When Covid-19 happened in the early part of 2020, a lot of countries took early measures to slow down the spread of the virus and one of the initials steps was to shift majority of the workforce to work from home.
From what I saw around me, it was a quite an exciting happening among a great deal of office going individuals as they did not need to stress over dressing up or commuting to their workplaces or just having the option to be in their night suit and snacking whenever during their virtual meeting. Yet, all that opportunity accompanied extra responsibility. Some even struggled and are even struggling today to remain productive.
So I decided to write this post based on my learning and experience to help people remain productive, creative, and happy while working remotely.
One of the absolute first things I realised when working at home was to think in terms of task, not time. A traditional workday is ordinarily from 9-5, or 40-hours every week. Regularly, those hours never resound with the result of our work. I have seen individuals (guilty myself), simply sitting at their work area to finish their specified hours before they can punch out because that is what is generally anticipated from most. I started with ditching my “work clock” and began to assess my performance based on what I really do.
To help me center around my task at hand, I chose to draw up a list of tasks of every week including my quarterly objectives for my teams and myself. I generally fill in my tasks almost immediately first thing on a Monday morning, so I have a sight of what I need to zero in on for the week, tomorrow and today. To assist me with dealing with this better, I utilised Trello. I made my own board, which I call “Umair’s Personal Productivity System”.
My Trello Board as of Tuesday morning – 08 June, 2021.
When I have my plan set, I do not make a big deal about the hours. Every day, I essentially center around finishing my tasks and making updates to the remainder of the week as more tasks would come along the way. There will be days when you figure out how to complete your tasks during mid-day, but do not stress over it – you can always begin working on the upcoming tasks or focus on learning. Always remember, when you are working from home, you are accountable for your schedule so realising when to stop is just about as significant as when to begin.
When I had my tasks arranged for the week, I realised I needed to construct a daily routine to which I could adhere to which resonated with my work. In the early days of working from home, I understood that I am responsible for my schedule and if I do not have some sort of organisation, it can lead to stress and distraction.
The primary thing I did was to make a ritual to replace my commute or things that I would do on a typical office going day. I began the day by ensuring I will have the first meal of the day with my better half and end the day with evening strolls where we both would talk about things we learnt or experienced during the day.
Next, I divide my working hours into a rough schedule. I track the time when I am most engaged and productive, and I commit that period to my most pressing issues. You will discover focusing your attention on specific blocks of time keeps you focused and boosts your productivity.
Tip: You can always utilise a “Productivity Planner”. I have used the Productivity Planner from Intelligent Change, and I would recommend you to check it out if that is something that would energise you.
On the off chance that you stroll into a traditional company downtown, it is not difficult to detect the superstar professionals. Normally they have the corner office, a personal secretary and stroll around in costly designer suits. In any case, when you work from home, the entirety of that may look totally change. Your corner office may simply be a corner in the living room and your power suit may simply be a pair of sweatpants.
Working from home does not imply that we need to forfeit our aspirations. We basically ought to accomplish our potential by looking for new challenges.
Now and again when working from home, I tend to forget the world outside my four walls. Thus, to remain progressing nicely, I generally check on my objectives and targets consistently. One approach to narrow down to what you want from life is to envision an ideal working week. I generally ask myself, “if everything is working out in a good way, how would I want to spend my time?” And I generally plan to spend a few hours with my parents and wife after our dinner where we will sit down and talk about anything and everything or simply watch a film in our living room or get together with my buddies for a cup of chai on a Friday evening.
Moreover, be consistently available to new and unexpected opportunities. I generally remind myself not to be adhered to a rigid routine which could restrict my creative mind. In the event that an unconventional idea comes by, try it out and see what happens. As of late, my better half and I began a new endeavour called Two Souls One Chai, which is a social platform for us to share and discuss about good living. I clearly made a promise to myself, as long this effort or whatever else does not cut into my fundamental tasks, it might have payoffs which I cannot even envision.
At this point, you may be contemplating whether working from home is genuinely better compared to our commuting counterparts? There have been studies which show that remote workers perform better compared to their counterparts and they appear to require less days off and put in hours without wearing out.
In view of my learning and experience, I know there are benefits to working remotely. However, it is essential to adjust to this way of life and the last tip I will share in this post is to improve your working experience by establishing a comfortable environment.
For a many individuals, their domestic space may not be well equipped like an office. It might sound somewhat superficial, however having a proper space permits us to keep on track and productive. I have tried working from my couch or my bed and after I while I notice I am beginning to doze off even though I have gotten a decent 7 to 8 hours of rest.
Set aside the effort to put resources into your workspace engaging with personal touches like decorations, your favourite quotes or books. A pleasant view always helps as well. So, if you can, try setting up near a window.
A view of my work desk.
No home office is ideal for everybody. But with experimentation, you will find what turns out best for you.
As I finish up this post, I would ultimately recommend that “go on a little adventure” along the way. Working from home does not need to be mundane. Shake up your schedule by adding a portion of excitement. It may very well be as straightforward as trying out a new recipe once a week or going for a walk in a new part of your neighbourhood. My wife and I have made a ritual to make something new and fun for breakfast each week and have it with my parents. All of this will help keep life fun!
Thanks for reading,