How to survive the new work-from-home normal: Best tips to stay productive

How to survive the new work from home normal Best tips to stay productive min

As work-from-home becomes the new normal, hundreds of thousands of employees find it difficult to maintain the same levels of productivity and motivation they had in a proper office environment. Here are some tried and tested strategies to regain your lost glory.

The post-COVID world is wildly different than anyone could have ever imagined, especially the business world. More and more employers find it more cost-effective to have people work from their homes. Likewise, most employees prefer working from home because it saves them commute time and fuel. However, a great majority of them have found it hard to keep their morale up since they’ve been so used to the office environment.

If you’re a work-from-home (WFH) employee who is finding it hard to keep up motivation and ignoring homely distractions, it’s very likely your personal and professional lives are mixing in — and that’s never a good thing! In this blog, you’ll learn how to keep your productivity levels sky-high and never lose motivation during work hours.

You might be working in your bedroom or the lounge, the perfect place for a storm of distractions to catch you off-guard and distract you from your work. This is one of the fundamental reasons why so many WFH employees see a decline in their productivity. The key is to isolate yourself from all distractions, and the best way to do that is to have a dedicated workspace where no one is allowed to disturb you during work hours.

That’s not all, though. People are visual creatures — they become what their environment makes them. That’s why you must put up inspirational posters or motivational quotes from your favorite personalities or something that truly inspires and invigorates you. The point of this exercise is to keep you motivated and energized throughout the day while keeping all distractions at bay.

Source: Getty Images

As you already know by now, the core reason behind a lack of productivity is an overlap between the personal and professional. An excellent way to prevent this overlap from happening is to set up specific work hours for yourself. Ask yourself, what hours of the day are you most productive? Some people work well during the day, whereas others become mad geniuses only during nocturnal hours.

Setting aside your work hours draws a distinct boundary between your personal and professional life. During your work hours, you should not tend to any personal stuff just as if you were working in an office environment. That means no checking your phone or browsing social media or going out to buy groceries. If you want to take a break, just step away from your desk and take a quick walk around the block and get back to work. Although this requires a lot of determination, you can set incentives for yourself so you’re on track.

Just like how you take coffee breaks in a conventional office, you need similar breaks during your WFH hours. Without breaks, your mind will easily saturate and you might even burn out. Therefore, make sure you reserve some slots for 5- or 10-minute breaks in your work schedule.

Everyone is wired differently. Maybe you need a 30-minute break instead of a 5-minute stroll or cigarette break. If so, you can take two half-hour breaks instead of six 10-minute breaks or twelve 5-minute breaks. Understand the Math? In each case, you’re getting a total of 1 hour of break time throughout the day. It’s up to you how you want to spend it, but just make sure you don’t exceed that duration or you’ll start slacking off and return to your old ways.

Source: Getty Images

Are your daily goals achievable?

One of the most common hurdles newly transitioned WFH employees face is that they’re tasked with milestones as if they were still working at the office. Employers often fail to consider this new transition, and often deliberately set goals for employees that are unrealistic to achieve immediately.

If you’re tasked with a ginormous pile of work, you should talk to your employer about it. It takes time to adjust to a new environment, and expecting the same productivity levels as before isn’t reasonable by any measure. What you shouldn’t do is get overwhelmed and try to accomplish everything all at once. If the pile of work is doable, divide it into small parts over the next few days — this will not overburden you.

The entire purpose of the above-mentioned strategies is to adopt healthy work practices that prevent you from burning out. Let’s admit it — you’ll never be at your 100% if you’re exhausted, sleep-deprived, and running on caffeine. It takes an overall healthy lifestyle to keep your spark alive.

But what does a “healthy lifestyle” entail? It means hanging out with friends, spending time with family, not being a workaholic, eating a healthy diet, and exercising regularly. Remember, a healthy mind is essential to your productivity. 

You might be tempted to take on more work since you aren’t wasting time commuting to work anymore, but that’s how workaholism traps you. You need to set clear boundaries between work and leisure from the get-go. While some WFH jobs definitely give you the freedom to choose your own work hours, some employees take that as an opportunity to work day and night. That’s a definite no-go! You need to find the right balance that works for you.

Source: Getty Images

Some concluding thoughts

After interviewing dozens of WFH employees, we found that the common causes of a lack of productivity and motivation stem from overlapping personal-professional boundaries and an overall lack of environmental discipline. 

However, if you introduce an office-like environment and discipline, WFH employees (especially those who haven’t adjusted to the digital nomad lifestyle yet) tend to perform significantly better. Of course, that fundamentally requires having a strong will and setting the right incentives to keep yourself on track despite all the distractions thrown at you.


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