Top tips to improve your productivity while working from home

man working at homeWorking remotely may be new to a lot of us, but it can be very rewarding and you may even notice your productivity increasing. Here are some top tips to help you and your remote workflow.

Create a to-do list for each day

Using a pen and paper or your favourite note taking/to-do list app, write down the tasks you need to achieve each day. Some apps allow you to tag tasks in order to visually priorities them. As a Marjon staff member or student you will have access to Microsoft To-Do for free. Make sure to check them off once they are complete!

Keep to a schedule

Having a healthy routine to help you get through the day is the key when working remotely. Alongside your to do list, keep to a schedule that suits your work pattern. When you start and finish working, take breaks, get exercise etc.

Minimise distractions

Find a dedicated space for you to work. When working from home it is often easy to be distracted by things you wouldn’t normally be in an office environment. Set up your work area in a space that is quiet and distraction free and keep this area separate and only use that space when working. Bonus tip! Avoid using social media in your work area (unless you’re in marketing!). It will only lead to procrastination.

Take regular breaks

As many of us will be working using computers for longer periods of time than usual, it is essential to take regular eye breaks and to move around. It is recommended to get up and move around every 5-10 minutes. Not only does this give your eyes a break and you some exercise, it is also a great opportunity to think, relax and a perhaps come back to a task with a fresh mind. There are many apps out there that follow the 50-10 rule and alert you to take a break.

Set up your desk ergonomically

When working at a desk for an extended period of time, it is vital that it is set up properly.

  • Adjust the height so your elbows are at a 90-degree angle to the desk
  • If you find your feet now hovering, use a footstool or some books to place them on.
  • Adjust your monitor so that is an arms-length away and that the top of the screen is eye level. If you cannot adjust the monitors height, place books or something similar underneath until the desire height is achieved.
  • If you use a laptop, use a stand or books to raise it to the appropriate height and use an external mouse and keyboard.
  • Make sure your mouse and keyboard are next to each other and within easy reach.

This great video from Wall Street Journal explains more.

Don’t overextend yourself

With the help of your to-do list, schedule and dedicated working area you will hopefully be on top of your working hours. Make sure not to overextend yourself by working longer than is expected of you. You may be working from home, but your home and family life is still your own. Make good use of your out of office email to inform colleagues when they will and won’t be able to reach you.

This is a good opportunity to experiment with your workflow

There are many fantastic tools out there to help us get the job done. Now is the perfect time to perhaps introduce a new way of working into your routine. Try managing a project in Basecamp or organising your ideas in Notion for example. Notion has a free personal plan if you sign up with your academic email. Ali Abdaal, a junior Doctor from Cambridge has several great videos explaining how he uses it for his work/ studies and the possibilities within the app.

Working from home with children

Here are some resources put together by Marjon to support people who are studying or working whilst caring for children.

Please talk to your lecturer or manager if you are finding it difficult to juggle study or work with childcare, it is difficult and they are there to help.

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