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7 Ways To Supercharge Your Productivity When You Work From Home

7 Ways To Supercharge Your Productivity When You Work From Home
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With technology booming and gas prices rising, companies are allowing employees to work from home more and more. With this added perk, employees are taking on more responsibility to ensure they stay productive when they are out of the office.

Without the ability to walk across the hall and check on you, bosses often have higher expectations and expect tangible results. Therefore, employees working from home can improve productivity in a variety of ways to make sure they can meet this demand. Here are 7 ways to supercharge your productivity when you work from home.

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1. Create a space without distractions.

If you try working from home from your couch with the TV on, you’re going to struggle to stay productive. Ideally, create a home office without distractions of the TV, the kids, the dog, the spouse, and anything else that may be at home at the same time. If you don’t have a dedicated office, try to find a nice, quiet nook to settle down in your home. Small distractions can add up quickly and ruin productivity, so find a space that can keep you focused and ready to be productive.

2. Paint your home office in soothing colors.

Moss green, light orange, and warm grays can make a home office much more productive. And try to use a room with natural light and a warm feeling. The colors of your work environment matter, so do your research and find the mood you want to set to get the most done.

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3. Add Plants & Flowers to your home office.

Featuring plants and flowers in your home office can make a huge difference in your productivity at home. It will make the space feel more comfortable and put you in the right frame of mind to supercharge your productivity.

4. Schedule a time for lunch.

It’s easy to just head to lunch at odd times when working from home. Often, it’s possible to wait way too long to eat and end up eating much later than normal. Scheduling a time for lunch will make sure you’re out when your co-workers are because nothing is worse than getting a call right when you walk out the door. And when you eat at the correct time, you won’t crave food and snack all day, which can limit productivity. Each time you get up and head to the kitchen for a snack, you lose focus.

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5. Give your eyes a rest.

Find a time to get away from the computer, especially if you eat lunch while working. Take a portion of your lunch break and take a stroll around the block or do something around the house. Limit these activities to a certain timeframe, but giving your eyes a break from the computer can help you recharge and stay productive.

6. Create a comprehensive to-do list.

While creating a to-do list is always a great strategy, when working from home it’s even more vital. It’s easy to get distracted and lose focus when you’re in your house. Make a comprehensive to-do list with times you want things done by will ensure you stay productive all day.

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7. Check in with your co-workers & boss proactively.

Nothing can make working from home more unproductive than meddling co-workers. Take a proactive approach and make contact first. It will show that you’re in the groove and there’s nothing distracting you from home. If you send your agenda out in advance, your team will be much more less likely to check-in at an inopportune time and ensure that you can stay productive throughout the entire day.

By utilizing these tips while working from home, you can make your home work office even more productive than going to work!

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Featured photo credit: Jaap Stronks via flickr.com

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Kyle Robbins

Kyle is the founder of Branding Beard. He writes about communication tips on Lifehack.

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Last Updated on July 21, 2021

The Importance of Reminders (And How to Make a Reminder Work)

The Importance of Reminders (And How to Make a Reminder Work)
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No matter how well you set up your todo list and calendar, you aren’t going to get things done unless you have a reliable way of reminding yourself to actually do them.

Anyone who’s spent an hour writing up the perfect grocery list only to realize at the store that they forgot to bring the list understands the importance of reminders.

Reminders of some sort or another are what turn a collection of paper goods or web services into what David Allen calls a “trusted system.”[1]

A lot of people resist getting better organized. No matter what kind of chaotic mess, their lives are on a day-to-day basis because they know themselves well enough to know that there’s after all that work they’ll probably forget to take their lists with them when it matters most.

Fortunately, there are ways to make sure we remember to check our lists — and to remember to do the things we need to do, whether they’re on a list or not.

In most cases, we need a lot of pushing at first, for example by making a reminder, but eventually we build up enough momentum that doing what needs doing becomes a habit — not an exception.

