be waiting for you when you have finished work.
4. Work Socialization
People at work become like our family because we spend so much time with them. You may never speak to them outside of the work environment but you spend so much time with them that they may end up knowing more about you than you know about yourself. But the problem is that other people can create distractions from the work that needs to be completed and keep us from being productive. Cutting down on chitchat and sticking to the plan you made at the beginning of your day can really help you stay productive. These rules also apply to people you speak to on the phone and anyone in your home. You must still be courteous but try to keep your call on topic and family members out of the office so that your work day plan isn’t completely derailed.
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