Many of us are Safe at Home or Sheltering in Place lately. In theory, working from home (WFH) sounds great. No dress code, no commute, and sweet pets! So why is it I seem to have less time than before? Is it the:
multiple meals that are prepared each day,
cleaning of a boatload of dishes at least two times a day,
relentless disinfection and cleaning,
piles of laundry,
time spent tackling new technology, or
addition of in-home/near home exercise for each family member?
It's all of that! But I'm staying productive – most days. If you're struggling, here are a few things you can do to maximize your productivity while WFH that have proven successful for me, and others:
Have a clearly defined workspace – home office desk, coffee table, kitchen counter, wherever. Make it your own if possible. Try not to let household papers/items infiltrate the workspace.
Make a To Do List for the next day – the night before. When you plop down in front of your workspace in the morning you will have a clear list of things you need/want to accomplish. Make the list realistic – a manageable number of items, not every item.
Set clear office hours – don’t work 16 hours a day just because you can. And if possible, close the door for an added feeling of separating work from home.
Use time blocking – break up your day into chunks of time to work on tasks. For example, one hour for a meeting, then one hour to respond to emails, followed by an hour for lunch and a walk, then two hours to write a report etc. Make sure to add blocks for stretching, texting a friend, checking Instagram, and more. Use a timer or color-code your planner if needed.
Clear your desk or work surface (see below).
Simple steps to a clutter-free home office
Set a timer for 45 minutes and turn on some music, talk radio, or a favorite podcast.
Sort items into the Big 3 – Keep, Toss and Elsewhere. The Keep pile is for important papers and items you need. The Toss pile can be subdivided into Recycle, Shred and Trash. The Elsewhere pile contains items that should not be on your desk at all – items that belong to others or should be filed or stored in another location.
Clean the desk surface, computer monitor, and keyboard with sanitary wipes and compressed air.
Place items you need regularly (e.g., pens, stapler, notepad) within reach on the desk or in a shallow drawer. Use drawer organizers and containers as needed.
Only items you are currently working on should be on the desk. File reference papers, and pass along papers that should live permanently with others. Consider using a desktop file box to manage incoming mail and papers going forward.
Move on to drawers, shelves, bulletin/white board, and piles on the floor. When the timer buzzes you are done for the day. Schedule another time on your calendar to continue clearing the space if needed.
Want to know more about maximizing your productivity while working from home? Give me a call today at (608) 345-1836 or use the Contact Form.