In order to be more productive, you need to organise your time, space and resources and manage these effectively.
However, when working from home, this can be difficult. You want to achieve a balance between work and leisure and the varied roles you carry out, but working at home can also offer so many distractions. So it is vital, that you concentrate on planning your time, maintaining your focus on the task and organising your workplace.
In this post, I will collate advice and good practice and present the information to you, so you can become more productive when working from home.
1- Reflect and Evaluate
The first step is to think about your current organisational strengths and weaknesses. What are the reasons and issues that hold you back from being as organised, as you would like to be? Once you have identified the reasons why you are not as currently organised as well as you want to be, then you can start to plan, set precise objectives and address these weaknesses and eradicate the issues. In doing so, you will balance the different elements of your life and determine your day-to-day, hour-to-hour and maybe minute-to-minute priorities. It is important to build a positive belief in your ability to make progress.
2- Effective time management
If you have identified that you do not manage time effectively, then there are some simple steps to organise your time. Spend a day (or week) recording how your time is currently spent. Do the most important jobs or tasks get prioritised first? Which jobs absorb most of your day? Which jobs could be delegated? Once you have identified where you can be more efficient, you can plan to manage your time more efficiently.
You can plan and track your activity over different time frames, selecting tools that work for you. By identifying the most important or valuable tasks, estimating the time taken to complete tasks, you can become focussed on achieving goals in a set period and eradicate procrastination. If deadlines take up too much of your current work time, then adopt an organised approach to meeting deadlines.
3- Organise your workload
It is important to recognise the tasks that place the greatest demands on you. Schedule difficult tasks at times when you are at your most energetic. If you start a job, aim to finish it within that session, wherever possible and make the tasks fit the time slot you have available. Taking a systematic approach to strategic decision-making can help you to focus on the long-term aims and objectives, instead of being caught up in the short-term issues.
4- Managing Information
Dealing effectively with information is a skill that takes practice. Using memory techniques and review will improve your recall. Skills like increasing your reading speed and comprehension will reduce information overload. Find your systematic approach for receiving, processing and dealing with all incoming information. In turn, this will help you to sift the relevant information from the junk. Be clear what information is worth filing or saving and what needs to be put in the trash bin. Develop a simple and logical structure that you routinely follow. This way, you will know where to find the information when you need it. While, technology can help manage, file and store information, it is important to recognise the tasks where technology offers no significant advantage.
5- Managing People
Learning how to lead and manage other people is a skill you develop through life. However, you can achieve greater effectiveness by actively working to avoid distractions and interruptions, ensuring the meetings you attend are as productive as possible. It is vital that you delegate for the right reasons and in the right way. Finally, learn how to say ‘no’ assertively.
6- Organising your space
Working at home often means finding a quiet spot away from the noise and distractions to try and concentrate. It is essential that you find your room, or at the very least, a desk somewhere quiet. Spending time arranging your furniture and equipment to make your workspace as comfortable, safe and productive as possible will save you time in the future and increase productivity. If you need to buy a comfortable chair and desk, then do it. Allowing time to reorganise your desk and storage space, remove stacks of paper around your desk and eliminate clutter in your house will reduce stress and encourage you to be more productive.
By building up these positive work habits, you are also eliminating any negative or ‘bad’ habits you may currently have. Change takes time, but these steps will help you become more and more productive.