BLOGS

10 Tips for Productivity and Working from Home
April 06, 2020
CATEGORY : Career Hacks

The lockdown aims to keep people at home to protect everyone from the COVID-19 virus. The daily count for the infection, people under observation/monitoring and fatalities seems to be unabated. Some experts say that flattening the coronavirus statistics curve would take 2 to 3 months. Asymptomatic infections make it hard for people to avoid those who have been infected. 

In this situation, doing self-quarantine inside your home is the best resort. This productivity and work from home can help you stay at home and get the best of your time. If you’re lucky to get an arrangement to bring your job at home, remember that not all people have the privilege to work at home.

 

Clean the clutter (Physical)

If you have clutter lying around your table and room such as a plastic wrap, CD cases, drink bottles, coins, boxes, wrappers, shoes, bag, or even banana peel, chances are these clutter can affect your productivity. According to a study, clutter can make you distracted compared to being in a serene and organized environment. Jumbled things can negatively impact your resilience, mood and your ability to concentrate.

•  Purging some things

Most working or studying Filipinos are renting in a small apartment, condo and flat. Others are lucky to own their condos and house. You might be sharing bed space with your friend or your sibling. If you’re in this situation, you can purge things that you don’t need and keep them for sending to recycling shops. Sort all cardboards and keep them in a recyclable and biodegradable bin. You can all do this for old receipts, tickets and used printed material. You can also sell recyclable materials such as cans, plastic containers and paper.

•  Maximize your closet space

If you own a closet or wardrobe, you can use it to sort your apparel and other personal things.

Stacking order:

Basket (Contains things aren’t always used)

Hanged clothing

Drawer 

Shoes



Clean digital clutter

Likewise, clutter isn’t only physical but also digital. Digital clutter refers to unorganized folders, photos, videos, and thumbnails that can turn your desktop into a digital version of an unkempt room. With different types of files just randomly scattered in your screen, it causes the same effect as of that physical clutter. 

  • Don’t save your files on the desktop.

  • Delete duplicate files.

  • Categorize filesMake folders and label them. 

  • Avoid using too many nested folders - This avoids a time-consuming searching and clicking on folders. 

  • Use a non-distracting desktop theme - A non-distracting and low memory theme is good for your eyes and your computer’s memory.

  • Organize computer files with these two systems: Date based and name-based.

  • Use cloud backup - In case of computer trouble or power outages, you can always retrieve your files anytime and anywhere. Some of the best cloud services include Dropbox, Microsoft and Google drive.


Take exercise

This is no brainer. You can’t work and be productive without being healthy.

Staying at home for the long term without exercise can lead to weight gain such as stomach fat. You may also experience a languid or fatigue feeling. If you don’t have a home gym or exercise equipment, you can walk 30 minutes a day. Walking is an underrated exercise as most think that a real exercise should be in the gym - pulling that dumbbell. In fact, walking for 30 minutes can burn at least 30 calories depending on your weight. A proper walking exercise includes these effects:

  • Healthy heart
  • Helps joints and muscles
  • Improves blood circulation

 

Eat healthy foods

The more you stay at home without exercise and eat foods laden with sugar and unhealthy fats, the more you get a quick ride to the unhealthy club. Here are some of the healthy but budget-friendly foods:

  • Sardines
  • Citrus food
  • Tofu
  • Seeds: Watermelon, sesame, squash seeds
  • Fibre-rich foods: Leafy vegetables and whole wheat bread


Learn skills online

There are tons of massive online courses or MOOCs on the internet. Some are free and some are paid. Niches comprise web development, data analysis, grammar, foreign languages, writing, speech and graphics. You can earn certificates that you can imbed in your portfolio, print on a special paper or include in your resume. Online schools can help you brush up your existing skills.

  • Alison  
  • Coursera 
  • Edukart
  • Edx.org
  • Futurelearn
  • Iversity
  • Khan academy
  • Saylor.org
  • The open university
  • Udacity
  • Udemy

 

Read physical and digital books

Books are still a mine of knowledge even though ebooks and tablets are common things to read info. You could have a dozen or hundreds of books on your bookshelf. Reading books can help you practice your reading skills and comprehension. You can also find a vast number of ebooks on the internet. They are available in PDF, ePub and word format. Some people say that physical/tangible books are faster to read than digital books (e-books) and don't cause eye strain.

 

Designate a home office

A working space must be free from distraction and noise. It should be ventilated but not overly exposed to bright sunlight that can cause glaring in your laptop and extra monitor screen. Your table should be sturdy enough to hold your computer and spacious enough to support your palms and arms. 

What you need:

  • Computer desk

  • Laptop or desktop computer - Minimum specs of i3 or i5 and 4GB RAM depending on your work.

  • Adequate lighting - The lighting should be enough to protect your eyes against eye strain from the computer screen.

  • Headset with noise cancellation - You’ll likely converse over Skype or Slack.

  • Rotating office chair or high-quality urethane chair (499 php) from the supermarket

  • High-speed internet - 25 Mbps

  • Extra pocket wifi with load or your smartphone’s hotspot function in case of internet outages

  • Surge protector

  • Extra monitor - This is ideal if your laptop screen is small. An extra monitor can increase your productivity and eliminate browser tab switching. Likewise, you can open more docs and apps and view them at the same time.

  • Mouse rest - A pad made from rubber and to reduce the risk of carpal tunnel syndrome (CTS) which is a condition that causes numbness, tingling and pain in arms and hands. CTS is caused by resting your hand and arm on the table surface.

 

Protect confidentiality

It’s likely when the lockdown started, you agreed with your company’s policies on confidentiality - that is to protect information related to your company’s trade secrets and all the things inside a laptop. Confidentiality policies depend on a company’s industry. Some are strict and others are lax when they have less confidential info. For example, Call centre companies are reluctant to let their employees work from home because of sensitive data such as social security numbers and credit cards. If you are working from home using your company’s laptop, make sure that you only have access by using an alpha-numeric password designated by your HR.

Some of the sensitive information:

  • Standard operating procedure
  • Names of clients
  • Content management system (Wordpress, Joomla, Drupal) passwords
  • Email passwords
  • Video conferencing app passwords 


Take a regular break

No matter how you’re dedicated or hard-working, you’ll always come at a point where your body tells you to quit and take rest. The reason is you don’t have an unlimited supply of dopamine (a hormone neurotransmitter that lets you feel pleasure). The more you work for longer hours, the more your productivity plummets. A way to take a break while staying productive is to use the Pomodoro technique. Use a timer such as your smartphone or dedicated alarm clock.

1 Hour

Learning/working

15-minute break

1 Hour

Learning/working

15-minute break

 

Minimize distraction

Distractions can slow down your progress and decrease your productivity. To minimize distraction, follow the Pomodoro technique or set aside a break. Top distractions include:

  • Phone alerts
  • Social media (Facebook, Twitter)
  • Emails
  • Frequent eating
  • Cluttered workspace
  • Improper desk chair posture 
  • Non-ergonomic workspace
  • Procrastination
  • Being hungry

You can minimize distractions by:

  • Splitting tasks into sections
  • Eating a proper meal 
  • Taking frequent breaks
  • Put your phone into silent mode
  • Rewarding yourself
  • Working in a comfortable table and chair
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