Top Tips on How To Increase Productivity At Home During Isolation
By: Blake and Jen Goehring – PTs and Owners
The last several weeks have turned all of our worlds upside down and have sent us through a roller coaster of emotions. With very little notice, most of us have been forced to drastically change our daily routines. At our most recent virtual meeting with our colleagues, we had multiple people express that they felt like they were working many hours, putting time in, but not feeling productive. Does anyone else relate to this?
We spent some time debriefing and connecting about this “lack of productivity” in our meeting. Being new business owners, entrepreneurs and full-time physiotherapists over the last two years, we have found ourselves in an ongoing routine of bringing much of our work into our home. Together, we have had to learn how to be productive with a make-shift home office, as well as how to define the start and end of work time to transition into normal home life. This has been no easy feat!
Today, we want to share our top tips on how to increase productivity at home, while also not blurring the lines between work and personal life.
#1. Get dressed!
Consider today a work day. What is your normal routine? Get yourself up, showered, teeth brushed, and put your work clothes on. Working from home doesn’t give you free reign to stay in your pajamas all day. Feeling and looking good will make you feel more ready to start your work day!
#2. Set up your work space.
Set up your new office space to make it feel like a work zone. Wherever you choose to do this, make sure it does not have a dual purpose for the duration of your work hours. For example, if you choose to set up at your kitchen table, then your office space during your working hours cannot also be where you and your family eat. Once your workstation is cleaned up, then it can go back to being the family eating area. Consider this no matter where you set up. Your couch – not for relaxation time. Your island – not for prepping and cooking food. Your kid’s bedroom – not for play and nap time. After hours, these areas can go back to their initial function!
#3: Get organized.
Start your work day off by going through your normal routine, like checking emails and messages. Then write everything out that needs to be accomplished today on a to-do list.
#4. Set clear, realistic goals.
Try to complete three to five things per day. This means you need to look at your to-do list in the morning and prioritize your tasks.
#5. Avoid distractions.
Working at home means you might have alerts coming from your computer, watch, phone, kids, spouses and potentially even your next door neighbor. Have set times where you check your email – first thing in the morning, just before lunch, and prior to being done with your work day. If a task comes up from an email, simply put it on the to-do list vs. answering it immediately. The same principle applies to checking your personal phone – have set intervals where you look at it. If it’s a personal message, respond during your allocated break. If it’s work related, put the task item on the to-do list and circle back to it. The formula below is not backed by science, but makes a lot of sense to us!
Checking your phone repeatedly = instant gratification = reduced productivity
#6. Take your normal breaks.
Breaks are essential during your work day, as it gives you a chance to relax, refocus and re-energize. Take your allocated coffee and lunch breaks. Ensure you follow the same time limit (15-60 minutes) and get back to your work afterwards. Our suggestion would be to include activity or movement in every break you take in order to stimulate your body!
#7. Be flexible.
We know many of you have others invading your work environment right now – school aged kids, little kids, pets, etc. Your work hours might shift during this crisis and that’s OK! If you feel that these distractions are becoming overwhelming and impairing your ability to be productive, consider setting boundaries with everyone.
#8. Clean up your workstation at the end of your work day (especially if it is a “make-shift” office).
Put everything away – your computer, papers, pens, mugs… If it is out of sight, it is out of mind. Your work day is finished and now it is time for you or family time! Plus, tomorrow you might want to set up your workstation elsewhere for a change of scenery.
These tips are simply suggestions and strategies you might want to implement, as they have worked for us! We know that the weeks behind us and the weeks that lie ahead are unusual. These are exceptional circumstances; new and unknown. It is OK that you might feel a bit lost, slightly less productive, and potentially exhausted. We are all there with you!