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David O’Connor Director, Learning & Innovation / 18 December 2023
Are You In A Remote Working Rut? Here's 13 Tips To Revive Your WFH Routine
So long, goblin mode.
Remote work has become a prevalent way of working in our world today, offering more flexibility and freedom. However, it comes with its own set of challenges, chief among them being the need for discipline.
Without the structure of a traditional office environment, maintaining focus and productivity can be a real struggle for some. So with this in mind, let's explore a few strategies that can cultivate discipline and help people to thrive in the world of remote work.
1. Establish a Routine: Start your day with a structured routine just as if you were heading to the office. Wake up at a consistent time, get dressed, and create a designated workspace. This signals to your brain that it's time to work, helping you transition into a productive mindset.
2. Embrace the Flexibility: Take advantage of the flexibility that remote work offers. Find a schedule that works best for you, whether that involves non-traditional work hours or a more flexible work arrangement.
3. Set Clear Goals: Define your daily, weekly, and monthly goals. Having a clear roadmap provides direction and helps you stay focused. Break down larger tasks into smaller, manageable steps, making it easier to track your progress and celebrate your achievements.
4. Prioritize Tasks: Not all tasks are created equal. Prioritize your workload by importance and deadlines. Tackling high-priority tasks first ensures that crucial work is completed, providing a sense of accomplishment and reducing stress.
5. Time Blocking: Allocate specific blocks of time to different tasks. This can help in avoiding multitasking and ensures dedicated focus on one thing at a time. Pick your colleagues brains on how they are using things like their email calendar to schedule and adhere to time blocks.
6. Minimize Distractions: Identify and minimize potential distractions in your workspace. Communicate boundaries to family or housemates, and try to limit access to distracting websites during work hours.
7. Regular Breaks and Practice Self-Care: Prioritize self-care to maintain mental and physical well-being. Schedule short breaks for yourself, same as you would do if in the office, to prevent burnout. Taking a walk, stretching, or practicing mindfulness can refresh your mind and increase overall productivity. Breaks are not a deviation from discipline; they are an essential part of maintaining it.
8. Create a Dedicated Workspace: Designate a specific area for work to create a mental separation between your professional and personal life. This helps establish a work-oriented mindset when you enter your workspace and aids in 'switching off' when you leave.
9. Accountability Partners: Connect with colleagues or even friends in other industries for virtual co-working sessions. Knowing that someone else is working alongside you can provide a sense of accountability and motivation. Share goals and check in regularly to stay on track.
10. Use of tools: Activate the "Do Not Disturb" feature on your devices during work hours to minimize incoming calls and messages that could disrupt your concentration. Or disable your internal communication notifications (if possible) when you have to get something done with time pressures at play.
11. Communicate Effectively: Over-communicate with your team. Provide regular updates on your progress, and actively participate in virtual meetings. Clear communication fosters a sense of connection.
12. Reflect and Adapt: Regularly assess your productivity and adjust your strategies accordingly. Reflect on what's working and what isn't, and be willing to experiment with new approaches. Flexibility is a key aspect of adapting to the unique challenges of remote work.
13. Maintain Work-Life Balance: Establish clear boundaries between work and personal life. Once your work hours are over, step away from your workspace to unwind and recharge.
It’s always important to note that discipline in remote work is not a one-size-fits-all concept. It requires a combination of self-awareness, effective planning, and adaptability. But by establishing routines, setting goals, and minimizing distractions, and using some tools, you can not only maintain discipline but also enhance your overall remote work experience. We all need to embrace the opportunities that remote work provides for our personal growth and productivity but at the same time acknowledge and address the challenges that may arise along the way. In so doing we all find the right balance for ourselves.