Avoid these 3 productivity pitfalls when working from home
Limit screen time
When you’re stuck at home, it’s so easy to use your computer and phone for both work and play. And it is so easy to take this into extreme without realizing it and end up being in front of a screen all the time.
Even if you aren’t procrastinating and just working, your productivity will surely plummet if you don’t take longer breaks off-screen, move your body and recharge.
Phone App timers
My favorite feature on my phone is setting app timers. It came out last year on Android and I think iPhone has it even before that. You can set a timer for every app and the phone automatically disables the app for that day when your app timer runs out.
Here is how to do it on Android and iOS. I personally set up 10 minutes Instagram, 10 minutes Twitter and 10 minutes Reddit, I don’t have other distracting apps installed.
Laptop time tracking
For everyone working computers (almost everyone), laptops don’t have app timers, but there are ways to track the time.
Macs already have a feature called Screen Time under System preferences.
For Windows and Linux, and Mac as well, you can use Toggle. The main purpose of Toggle is to track how much time you’re working per task or per project but you can also make it record your screen and tell you how much time you have spent on each app.
Of course just tracking your time won’t stop you, but at the end of the day you will have a better idea of how much time you’ve wasted vs how much you were productive in your day. And you’ll have a measurement of your total screen time. You can’t fix what you don’t measure.
Separate work and personal time
While working it is so easy to take longer and longer breaks and work until later in the evening. It’s so easy to stay connected to your email and respond as soon as they come. These could easily turn into 24h work days with some breaks in-between. I don’t think that’s beneficial for you or for you employer.
From your perspective you are at work all day. And if you’re at work all day I can guarantee you aren’t focused all day, so your productivity will surely drop and the number of mistakes you make will increase.
Your employer on one hand could be glad you are quick to respond to every email or message but on the other hand you would take longer time to complete your tasks, because you won’t be as focused.
That could make you burn out or just plain start hating your job.
It’s better to take smaller breaks during work hours and finish your work in reasonable hours, 5-6 pm. I actually like to use the free time I have in the morning ,because there’s no commute, and start work earlier so I can finish earlier and catch some of the daylight in my free time.
I understand not everyone can do this but most of us can start work at 7am and finish at 3pm. That gives us another 8 hours time to rest, play, work on side projects or take up a new hobby (something indoors, of course).
Stay active and healthy
This is the greatest danger when working from home for prolonged periods of time. To stop working out and to start eating like crap. I’ll admit this does happen to me sometimes but thankfully I start feeling sick of my laziness after one or two days and I sort myself out.
There are plenty of home-workout videos on youtube but they aren’t really necessary, just do some pushups or burpees.
Another one of your newfound hobbies can be to learn to cook healthy food, or cook at all. If you can cook, try some new recipes, you can’t go out to eat anyways.
This is a way to learn a new skill, cook something healthy and get off your computer.
Another specific benefit of working from home is you can split up your break time into smaller chunks. Instead of 1 hour, you can take 3×20 minute breaks. Or if it’s 30minutes, you have 3×10 minute breaks.
Use these breaks to take a walk, I think that’s one of the best ways to use up these small pockets of time. And you can do it even if it’s cold or windy or whatever, 10 minutes is nothing.
Let me know in the comments how are you staying active and healthy while working remotely.
Until next time,
Stay healthy, stay productive, stay home.
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