How to maximise productivity when working from home

Forrest Bryant talks productivity the Evernote way.

Go to work’ – symbolically it’s effective 

There are clear perks to working from home, you don’t have to battle the morning commute, queue for your coffee or get dressed into your office wear. But actually getting up at the time you would normally and getting dressed can make a big difference to your mindset. 

Create an office area

There are clear benefits of having a separate office space, you can ‘go to work’ and then close the door on it and go back to your living space. However, for many of us this isn’t possible, especially when we are working from home with short notice. 

If you can’t dedicate a physical space to your office then you can at least set one up mentally. Get some noise cancelling headphones that block out the outside world. Try creating a view that means you’re not distracted by domestic tasks i.e. you can’t see that sink full of dishes. Make sure everyone in the home knows that you’re working and to leave you be. 

You need to make sure you’re communicating with the rest of the team what you’re working on and send regular updates. 

Lastly making sure you have good broadband, secure work spaces and IM with colleagues are all key to being productive at home. Speak to your IT department to ensure you have everything you need to do this. 

Set your pace: sprint or marathon  

What keeps you motivated and going through the day? You need to be honest with yourself and recognise if you’re a sprinter or marathoner. Sprinters work in small intense periods of time, and can get a good chunk of work completed quickly. They need little breaks to catch their breath, such as five minutes every hour. 

Marathoners like to work in longer periods of time. They like to get focused on the task and they work best with long uninterrupted chunks. 

Communication is key. Touch base early and often 

Although it’s frustrating to admit, if you’re not physically visible you run the risk of being perceived as being unavailable. You need to make sure you’re communicating with the rest of the team what you’re working on and send regular updates. 

Scheduling a morning video call is a great way to plan the day and let each other know you’re online and ready to get on with your tasks. It also gives you the opportunity to update on your progress from the previous day. 


Be the boss of you  

Working from home means you need to be strict and dedicated to getting tasks accomplished. One effective way is to start the day with your goals and deliverables. Start by making a plan on what you need to do, how long each task will take and then order in priority. 

Step away from the distractions

It can be tempting to pop a load of washing on, call your mate or scroll through Instagram. But you have to treat the day as you would in the office. Use your breaks or lunch hour to get those tasks done and focus on the tasks required for you to do. 

Many find they’re more productive at home as the office distractions are eliminated so home workers often find they get more done. In which case you can finish on time and not have to stay late. 


About the author

Forrest Bryant is creative director of Evernote.


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