Working or studying at home is awesome! But most of us are not used to it … I find that when working from home the biggest obstacle to productivity is myself.
Below are some tips that help me overcome the struggle of having too much freedom.
Great Habits to become productive from home.
- Pick a time to wake up and stick with it. This is really important to stabilize my working weeks. By waking up at the same time, I’m conditioning my body to fit my routine.
- Have a and at the beginning of every week schedule all upcoming activities. I use google calendar, it’s compatible with most platforms, and professionals tend to use it. When scheduling, I to distribute my work into time blocks of 50 mins. I chose this number because it’s similar to my classes in university – which already conditioned me to focus for 50 mins at a time. I also like to be specific about the task – just writing “study econ 370” isn’t good enough – instead I write “Study chapter 2 of econ 370”. By doing so, I give myself clear directions of what to do and avoid becoming overwhelmed.
- Keep a report of everything you completed by the end of the week. I do this to track my progress. Unexpectedly, this also serves me as a mental health checkup. There are some days that I feel as if I didn’t accomplish enough, but once I write my weekly report, I find that I generally accomplish more than what was previously thought.
- Communicate & Document! This is so important. As I am studying, I write every question that arises. And if these doubts remain after the end of the study session, I will email my prof/colleagues. For my job this is the same, it’s important to keep all colleagues and teammates in the loop. The more that I communicate, even mundane things the more that I convey to my teammates and supervisors that I’m getting things done and adding value. It also allows me to clarify expectations and avoid miscommunications. Keeping a document logging all tasks of my role is a great way to visualize my accomplishments and to have proof that I am doing my job!
When it comes to remote communication, I find email useful for the questions that require short answers. However, for longer questions, the task of replying thought text may be too burdensome – so I always give the person I’m reaching out to an option to call me.
- Avoid distractions. Now that I don’t have to commute … I have a lot more time to study/work! But I don’t want to waste it, there’s too much free time that I want to spend doing what I want. Below I share a bit of my routine. Embedded in it are some tips that I use to prime my brain to focus – which is the only way I found to effectively minimize distractions.
Remote studying/working routine:
- Shower, get dressed and act as if I’m going to school/work. This is important to get rid of the comfort mindset. When I’m going to class, I’m not wearing pajamas – and just because I can wear pajamas while attending an online class, doesn’t mean that I should. By wearing working clothes, I trick my brain that I’m in working
- Study in a fixed spot. I like to separate ‘fun places’ from ‘work places’. That means that even if I want to take a break to refresh, I will move to a different spot -even if it means just getting up from a desk and moving to the couch. I do this to also reinforce my brain that this environment is for serious work only.
- Take a break. Staying still for too long in small spaces drives me crazy. I like to go for nature walks. It’s a good way to ‘reset’. I also use this time to review and mull over concepts and information I just learned. In this manner I understand the material instead of memorizing it, and then I don’t have to study as much.
- Go back to study/work and repeat.
These are some of the tips that help me improve my productivity at home. If you’re interested in learning how to learn, becoming more productive or just want to find out cool new things to do at home, check out the Chapman Learning Commons blog page!