5 ways to boost productivity working from home
Just like that, the world changed overnight and you are now working from home. Kate Christie shares five time management strategies to power up your productivity while working remotely.
Just like that, the world changed and you are now working from home. Depending on whether you are single, a couple, or a family, working from your home office, the kitchen table, your bedroom or your bed, the rules don’t have to be that different from the norm. So, take a deep breath, embrace the change, and try these 5 time management strategies to power up your productivity while working remotely.
- Create a Master ‘To Do’ List
Your Master ‘To Do’ list should capture every activity you want to complete in the short, medium and long term. It’s a great way of getting everything out of your head, onto paper, and freeing up space in your brain for everything else. From your list, identify the two most important tasks for tomorrow and lock them into your calendar as a deadline (see #2). If you have kids, sit down together to create your own lists. Make sure your kids do their favourite activities (the ones that don’t require you) at the same time as you are working on your top priorities.
- Establish Deadlines
External deadlines – like those imposed by clients – are relatively easy to meet, because there are consequences if you don’t meet them. However, where there are no external deadlines you run the risk of not starting or completing the task. This risk will be higher when you work remotely, because there is less immediate accountability to actually get the work done. Get into the habit of setting a deadline for each key task – this will provide you with the focus and motivation you need.
- Batch your Day
Batching is the process of grouping like tasks together (eg., emails, calls, sales, marketing, invoicing etc) and then blocking out chunks of time in your planner to complete the tasks in one sitting. Batching also forces you to single rather than multitask. Multitasking (juggling multiple tasks at the same time) can decrease your productivity by as much as 40 percent. Less than three percent of the world’s population can actually multitask (they are so rare they are called SuperTaskers). For the rest of us mere mortals, the only solution is to focus on one task at a time – and the perfect way to do this is to batch.
- Sprint vs Marathon
Set your day up as a series of short 35-45 minute sprints, and take a 10-15 minute break between each sprint. Your day is not a marathon. For those of you with kids, batch your sprints into a 35-45 minute period of work and then a 35-45 period of time to (really) be present with your kids. If your kids get used to knowing you are only ever 45 minutes away from spending quality time with them, they are more likely to leave you alone for the 45 minutes you are trying to work.
- Look after yourself
You know the old saying about fitting your own oxygen mask first? It’s true. During isolation you can’t possibly maintain your success in business, as a parent, or as a partner, unless you look after yourself. My fourth book, Me First: The Guilt-free Guide to Prioritising You will show you how to reframe your time, get back 30-plus hours a month, and start prioritising yourself.
For more productivity tips while working from home – and for when we return to business as usual – connect with me on LinkedIn and make sure you tell me you found me through NZBusiness.
Kate Christie is a time management specialist and consultant, best selling author, global speaker and the founder and CEO of Time Stylers. Her fourth book ‘Me First: The Guilt-free Guide to Prioritising You’ is available in all good bookstores. For more information go to www.timestylers.com