Do you find yourself struggling to manage or even maintain your productivity?
Does your work leave you feeling burnt out by the end of the day?
Although plenty of recent studies cite an increase in productivity following the shift to remote work, many workers still find themselves struggling to maintain their productivity levels from home.
If this sounds like you, you may be limiting your productivity unknowingly through your physical environment, social environment, work ethic, and attention to self (or lack thereof). To ensure that you can be a part of the growing and increasingly productive remote workforce, let’s walk through some of the key factors that could make or break your productivity.
P.s. Stick around for some bonus tips on selling productively from home!
Let’s talk boundaries. The new work from home model has positively affected many workers in many aspects but has also notoriously blurred the line between work and life, posing a threat to our work-life balance. Defining our boundaries begins with our physical environment and dedicating a time and place for all things work.
The office gave us a dedicated space—separate from our homes—to focus on work-related tasks.
So start with your workspace. Have you considered where you’re doing your work from? Is it your kitchen? Your living room?
A dedicated workspace will vary from person to person, depending on potential limiting factors such as space, but the general consensus is to aim to set up your workspace outside of the bedroom. If space permits, having a dedicated room or “office” would be ideal. This would allow you to avoid distraction and create a physical place of work, setting a mental and physical barrier that divides work from personal activities.
If you live in a smaller space, designating a corner in whichever room you can afford the extra space for your desk and chair would also make do. The key is to create separation between personal items in your home such as your bed or the living room couch and work-related activities. This will reinforce the boundary line between work and life, giving you the ability to maintain a healthy balance.
Why does this matter? Well, without this separation, we risk work spilling over into our personal lives and taking up more space than it needs to. This may end in burnout due to overwork, which can negatively affect our mood and productivity levels.
For many, the drive or commute to work in itself acted as a buffer in between home and the workplace, giving workers time to get into “work mode.” Another factor in defining boundaries is to develop a routine that can smoothly transition you into your at-home workspace, enhancing your mood, and preparing you for work-related activities. Getting in some exercise, dressing up or out of your pajamas/house clothes, or simply brewing a cup of coffee could mean the difference between a good or bad day. Doing any (or all) of these little things could enhance your mood and get you into the right mindset for work, potentially contributing to your overall level of productivity.
Equally important, our social environment can have a tremendous effect on our mood and productivity levels. Many of us have become accustomed to working around others and engaging in daily conversations with colleagues. Little things like greeting our colleagues in the morning or chatting in between meetings aren’t activities that naturally occur in a work from home setting. This is why we may often find ourselves feeling lonely or low energy, which can negatively affect our overall mood and lead to lower productivity levels.
In a virtual setting, making an active effort to communicate with colleagues, be it through zoom, teams, or any other video platform can make the difference in having a productive day versus an unproductive one.
Scheduling a daily check-in with your team can do wonders for your productivity, as each member has a chance to go over their goals and expectations, progress, or results on projects/tasks which benefit the whole team. Daily check-ins provide a short and effective way to kickstart a productive day and encourage accountability while also bringing a sense of unity, stability, and routine—something we could all benefit from.
Be Structured but Remain Flexible
Burnout is real.
We’ve all experienced it before. It comes and goes, often in cycles due to repetitive patterns of overwork. When attempting to be productive, many end up burning out as a result of unhealthy habits and a lack of structure or too much structure.
Keeping a calendar or planner (digital or on paper) is an effective way to schedule out your days, weeks, and months. These tools help to organize your time, and ensure you plan and follow (for the most part) a productive schedule.
Be careful not to get caught up in micromanaging your day though!
As the saying goes, everything in moderation. A great example of maintaining structure while leaving space for flexibility would be to only schedule out 80% of your day to leave room for any last-minute tasks or changes that may come up.
Striking the right balance between structure and flexibility can help you avoid burnout and unnecessary feelings of overwhelm while promoting productivity at its optimal peak.
Engage in Self-Care
Of course, we’ve left the best for last; self-care is arguably one of the most important factors in managing and maintaining your productivity. You’ve probably heard that high levels of stress lead to decreased productivity. Well, it’s true. Mounds of research point to evidence of stress being a huge limiting factor in one’s productivity.
What is the ultimate killer of stress you might ask?
One word. Self-care.
Practice self-care, whatever it means to you. If it’s listening to your body and taking a break from the screen every so often, do it. If it’s stretching or taking a few breaths in between meetings, do it.
Not sure where to start? Movement is a wonderful way to break up all those long hours spent sitting at your desk. Try going for a brisk walk during your break or dancing to your favourite tunes. Your body and mind will thank you.
When you make time for yourself (especially during your work day) you can boost your mood, relieve stress, and heighten your productivity.
Bonus Content: Selling Productively from Home
Again, environment is key, especially in sales. In order to sell productively from home, you have to create the right environment. Now your idea of the right environment could be completely different from someone else’s, so this step really depends on personal preference. Some prefer quiet environments while others thrive in busy or loud spaces. In general, creating an environment within your home which allows you to focus, get in the right mindspace, and excel in your daily activities is a top priority when aiming to maintain productivity as a seller.
Next, setting expectations is essential in reaching your sales targets. Writing out, or at the very least, typing out your goals can help towards maintaining your productivity, act as a source of motivation, and give you some concrete numbers to strive towards. Start by setting forth how many calls or sales related activities you plan on accomplishing per day, week, etc. Again, don’t try to fill your schedule with as many tasks as possible (remember the 80% rule). By allocating an attainable number of tasks within a realistic timeframe, you’re bound to perform better, stay consistent, and avoid running the risk of burnout.
Although you’ve set your target objectives, tracking your progress is the true determiner of how effectively you can maintain your productivity as a seller. Without records, there is no accountability, and without accountability, you may jeopardize your productivity. Keeping a simple excel tracker sheet that captures relevant notes and time stamps is an excellent way to remain on task and stay informed. It’s truly a win-win because it promotes the fulfillment of your goals and keeps a detailed record of your activity for future reference.
With that, selling productively from home really only requires a few basic fundamentals that many of us already engage in daily: putting ourselves in optimal work environments, setting realistic and achievable goals, and tracking our progression (in writing!).
With boundaries between work and life becoming increasingly blurred as more move their offices into their homes, It’s easy to get caught up in repetitive cycles of overwork that end in burnout. That’s why creating the right physical and social environment while practicing self-care and proper work ethic are key in developing a healthy sense of “work” in your home by reinforcing the line between work and life, to ultimately manage and maintain your productivity.