Working from home was a taboo subject for a lot of people just a few months ago. But now, six months into 2020 and most of us work remotely.
The COVID-19 pandemic has shaken up the working habits of many people. Some have worked from an office their whole life, and now they have to transition.
It’s a hard situation for them, but it’s better to work from home than to have no work at all.
I’m a copywriter, and I have worked from home for most of my career (more than three years now.)
I have tried different sleeping schedules, morning routines and whatnot, and have found that there are essentially 3 things you need to optimize to be productive working from home.
If you master them, you’ll be able to get more work done every day in the comfort of your home.
Introducing the 3 pillars of effective remote working:
1. Your Workspace
First things, first, you need to have a working space. A place where you’ll get your work done. For me, it’s my desk in my room, but you can also use a table. Make it your own. Clean it up, so it free of any distracting objects that can derail your focus.
Also, you have to teach your brain that when you’re in this space, you’ll get work done. The author Neil Gaiman has a rule that goes “When I’m in this space, I can write or do nothing else.” That will make your life so much easier because your brain will associate this space with being productive, and you won’t have to force yourself each time.
Most of us are stuck with our families during this time (sounds fun, right?), so we need to make sure that they don’t distract us when we work. I stay in a room where pretty much no one comes during the day except my cat, and I don’t get distracted.
If you don’t have that luxury and someone comes to your room often, I’d recommend you leave a note on the door saying something like: “I’m working, please don’t interrupt.” Also, you can talk to them and explain that this is your workspace where you want to be productive and hopefully, they will support you.
Working from home is a team effort, so don’t alienate everyone around you just to be more productive.
2. Your Phone
Our phones can be our best friends or our worst enemies. It’s hard enough not to get distracted at the office, let alone in your home. If you don’t need your phone for your work, keep it away while you’re working.
I have an ultra-minimalistic approach to my phone. I get notifications only from Viber — if someone wants to reach me, and PayPal if someone has paid me. Also, I have deleted any app that doesn’t help me in any way. I don’t have any games, and recently, I deleted Instagram, because it’s too distracting.
I don’t need my phone when I’m working, so typically I’ll leave it in the other room where I can’t get tempted to use it. Every 3–4 hours I’ll check in if someone wants to reach me. I also have a time limit on most apps, so I don’t spend too much time getting distracted.
For a lot of you who keep your phone in your pocket all the time may find this section very disturbing. “How can you keep your phone away, but what if something happens?”
I promise you – the world won’t end (I hope so) because your phone isn’t in your pocket.
3. Your Computer/Laptop
I don’t have that much to say about your computer or laptop, because if you have followed the first two points, this will take care of itself.
I treat my laptop the same way I treat my phone — minimalistic. It has only essential apps — One Note, Word, Chrome, Trello for productivity.
I utilize many Chrome extensions like DF to remove recommended videos on Youtube (you know how distracting these could be) and Stayfocusd for blocking specific sites at a particular time. Both of these extensions are free, so you can try them out and see how they work for you.
Getting your laptop/computer free of any distractions is essential for staying productive while working from home.
To summarize, a minimalistic approach will come a long way to make you more productive at home:
- Find a place where you can work free of any distractions and make it your own.
- Keep your phone in the other room, so it won’t disturb your workday.
- Make your computer or laptop free of any distractions, so when you use it, you’ll get work done.
Maximize these 3 pillars, and you’ll have no problem working from home.
Stay safe, stay healthy and stay productive.