How to Increase Your Productivity While Working at Home
March 23, 2015
•On-Line Learning, SBC-Online, General
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If you work from home or take online courses, you know it can be challenging to set up a productive schedule. Piles of laundry in the hallway and snacks in the kitchen can make it easy to become distracted and lose focus. With a bit of effort and awareness, however, you can learn how to increase your productivity while reaping the advantages of working at home.
The first step in planning a productive routine is to consider how much time you need to spend on your work. For the next few days, track the time you spend on work and the time you spend avoiding it. If you tend to waste time on the Internet, consider using a free tool, such as RescueTime Lite, that can track the different ways you use your computer. Based on your findings, estimate how long it should take you to complete your work without distractions. Discerning the time you need to successfully finish your tasks sets a foundation for productivity.
Commit to Balance
Let's say that it takes you four hours a day to get your work done without interruption. Those four hours could become eight once you include procrastination, other tasks, phone calls or family interruptions. However, if you are able to cut down on distractions, you'll end up feeling free and accomplished, knowing that your work can be completed while you still have enough time to focus on personal matters.
One of the best ways to approach procrastination is to give yourself structured breaks. Try setting a timer on your phone for 30 minutes. Work for that allotted time, and then take a five-minute break. No matter how well your work is going, still take that break. Giving yourself breaks is an important way to cultivate balance in your schedule. This practice could even increase your productivity over time.
Set Your Intention
Once you start working — even after a break — take a moment and close your eyes. Take a deep breath and exhale. Repeat this process three to four times, until you feel relaxed. It is easier to face new challenges with a clear mind. Shifting your attention this way helps symbolically leave any distractions behind you and offers a clean slate for you to focus.
Reward Effort, Not Results
Changing the way you think can lead to a more productive approach to work. Instead of rewarding a particular outcome — such as an amazing paper or project or positive feedback from a professor — pat yourself on the back for taking the time to focus. Were you able to follow a routine that gave you the time you needed to work without pushing yourself too hard? A commitment to balance is a success in itself; seeing it in this light can deepen your commitment to your work and cut down on procrastination.
Considering how to increase your productivity can only lead you to a better work-life balance. Working from home, whether for a job or for online courses, has wonderful advantages. If you can set up healthy boundaries that increase your productivity, you are bound to enjoy the benefits of this flexible lifestyle.
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