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6 Time Wasters You Should Avoid When Working from Home

Adrian Agawin

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Working from Home


Photo by Burst from Pexels

The COVID-19 pandemic has greatly affected public health and safety, prompting a number of restrictions on non-essential travel and businesses. These changes have prompted companies to make the shift towards remote work, with many struggling to adjust to their new situation.

For those with no experience in remote working or telecommuting, it can be challenging to keep up with the workload. Having to stay productive in a space associated with leisure and relaxation can cause a disconnect for many people. If you find yourself getting too distracted while you’re on the clock, here are some tips for working remotely while avoiding time-wasters.

1. Undefined workspaces

One of the biggest adjustments you may need to make is learning to draw the boundary between work and home. Going from a desk or cubicle at the office to working wherever it is convenient can physically and mentally affect your productivity.

Setting up space in your house for your work not only allows you to avoid any physical distractions from household members or pets but also allows you to condition your mind to get “in the zone” instead of freely wandering.

2. No set routine

One of the work from home misconceptions people have is that you can do whatever you want, whenever you want.

To clarify, it’s true that more experienced remote workers can enjoy a more flexible schedule that gives them the freedom to work how they like. However, you may be feeling the opposite instead—the absence of a strict work schedule from your office days may be throwing you off.

To address this, you can create a schedule for yourself to incorporate into a daily routine. The routine allows you to add structure to everything you do, with the schedule to help you hold yourself accountable. Additionally, a schedule can help further set your boundaries between work and home life.

3. Smartphones and digital devices

With the new normal limiting our access to public spaces and face-to-face interactions, feelings of loneliness and isolation can be unavoidable. Social media, messaging platforms, and video apps can help bridge the distance between you and your loved ones. However, it’s all too easy to lose track of time when engaging with these platforms.

The best way to address this is to limit your time around your smartphone and other digital devices unrelated to work. Allotting some time in your schedule to check notifications or have a short call can go a long way in curbing the urge to get distracted.

4. Multitasking

Another common misconception is that remote work allows you to multitask. On paper, it’s a great idea to maximize your time working from home by taking on several tasks at once.

However, science begs otherwise—only 2.5% of people can effectively multitask. What happens when you think you multitask is just rapidly jumping from one task to another, lowering your overall productivity.

Instead of attempting to multitask, a better approach would be to prioritize tasks and taking them on one at a time. In addition to better time management, it’s also essential to factor in breaks to rest your mind. If you find yourself drawing a blank on one thing, doing another thing will only further stress you out.

5. Personal responsibilities

As most people are spending more time in their homes, the number of errands and chores that need to be done can increase. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but if you’re not careful, it can badly affect your workflow. At worst, you may end up missing out on crucial deadlines due to personal responsibilities taking longer than expected.

In a public health crisis, hygiene and health precautions are essential and cannot be delayed. Apart from these activities, coordinate with your housemates and distribute the responsibilities fairly without being disruptive to the workday. However, if the delay is unavoidable, it’s best to inform your manager or supervisor so they can take the appropriate action.

6. Inefficient communication

Another roadblock to remote work productivity is communication. Pre-COVID, you could easily walk up to someone for a quick consultation, host meetings, and have impromptu brainstorming sessions. Now, you need to figure out the best way to reach out to your teammates and colleagues.

Aside from having a vast array of apps and tools to communicate with, getting accustomed to the differences in virtual communication can also be a struggle. If your company doesn’t have an official mode of communication, choosing the right medium can be a matter of deciding which one works best for your purposes at the moment.

Don’t be afraid to admit when you’re unsure of how to use a certain tech. It’s better to admit your faults and find a different solution than use up your time trying to make something work.

 

As people begin to settle into the new normal, adapting to your new work situation should be your top priority. By working smarter and knowing what distractions look like for you, you can boost your productivity and find stability in your workflow despite the crisis.

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