Companies across the globe are adopting a positive attitude towards the concept of ‘anywhere, anytime’ work, since most are increasingly realizing that ultimately, the only metric that matters is the output…the productivity of the individual. At the same time, there has been a huge rise in the number of people who work for themselves…make way for the ‘The Freelancer’ generation. This bunch stays away from the confines of the typical office and works when they want to and where they want to. However, there is one thing that is common between the two – the productivity metric.
It is quite obvious that in order to reap the advantages that flexibility brings, the freelancers and the self-employed lot have to deliver and deliver big time on the productivity metric. But what happens when that in itself is a problem? Much like the traditional office space, what if you find yourself falling prey to distractions which leads you to the deadline deadlock and suddenly, one fine day you find yourself buried under a mountain of work?
For those who thought that working from home was actually just lounging in front of the television with kids screaming around them and guests trespassing their so called ‘work space’, there is another thought coming your way. Working from home requires a huge amount of discipline. So if distractions and scattered focus are raining on your output, then here are a couple of things you need to look at and reorganize.
Have a dedicated workspace, one that is away from the high traffic areas of the house to ensure you can work in a focused manner minus the average household distractions. Also, ensure that you have a stable internet connection, a dedicated phone line for work and all the other paraphernalia to make your office smart.
Tame the phone
Don’t let the ‘ping’ distract you. Keep your phone on silent, turn off all email and social media notifications and get to work. Keep a dedicated time to check all emails instead of switching back and forth between a task and your inbox.
Multitasking is the number one productivity killer and can waste up to 2.1 hours in a day. Learn to make effective ‘to-do’ lists that help you differentiate between the urgent and the important and then complete the assigned tasks on time.
Schedule smart breaks
Even machines need to take a break and since you are not one, it’s essential that you schedule smart breaks in order to work smart . Try the Pomodoro technique where you work for 25 minutes and then take a 5-minute mini break. After four Pomodoros, reward yourself with a longer, 15-20 minute break. This will ensure that your mind is focused and minimizes distraction time.
Use Tools and Technology
Automate everything that you can, use keyboard shortcuts, try out music apps that can help you cut out noise, download apps that can block certain websites during your work time and improve your typing speed. You’ll be surprised at how much you can accomplish with these simple hacks.
Establish Golden Hours
Schedule your most important tasks during the ‘Golden Hours’ – hours when you are at your productive best. Measure and quantify your work habits to understand and identify your ‘Golden Hours’ and review them regularly to bring your A-Game to work every day.
Don’t underestimate the importance of a healthy diet, good sleep and a fair amount of exercise if you want to be at your productive best. And finally, learn when to switch off. Establish your work hours and then put a blanket ban on everything related to work. Turn off your computer, put your phone away and get to doing things that you enjoy. After all, didn’t you start freelancing to gain freedom for yourself to do things that you wanted?