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How to boost your productivity when working from home during the COVID-19 era

Sadly, nothing can prepare you for moving from an office to the comfort of your own home. Those who have already been working remotely before the epidemic know just how full of distractions this new “workplace” is. It can often seem like everything is going against you. One of the most significant drawbacks of working from home is, surprisingly, the fact that you do not have to commute to work.

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To say that COVID-19 has taken the world by storm would be a gross understatement. The epidemic has become so significant and ever-present that it has found a way to sneak into our daily lives. Whether you are reading the news, watching TV or talking to your friends (via Skype or Zoom calls), the virus will probably be one of the topics.

Not only that, but COVID-19 has successfully shaken up the office culture in many countries around the world. With many places going out of business, or people forced to work from home, employers are trying to find new ways to manage their offices and make a profit.

Working remotely has become the new norm. However, this comes with a completely separate set of difficulties – the major one being how do you keep your workers (or yourself) productive, and even boost their productivity when working from home?

Remote work offers a world full of distractions

Sadly, nothing can prepare you for moving from an office to the comfort of your own home. Those who have already been working remotely before the epidemic know just how full of distractions this new “workplace” is. It can often seem like everything is going against you.

From the television and streaming services always asking you to watch just a little more of their program, to the phone which can be buzzing with notifications – you might feel like the whole world is out to get you when you sit down to do some work.

The things do not get more comfortable when you take into account friends or neighbors that might be stopping by, and even your family members. Who would have thought that your kids or pets might have been such a distraction and such an opposing factor to your efficiency?

As you might imagine, the focus is quite an important thing to nurture when working. The moment you break it, you will need to spend some time going back into the “right mindset” to continue where you left off. And this is precisely where your productivity and efficiency will suffer.

This is why you should try and remove these distractions as best as you can. If you have an office at home – then you are in luck. Just close the door and ask no one to bother you until you are done. However, many do not have that luxury.

If this is a case, try to find a more remote, quiet area of your home. Set up a smaller desk with your laptop there. Do not use it for anything else – you will want this to be your “working zone” you go to when you need to do the job. Try to keep the area free of any electronics – including your phone – as well as your housemates.

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Get an early start to make you feel like you are going to your office

Believe it or not, that exhausting commute 49% of people would drop in an instant was there for a reason. Not only did you have to take it to get to the office, but it also helped bring your mind up to speed with your office and your work. So, by the time you arrive at the office, you are ready to start the day proactively.

One of the most significant drawbacks of working from home is, surprisingly, the fact that you do not have to commute to work. The upside is that you do not waste your energy on the trip, but the downside is that it can take you longer to get in the right mindset for work.

This is why you should start on your project as soon as you wake up. Start a coffee pot if you need it and sit down to work – even at an earlier time than you would at the office.

Do not worry! You do not need to push yourself hard to finish the task before breakfast. However, it is essential that you do at least some work. This way, you will create a need to complete it throughout a day – even if doing it step by step.

If you do not do this, then you will keep getting distracted. There will always be something else to see or do in the home!

The main goal of this exercise is to associate your office work to what you are doing at home. Usually, the simple thing of walking into your office is what puts your mind into the working gear. So, try to find an even stronger association with your office from your home. Some people love to get dressed, while others put their make-up. Find what gets you in the mindset and start working early, and you will complete your tasks by the end of the day!

Make sure you create a good schedule

Another thing that will help you feel like you are at the office is to create a work schedule. One of the most common reasons why people’s productivity drops is procrastination. When working from home, you do not have static work hours. This is good for many reasons – but it can also prompt you to push off your work until the last possible moment. And this is where the trouble starts.

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Not only will this make your work less fantastic – since you will try to do it in the shortest time possible – but it will also build up quite a lot of stress. Deadlines and a ticking clock have rarely been anyone’s friend, and if you let them sneak up on you, the results can be horrendous!

To not let this happen, you will want to create a strong schedule. A lot of people like to set up their work hours like they were in the office. This means that they will start working when they usually would and keep working for eight hours straight.

This is good for multiple reasons. First, you are already used to working like this, so it should not come as a difficulty to continue doing so. However, even more importantly, it will help you to create a routine.

Routines are fundamental in “new surroundings.” By creating a working routine from home, you will get “an itch” to sit down and work even if you do not feel like it on a particular day. This can quickly help you kill procrastination and will lead to your productivity jumping even higher than it was when you were working in your office!

(Featured image by Christina Morillo via Pexels)

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About the author: Petar Dordevic is currently pursuing a master’s degree in General Mathematics. He has written dozens of posts about project management and workflow optimization and is working as a content. When he is not doing Math or writing about projects, Petar enjoys acting and writing science fiction.