We spend 8-10 hours working, 6-8 hours sleeping, 2-3 hours eating. And bam, the day is over. Where did the rest of our time go? Believe it or not, it’s spent in commute, most of it from home to work and back. And that’s where personal productivity and personal task management takes a hit. Why do you think so many people are opting to work from home, if not fully, at least part of the week?
Increasingly, with people wanting to stay further away from busy areas, or working with companies in different time zones, or even independent professionals, the conventional model of offices and work is rapidly changing. Working from home is a phenomenon that is not only widely acknowledged, but also well-accepted.
For an individual working from home, time saved means more productivity and better focus.
Or does it? With no boss on the same floor and no defined work hours, it is very easy to let discipline slip up and allow efficiency to stumble a bit.
Are there any effective time management techniques that ensure personal productivity doesn’t drop while working from home? Managing time when at home is not as easy and then again, it is not as difficult as many believe.
Here’s a personal productivity system to follow when working from home:
Organise your workplace
A cluttered workplace can sap you of enthusiasm, affect your productivity and also waste a lot of time.Ensure you have a reliable internet connection, along with other support infrastructure like a printer and scanner too. Don’t forget to invest in an ergonomically-designed chair so that all those hours spent working are spent comfortably.
An office environment provides enough incentive to get done with work. At home, there are distractions and the freedom to ‘I’ll just finish this book / television program / chore / telephone call’ is tempting to the most diligent of us.Start early. That’s when your mind is free and the rest of the world hasn’t caught up yet. Better still, make a schedule and stick with it. Reward yourself for completing a task on time. Inform family and friends about your working hours, making sure they know when not to disturb you.
Establish a relationship with the remote team
Don’t limit your interaction with your team to work mails. Have face-to-face video chats, and make daily communication and swapping of schedules a part of your work. This builds a camaraderie that creates positive work environment.
Work effectively in different time zones
Scattered workforce means different time zones. Rather than work all the time which will drain you, work around your hours and leave a little flexibility for others. Plan calls around reasonable time slots. Try working in smaller groups but keep everyone on the project in the loop. Keep all your team members aware of any changes in your schedule.
Manage digital distractions
Nobody can really avoid distractions. Here’s how you can overcome them.Keep a fixed time for reading emails and close your email tab the rest of the time. Listen to music. Not only will it keep noises at bay, it’ll also help you focus. Start on a full stomach to avoid too many trips to the kitchen. Don’t multitask; focus on one thing at a time and move to the next.If you still find managing digital distractions difficult, try a little meditation before you start. Focusing on your breathing will channel your energy and you can start fresh.
Here are a few ways you can learn to keep distractions at bay.
Break bad habits
We all have bad habits that we keep repeating. Recognise yours, write it down and find ways to break it.
Use tools and technology
When in a crunch, turn to technology. There are several work-oriented apps that will block certain sites at a specified time. There are many productivity techniques and support systems online. Find the one that suits you best, and choose wisely.
PS: Sapience Buddy is a time-tracking program that will keep track of your activities and time on the computer – emails, chat, social media, calls, meetings, and core activities. At the end of the month you can go through the work pattern analysis report and know your most productive hours, work patterns and time wasters. It’s a great way to improve productivity and make the most of your work hours.