Our work reality has changed and we have to do our best to adapt to the new normal. To keep productivity high while working from home, there are things we need to adjust to. There are some of us who may already have been working from home and have their routine down; however, this is a new reality for most of the workforce this past year. For some, there are children at home, and a spouse. This can increase stress and make it hard to focus at times. Not being in your usual workspace can introduce a myriad of new distractions. We have to learn to adapt to those distractions and continue being productive. Just because everything has changed doesn’t mean your work needs to suffer.

Three Tips for a Productive Remote Work Life

Your productivity can be just as high or more than your previous workplace situation. Here are some tips and tools to help you maintain productivity in the new normal of COVID-19.

1. Make Time Management a Priority

Time management will become a big hurdle when transitioning into this new work from home/remote reality. It can seem all too easy to just sleep in right up until your first meeting of the day. Additionally, you might find yourself working right up until you go to be at night, sometimes late into the night hours. Neither of those situations are healthy for you and will hurt your productivity. Wake up at least an hour before your first meeting and lay out your day ahead. Make a schedule of what you need to do, and write down time constraints you might have.

For some, you might be managing multiple projects at the same time, since now you can be in several places at once virtually. There are time management tools available. One that has proven to be helpful to me is Toggl. Toggl gives you a dashboard where you can create multiple clients and projects. When you are ready to start work on a project, you start the built in timer and it tracks how long you work on it. Then at the end of the day, you can see how much you’ve worked on each project. This is just one example, there are many tools to help you manage your time effectively which you will need to learn to be good at in order to survive this new reality.

2. Know Your Distractions and Manage Them

Now that you are working from home, it’s nice to have the TV on and maybe even the radio or a YouTube video going in the background… right? No, these are all distractions that we will need to learn to silence while working from home. Another distraction could be your pet or a friendly neighbor. It is important to understand what your distractions are and then silence them while you are on the clock, even though you are at home. Log out of your personal email account so you aren’t distracted each time it pops up with a new email. You can’t manage your distractions unless you first recognize what they are. 

3. Set Work/Life Boundaries

Working from home means we are working with our children and spouse or roommate(s). We all love these people and enjoy their company, but if we don’t set boundaries for work time vs. play time, things can get out of hand quickly. Children will adapt; they will learn that mom/dad need to be focused on work when they are working. On the flip side, it is important that you don’t spend all day working. It is easy to just work all day, because you are at home on a laptop. Find a stopping point and set a boundary that after a certain number of hours you will put the phone down and shut the laptop. Setting boundaries is healthy for everyone at home, not just the person working from home.

You Can Be Productive

It is possible to be productive at home, in fact I would argue that you can be more productive at home simply because you are more relaxed. Working from home eliminates the stress of the work environment, the commute, difficult coworkers and more. Manage your stress levels and you will see how working from home can be healthy for everyone. Set boundaries, manage your time and distractions, and see how productive you can really be.

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Greg Stuart is the owner and editor of vDestination.com. He's been a VMware vExpert every year since 2011. Greg enjoys spending time with his wife and 3 kids. He has 20 years of IT experience and currently works as an IT Consultant both in the private and public sector. Greg holds a BS in Information Technology and an MBA degree. He currently resides in Southeast Idaho. You can follow him on Twitter @vDestination, read his blog (vDestination.com) and listen to his podcast (vDestination.com/feed/podcast).