Much like the 59 million-strong freelance industry professionals, you’re likely to working from home now. Freelancers recognize the benefits of this setup. Some find themselves more productive because it’s easier to concentrate when they’re at home. However, this isn’t always the case, according to a paper from Cornell University.
It found that some people may have a higher risk of feeling personal and professional isolation when they’re working remotely. This lowers morale, and ultimately, productivity. Another reason you’re not getting the job done is the lack of oversight. It may cause you to spend more time on distractions, like social media and, let’s face it, naps.
It always feels bad to go beyond your normal work schedule and miss your deadlines. If you’re having productivity issues, here are ways to get back in the zone.
Separate Your Spaces
When you’re working remotely, the line between work and home blurs. If you’re working on your bed or next to someone you live with, it can get really tempting to distract yourself from what you’re doing. And because coworkers or managers are out of sight, a nap or quick chat could last minutes to hours longer than it should. That’s crucial time shaved off your actual tasks.
Avoid this problem by assigning a space specifically for work. It should be a comfortable, well-lit place that’s away from distractions. A table by the window is a great space to set up in. If you’re living with someone, ask them to engage with you only when you’re on break and after your shift. You could also wear noise-canceling headphones and pump up some ambient music to keep you in the zone.
Get Your Pomodoro On
If you find that you’re spending too much time on a task and you end your day later than necessary, try out the Pomodoro method. You’ll use any type of timer, a pen, and a paper to help you get your tasks done efficiently.
The original method involves doing the following:
- Select a single task that needs your full, undivided attention.
- Set your timer for 25 minutes and make this promise to yourself: “I will only work on this task and only this task for the whole 25 minutes.”
- Start the timer and work on your chosen task until your device rings.
- After the 25 minutes, put a check on your piece of paper to record your first uninterrupted task.
- Treat yourself to a short break. Check your social media, go for a short walk, or brew and drink a cup of joe.
- Take a longer break for every four alarms.
Repeat this process as much as you can for your future tasks. This way, you can end your shift on-schedule and treat yourself to a good rest or your hobbies afterward.
Track Your Progress
At the end of each day, record the tasks you’ve finished to ensure you’re doing your absolute best or just meeting your sanctioned quotas. It can be done on a spreadsheet with date, task, and status columns. You could also use task management tools, like Trello, where you can assign a card for every task and move them around according to their status.
This audit lets you see how much you can do every day and whether you’re meeting your company’s standards. If you find you can do extra, don’t be afraid to do so. If you see that you’re developing a backlog, try to tighten up your Pomodoro technique to get tasks done faster and catch up.
It’s difficult for some people to draw the line between work and home, leading to productivity issues. If you find yourself underperforming during your remote work period, give these techniques a try. With enough discipline and perseverance, you’ll end your streak of overdue project deliveries and late-night log-outs.