How to be Productive from Home (Live)

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Working from home comes with its own set of distractions. We discuss how to improve productivity as you work remotely. We also discuss motivating factors behind increasing your productivity. #WFH might be here to stay, so we best buckle in and make it the best for our professional producitvity and work-life blend.

Productivity is important. Very important. But maybe not for the reasons you would think.

Sure, when your productivity is high, your employers are happy. 

But for some, that might not be enough. 

Ok, we get it.

Well, you should also be happy, and here's why:

The fact that you're working from home and bringing in a paycheck is glorious and should be celebrated. How much Netflix can you binge-watch or web-surfing can you do? We quickly tire of such distractions...

What makes us feel happy and fulfilled is purpose. Having something to aim to accomplish. 

Productivity provides that gratifying sense of satisfaction. You are doing something. You are accomplishing something. When you're productive and check off your to-do list, you feel like a million bucks. Your self-worth is high, you feel like you've conquered the day, and you can unwind and relax at the end of the day in a guilt-free way. Hello, Netflix and chocolate cake! 

Seriously. You should start to think about productivity as being integral to your mental health and wellness. Because it is. 

So, if you're finding it difficult to motivate yourself to be more productive while working from home, we got your covered.

Here are the two main motivators to why you should seek to improve your productivity:

  1. Gratitude. If you have an employer or are self-employed, be grateful that you have something to do, especially during this economically challenged climate
  2. Satisfaction. When you are productive you feel a deep sense of satisfaction and accomplishment 

So as you can see, increased productivity is good for your employer, but it's even better for you! 

“Productivity is being able to do things that you were never able to do before.” -Franz Kafka

In this livestream, we do a deep dive into more ways of increasing your productivity as you work from home. As more and more of us learn how to work remotely, we’re discovering new ways of optimizing our time, space, and how we approach our work. The most important thing to keep in mind is that when implementing changes is that sometimes all you need is tiny tweaks to your current routine. And as you stick with those changes and make new, small changes, on top of the existing ones, you’ll see the long-lasting effects of those changes.

And if you haven’t already, check out our lesson about successful working from home strategies here.

Alright, onto more strategies:

1) Dress comfortably

There are lots of memes floating around about how you can be working from your bed or in your PJs. Somehow it seems glamourous from afar, but if you’ve ever tried to write an important email in bed or tried to take a zoom call in your jammies then you know that it’s neither comfortable nor professional. To be productive while working form home, you should make it a point of changing out of your pajamas and into something comfortable. Try some yoga pants or sweats paired with a comfy top. And if you need to take a zoom call or skype session then you can change your top into something slightly more office-friendly like a button down or even a blazer. But keep the sweats and comfy slippers because that’s the beauty of virtual calls – we just see your face and shirt! When we’re comfortable, we’re able to relax a bit and it helps our focus to not be in something too tight or constrictive. These days of remote work might even get you to rethink your current work wardrobe and change up your sartorial look ever so slightly. 

2) Plan a treat

And by treat, I mean something that you look comfortable to every day. Let’s say you stumble across a YouTube video released by your favorite YouTuber, instead of watching that during your productive time, save that for the end of the day after you’ve conquered your to-dos. Or maybe, you’re planning a delicious snack or smoothie. That could be something you treat yourself to after you’ve sent out that report you’ve been laboring over or tidied up that resume for the job you’re applying to. Point here is that delay instant-gratification because the reward will taste that much sweeter – literally or figuratively.

3) Pencil in Random Stuff

Lastly, in order to be productive while working from home, it’s important to set realistic expectations about not only what you achieve in a day, but also that there might be household or work related random things that surface, unexpectedly. Not scary things, just last-minute, impromptu ones. The power went out. You rand out of milk and you’re baking a cake. Your boss needs to get a hold of you. A client needs your attention. The list goes on. That is why I’m suggesting you carve out some time every day for the random stuff. You decided how long that should be. Thirty minutes? An hour? Block it out on your google calendar, pencil it in to your date book. And if you don’t end up using it for any random stuff that day, you can treat it as RR time. Dive into that book, watch that YouTube video, sing that song at the top of your lungs, have that dance party in your living room…whatever strikes your fancy.

4) Refrain from Doomscrolling

What is doomscrolling? It’s what all the kids are doing these days. No, seriously. It’s inundating yourself with what you see on social media and in the news, which right now, is trending toward depressing. So think twice when you go on social media to get a dopamine hit, because these days it’s more likely to only be hit with doomsday news. That being said if you need to go on social media or your web-news outlets, keep it to a minimum. Set a timer for the amount of time that seems reasonable to you. Or block it into your Google calendar and stick to your schedule. If you take it out completely (bandaid approach) then you might just find you spend less time ruminating and more time doing. Hence, productivity increases!

5) Be Smart about Media Consumption

Look, we’re all about staying informed, but getting your news from social media might not be the best use of your time. Instead, look for some reputable medical and scientific outlets that are not about click-bait and media hype and get your information from these types of high-quality sources. Be smart about media consumption. 

It’s so easy to veer off track when we’re inundating ourselves with doomsday news…doomscrolling is taxing on our mental faculties as well as our productivity. So if we’re looking to increase our productoivty, we have to decrease the media we consume. And since we’re only consuming a small portion of the media, we best make it good and worth our while…meaning it needs to come from credible science-backed medical research. No click baity, hyperbolic, yellow journalism will do here.

6) Keep a Clean Inbox

Do a digital declutter. Start with your inbox because it scares you in the eye every day, even multiple times a day if you check it often. The best thing to do is to address an email as it comes in. You can do this on the hour or run through your inbox at specific times throughout the day (that you’ve time blocked into your calendar, preferably). Organize emails into specific folders and get them out of your inbox as soon as possible. If you can label them in an action-oriented way, then you’re more likely to act upon them. You could also create labels that are time-oriented (i.e., urgent, today, this week, next week, l8r). You can come up with your own codes for different labels! Have fun with it!

7) Tidy the Mess

It is hard to be productive when you are surrounded by clutter. If your space is messy, prioritize cleaning it up. You do not have to go overboard if you do not have the bandwidth but make your working space as tidy as you can. If you cannot do it in one fell swoop, then tidy your space incrementally over a weekend or a week. But in my experience, with tidying a space it is best to take the band aid approach. Just pull it off in one go, it is less painful. And once you clear the clutter, you will feel a huge weight off your shoulders. And more, importantly, you will see your productivity skyrocket. 

“You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take.” -Wayne Gretzky

Those are a few of the ways you can make your time at home more productive. If you have other strategies that have been working for you, feel free to share those in the comments on our YouTube channel

See you in the next one!

Happy Explearning ⚡