These are some interesting times we are all living in. If you are a part of the working class then chances are you too will be seeking to be efficient while functioning remotely.
As the world waits to hear next steps about the Coronavirus health crisis, millions of employees have been offered some flexibility to do their job from home. While this sounds like a total no-brainer you would be surprised how many companies have yet to put this policy in place. Nevertheless if you are like myself who now operates from the comfort of your private residence you will have to keep a laser focus in order to produce the results you normally would if you were at the office.
At home you no longer have to deal with a lot of the formal pressures of the corporate world. Here there is no need to get dressy; your pets won’t judge your mismatched pajamas. Since there is no travel time waking up early is no longer a necessity. Additionally you can set the scene with the television or radio playing or a maddening combination of both. But these new benefits can be a gift and a curse as they can derail even the best of us from putting our best foot forward at our living quarters.
I am now about a week into being stationed at the house and admittedly it has been a rather big learning curve for me to excel professionally. While I am still adjusting to the new settings I now know what not do in order to keep high productivity in a low pressure environment. Here are my tips on how to stay productive while working from home.
Stick To Routines
Simply put do not expect the same results if you’re not putting in the same effort; this also includes your day to day habits that you now might be taking for granted. While it is easy to get out of bed right before 9AM and starting your day then you are actually doing yourself more harm by not holding yourself accountable. And considering this is the tone that will be the foundation for your day chances are you won’t rise to the executive occasion. The day also tends to go a lot faster when you’re at home thus kicking things into gear late is just cutting into your power hours.
I have also observed that sticking to my usual schedule keeps me in the hunt mentally. I still aim to eat my breakfast around 7:00 to about 7:30 to fuel my metabolism. Lunch is still around noon and getting enough sleep (I shoot for about 8-9 hours a night) is the most crucial factor as it allows me to have the energy needed to produce the next day.
Set Up Your Set Up
Where you set up is going to be crucial to your output that’s why I strongly advise that you create a work station that you can take seriously. When I have to work from home for normal reasons I typically set up shop on my living room couch which is directly in front of my television. This is a rookie mistake for many reasons. Couches are very comfortable which can easily lead to keeping a passive approach to the day. With that in mind avoid working while laying on your bed at all costs; the odds are not in your favor that your mind will not venture off because coziness usually breeds laziness.
For me I have found that working at an actual table or something similar gives me the proper foundation to create as a substitute cubicle. I pair my laptop with a notepad, mouse and AirPods for any conference call purposes. While the dinner table seems like the obvious choice this can get tricky if you do not live by yourself. Currently I have two other working adults and a seven year-old at my place so it can get distracting with their work duties and watching over my son.
If do not have a private room as your dedicated home office then it is time to get creative. Find a seat and an ironing board. These two items allow me to tuck myself away and work in the bedroom so I have privacy and true focus. I’m sure folding picnic tables will also so work but it just depends on what you have available.
Disconnect A Little
With all the constant, but still very much needed and welcomed, updates it is easy to get sucked into the news and public opinion. That’s why I suggest working with the phone face down or keeping it just far enough away from you so the distractions aren’t so tempting. Social media will suck you in with a touch of a like or click and before you know it you have wasted ten minutes or more. Same with the television; watching all the ongoing reporting can shift your focus rather easily and considering the steady stream of bad news your spirit might take a hit too.
For me playing music or listening to a podcast works just fine for me but I still have to be mindful about focusing on the work in front of me. If I start singing a song and it sparks a memorable moment for me or the performer makes a great pop culture reference my mind might start wondering about it or I will want to google the lyric, etc. Podcasts present a similar obstacle as the platforms that I listen to often discuss books, fitness techniques, works of arts, etc. that usually pique my interests. As I pen this I am listening to some jazz music and the lack of lyrics has allowed me to hit my stride. But if you’re unaffected by any of these mediums then go for it.
Outside of these aforementioned outside factors your output is still dependent on you! I am a firm believer in starting my day with a to do list that identifies what I need to get done but also prioritizes these tasks. Not only are you clearing out your thoughts with a mind dump but you are committing them to action by jotting them down. Data has shown that your chances of putting action towards a task after being written down are higher than those that you keep kicking around in your head.
Furthermore, now that you are working remote you will not be subject to as many interruptions from co-workers. It is harder for them to start small talk and from my experience your peers will only reach out to for critical action items when working remote. This results in more time to gets things done so feel free to add those lingering tasks you have been avoiding (i.e. expense reports) or low hanging fruit that you have yet to get to (online training’s).
Since you are home the temptation to snack and in my case binge on all those tasty foods you hauled on your recent shopping trip will increase. I advise you stay strong my friends as the phrase “you are what you eat” will have a direct impact on your work. Big meals or foods with high sugar content can cause you to have a sugar crash which equals to sleepiness and lack of motivation. Stick to whole foods and if you crave something sweet try to lead with fruit. For me, smoothies work well as I get the sweet and dessert vibes all in one pour. Additionally, if you are going to fit in some dessert I would suggest leaving it for the later part of the day so less is at stake.
Right Fit It
At the end of the day, each of us works differently so you have to find out what works best for you and what to totally avoid. While you might not hit your stride instantly, with time you’ll be able to set yourself up for success in a thoughtful manner. Feed your focus and starve your distractions.
This editorial originally was published on FlawlessCrowns.com (@FlawlessCrowns); a gentleman’s lifestyle destination that covers style, wine and spirits, cigars, travel, motoring, art and more. Words by Mr. Martin Jean Founder, Flawless Crowns @IAmMartinJean