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From Creating Reminders to Building Habits

A habit is any act we engage in automatically without thinking about it.

For example, when you brush your teeth, you don’t have to think about every single step from start to finish; once you stagger up to the sink, habit takes over (and, really, habit got you to the sink in the first place) and you find yourself putting toothpaste on your toothbrush, putting the toothbrush in your mouth (and never your ear!), spitting, rinsing, and so on without any conscious effort at all.

This is a good thing because if you’re anything like me, you’re not even capable of conscious thought when you’re brushing your teeth.

The good news is you already have a whole set of productivity habits you’ve built up over the course of your life. The bad news is, a lot of them aren’t very good habits.

That quick game Frogger to “loosen you up” before you get working, that always ends up being 6 hours of Frogger –– that’s a habit. And as you know, habits like that can be hard to break — which is one of the reasons why habits are so important in the first place.

Once you’ve replaced an unproductive habit with a more productive one, the new habit will be just as hard to break as the old one was. Getting there, though, can be a chore!

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The old saw about anything you do for 21 days becoming a habit has been pretty much discredited, but there is a kernel of truth there — anything you do long enough becomes an ingrained behavior, a habit. Some people pick up habits quickly, others over a longer time span, but eventually, the behaviors become automatic.

Building productive habits, then, is a matter of repeating a desired behavior over a long enough period of time that you start doing it without thinking.

But how do you remember to do that? And what about the things that don’t need to be habits — the one-off events, like taking your paycheck stubs to your mortgage banker or making a particular phone call?

The trick to reminding yourself often enough for something to become a habit, or just that one time that you need to do something, is to interrupt yourself in some way in a way that triggers the desired behavior.

The Wonderful Thing About Triggers — Reminders

A trigger is anything that you put “in your way” to remind you to do something. The best triggers are related in some way to the behavior you want to produce.

For instance, if you want to remember to take something to work that you wouldn’t normally take, you might place it in front of the door so you have to pick it up to get out of your house.

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But anything that catches your attention and reminds you to do something can be a trigger. An alarm clock or kitchen timer is a perfect example — when the bell rings, you know to wake up or take the quiche out of the oven. (Hopefully you remember which trigger goes with which behavior!)

If you want to instill a habit, the thing to do is to place a trigger in your path to remind you to do whatever it is you’re trying to make into a habit — and keep it there until you realize that you’ve already done the thing it’s supposed to remind you of.

For instance, a post-it saying “count your calories” placed on the refrigerator door (or maybe on your favorite sugary snack itself)  can help you remember that you’re supposed to be cutting back — until one day you realize that you don’t need to be reminded anymore.

These triggers all require a lot of forethought, though — you have to remember that you need to remember something in the first place.

For a lot of tasks, the best reminder is one that’s completely automated — you set it up and then forget about it, trusting the trigger to pop up when you need it.

How to Make a Reminder Works for You

Computers and ubiquity of mobile Internet-connected devices make it possible to set up automatic triggers for just about anything.

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Desktop software like Outlook will pop up reminders on your desktop screen, and most online services go an extra step and send reminders via email or SMS text message — just the thing to keep you on track. Sandy, for example, just does automatic reminders.

Automated reminders can help you build habits — but it can also help you remember things that are too important to be trusted even to habit. Diabetics who need to take their insulin, HIV patients whose medication must be taken at an exact time in a precise order, phone calls that have to be made exactly on time, and other crucial events require triggers even when the habit is already in place.

My advice is to set reminders for just about everything — have them sent to your mobile phone in some way (either through a built-in calendar or an online service that sends updates) so you never have to think about it — and never have to worry about forgetting.

Your weekly review is a good time to enter new reminders for the coming weeks or months. I simply don’t want to think about what I’m supposed to be doing; I want to be reminded so I can think just about actually doing it.

I tend to use my calendar for reminders, mostly, though I do like Sandy quite a bit.

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Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

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Reference

[1] Getting Things Done: Trusted System

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