A downside of working remotely is that one can easily lose focus and productivity, so here are 13 tips to ensure a productive workday while working outside a cubicle.
1. Pick the Right Location to Improve Productivity
Remote workers report higher productivity scores compared to those who work in an office. A research survey by Canada Life Group shows that remote workers rate their productivity around 7.7 while office workers only rate their work at 6.6 out of 10. Remote workers can still experience low periods of productivity. To counteract wasting time, digital workers separate their workspace from their living space. Sometimes, it’s challenging to work in an area closely associated with relaxation. The flip-side is also true. For instance, working in your bedroom can lead to either two things; difficulty in falling asleep or getting sleepy during work. Tricking the body by moving to a different area, or seeming to move to a different area, is a good idea. Making a separating characteristic, like a thin boundary in the form of curtains or a different hue of light, can surprisingly make remote workers more productive. Remote work, like real estate, has three rules to achieve success: location, location, and location. If you know anyone thinking that their productivity is low, ask them first about their location.
2. Scheduling Makes Work Easier
Maximize productivity with a to-do list. Many employees, independent contractors, and solopreneurs working remotely can streamline operations with a schedule. Sticking. Sticking to a schedule makes tasks faster due to the motivation of beating a deadline. For employers and those self-employed, having a schedule gives another benefit, which is a proper measurement of results. Anything that is measurable is something that you can improve. Having a month or two as a trial period for a schedule can provide information that can save time and money. Scheduling more time for prospecting over marketing can improve your sales flow and quantity of valuable leads. For instance, having a time block for the 4 phases of prospecting can make your operations more efficient.
3. A Change of Scenery Can Give You a Productive Day
Staying in one place for a long period of time may lower your productivity. Mental fatigue poses a problem for remote workers, and a change of scenery, like going outside, can refresh mental energies, according to a Psychology Journal Study. If you or your remote workers feel that your brain is losing focus and memory, a short walk outside can refresh the attention span of the brain. Philosophers love to walk. In fact, Kant walked to escape the compulsion of thought. If philosophers and thinkers gain better insight from walking outside their dreary classrooms, CRE brokers may get some inspiring ideas for approaching leads. Remote workers may chance upon a method of improving their metrics when their thinking shifts from the office to the sidewalks. A short walk won’t hurt you. In fact, a walk to focus on thinking may give you flashes of genius.
4. How to Be More Productive? Listen to Appropriate Sounds
A research study about the effects of silence and sounds to people taking an arithmetic test provides valuable insight. Silence is actually detrimental when the test takers are solving difficult mathematical questions. On the other hand, loud background sounds like a song with a fast tempo or pouring rain made introverts perform equally with extroverts. Normally, introverts answer faster and more accurately compared to extroverts. How does this tie into the life of a remote worker or a CRE broker? When solving problems, it may be better to hear the soft clacking of the keyboard or the low hum of an air conditioner compared to just silence.
5. Breaking a Workday into Parts Minimizes Wasting of Time
The whole is greater than the sum of its parts. Flipping that to a CRE broker’s workload, finishing the parts of the whole work task is easier to do than just finishing the whole task in one fell swoop. The Pomodoro technique, where you schedule 25 minutes of intensive tasks followed by a break of 5 minutes, can help remote workers recharge mental energy as well as stay motivated to reach a goal. Breaking their work to 4 Pomodoro sessions can provide structure as well as minimize mental fatigue.
6. Get in the Zone by Starting with a Productive Ritual
Adding a mental or physical guidepost before you start working can help your mind and body transition to work mode. A ritual does not only mean meditating in a lotus pose or swinging incense sticks. Any simple action can take the place of an introductory transition, like light exercise or a short mental check of things to do. By making a ritual a transitioning habit, the body and mind can slowly move from a “just woke up” phase to a “productivity beast” mode. Practice having a ritual that sends signals to both your body and mind that it is time to work.
7. Failing to Plan Is Planning to Fail
Managing your time better can close more deals. It is better to “overplan” than “underplan” when it comes to doing tasks remotely. Underestimating workload leads not just to wasted time and effort but also to bottlenecks. The bottleneck will be present on the next working day and may clog up the whole sales and customer service process. Planning is different from scheduling, although both take note of time used. Scheduling is more of a reminder while planning deals more about execution and strategy. The schedule should follow your plans. For example, if your review of the remote worker’s workflow shows little time for prospecting, then planning how to prospect should come first. After everyone has agreed to the plan, making a schedule should follow. The remote worker will now have fewer distractions as having a plan and a schedule makes following the process easier.
8. Taking a Break Is a Productive Activity
Giving your ideas some legs increases creativity. Having a problem with finding a memorable way to talk to leads? Walk 15 minutes and you might get flashes of inspiration. Stuck at prospecting because your previous strategy does not work anymore? Taking a break can help your mind think of other angles to attack a problem. That is why most office workers always have a break in their workday. Not only do labor laws prohibit sweatshop conditions, but also because breaks actually improve productivity rather than decrease it. Remote workers may get too caught up with work that they forget to get a break. By scheduling breaks, people who work in their homes can maintain good workflow and reduce burnout.
9. Single-Tasking Can Be More Productive Than Multitasking
The American Psychological Association published a study showing that multitasking actually undermines productivity. A Stanford University study validates the problem of multitasking as focusing on too many things uses mental resources more than performing single tasks. Using mental energy and effort to complete one task gives the whole workflow a higher and steadier rate of progress. If remote workers feel overwhelmed, breaking the process into small steps and focusing on one before moving to the next step can make the process more efficient.
10. Organize Projects with Online Tools
The project management tool, Trello, can help teams from all around the world collaborate efficiently. By using boards and moving tasks along the timeline, teams can get a visual representation of where the team currently is. If Trello is not your cup of tea, other tools are available. For those who are fans of Gantt Charts, Freed Camp is a great alternative. For those who prefer a classic interface, then Ever Note can scratch that proverbial workflow itch. A remote worker’s availability is challenging when different time zones are considered. Having Google Drive for the team can save your organization from headaches. Not only will the team get important records without any need for communication, but a digital back up is easy to get. If Google Drive is not for you, then you may try DropBox.
11. Communicate Efficiently with Collaborators or Clients
Email can take up quite a lot of time for teams. Instant communication is a necessity in the fast-paced economy of today, so having instant messaging is a no-brainer. A popular instant messaging app, Slack can help teams communicate faster than email. Email can also lead to time bottlenecks as communications lay buried under emails, but Slack has a friendlier interface that takes care of this problem.
12. Do a Triage Work System
On a battlefield, a triage system is where medics prioritize which patient to treat so that soldiers can go back to battle as soon as possible. In the corporate and academic world, this system applies when a student or worker prioritizes the difficulty levels of a task. This system can work differently. Some remote workers prefer to start the easy tasks first and work their way up to the more difficult task to end during the day. Others finish the difficult ones first to make their process easier. How you do your triage will depend on your personality. Do you have more focus and energy at the start of the day? Then starting with the bigger tasks might work better. The reverse also works as well.
13. Discipline with Goal Visualizing
Athletes use visualization to prepare for a competitive sport mentally. Remote workers can use this technique to get extra mental juices, as the brain becomes inclined to the visuals of your imagination. The constant imagination of how you make reports, prospect leads or document information is a good mental activity. Practice makes perfect, so practicing perfection in your mind can flow to the real world. Working remotely saves both the employer and employee time, resources, and energy. However, optimizing workflow can help anyone, whether they work in a cubicle or in the comfort of their own home. By following the tips mentioned above, anyone can have a productive day and find a better work-life balance, one day at a time