While we wait for the COVID-19 quarantine to lift, let’s focus on one thing that we can do to support our front-liners: stay safe at home. Being in a business process outsourcing services industry, how could you maximize productivity at home? Here are four tips to help you.
Tip #1. Set aside a workspace.
Create a space for you to be productive during work from home. Try as much as possible to reproduce your office setup.
- Remove distractions from the room. If you can’t do this, place them in hidden areas where it takes an extra, conscious effort to reach them. Apart from that, keep non-work-related messages on silent or mute.
- Find a private area where you can work. If this is not possible, and you have your family around you, let them know you are working and put on noise-canceling headphones so they know you shouldn’t be distracted.
- Place work items in view. Strategically put them in easy to reach areas.
- Make sure you have your necessities within reach. Keep a sufficient amount of drinking water to keep yourself hydrated. Place it somewhere where you get to stand and stretch a bit.
- Separate your workspace from your living space. If you can’t find a separate room, just associating a certain chair or space on the kitchen table for work and the couch for relaxation is enough.
- Never work on your bed. It could only make you feel sleepy or keep you awake at the wrong time.
- Leave the space when you have completed your work for the day. Avoid burning out by not mixing office time with personal time. Just as you turn off all personal distractions during work hours, turn off all work distractions after your shift.
Tip #2. Make your workspace your own.
Now that you’ve set up your work from home space, go the extra mile of placing things that would motivate you and make you feel good in your space.
- Always prepare a cup of your favorite coffee the first thing you enter your area or your desk.
- Set up a good ambiance with your favorite sounds on your headphones.
- Keep things neat and tidy.
- Use bright white lights instead of dim, warm ones.
- Accessorize your wall or your desktop with positive or motivational quotes.
Tip #3: Plan a routine.
If you find yourself still struggling to stay focused on your work, try doing one day of replicating your workday in the office. Block off the time you spend on the commute, sit yourself down at your desk at the same time you do at the office, and go on and pretend you are at work.
Ask yourself, what would you normally do? Then write down a list of your tasks and do the first thing until completed and do the next one, and so on.
Once you have your regular routine on paper, check the habits you should keep and the ones you should throw out.
- What time would it be most ideal for you to clock in and out? Stick to that schedule, not working overtime or undertime.
- When’s the best time to take breaks? Make sure you keep in sync with your teammates who might need you.
- Which tasks are high-priority but not urgent? Move them to the top of your task list.
- Which tasks are low-priority and time-consuming? Move them to the end of your schedule.
- When are you most unproductive? Move simple, default tasks to that time slot.
- Which habits are unproductive? Take them out from your task list.
Once you’ve designed your workflow, write them down. Often, it is best to start the morning by arranging a list of things to do for the day and checking emails within a time-limit (say, 30 minutes), and listing the most important tasks on top, and the unimportant ones at the bottom. Work on the hard tasks first then move on to the easy ones later.
Tip #4. Track your progress.
- Don’t set targets that are too high. Increase the level of difficulty slowly.
- Set up a tracker on your desktop or on your desk. Monitor your progress, whether it’s just a calendar with a checkmark indicating you’ve done the task consistently, or if it is a daily quota being met or exceeded.
- If you miss a target, make sure to carry over the task the next day. This is so you will still be able to meet your quota, and avoid missing it next time.
- Have a buddy system in place. Partner with a coworker or a senior. Set your commitments and let them in to implement your daily goals, quotas, and consequences, for work from home accountability.
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