When your home becomes your office – as it has for most folks in Singapore, thanks to the new work from home arrangement – it can feel like you’re always at work, 24 hours a day.
Worse? Some days, when your brain just isn’t working and you can’t produce your usual volume of work, you’re losing money.
Prevention is better than cure, they say. So, try these three hacks to ratchet up your productivity #alldayerday (not that we’re advocating against work-life balance!).
1. Download a Work Playlist
Skip this if you’re the kind of person who needs to work in total silence, or who’s able to block out all distractions with the power of your mind.
For everyone else, sustaining concentration is often an issue, especially after a few hours of work. If you find yourself constantly getting distracted, try working with music – the right playlist can really help you stay in that flow state. Match different types of music with the type of work you’re doing: Upbeat tunes to jam to for mundane or menial tasks, and non-vocal, mid-tempo music for detailed work.
If you’re the last person on the planet to acquaint yourself with sites or apps like iTunes, Spotify or SoundCloud, we suggest you spend a little time checking them out – they can save you hours of non-productivity in the future
2. Set a Start and End Time
Time management is one of the biggest issues you face when working from home. Sure, you can start whenever you want. But, too much flexibility also means you could be hunched over your laptop at 4 a.m., cursing yourself for not managing your time better. When you aim to get things done by a certain time, you tend to work faster and more efficiently to meet that deadline.
Even for people who aren’t great at following schedules, putting one in place still helps to ensure you don’t get completely derailed. If you set a deadline to finish work by 5 p.m., it’s better to be late by an hour than not completing it at all.
3. Enhance Your Home Office
Yes, it may be tempting to do all your work from the comfort of your bed, but you’ll soon learn that it is terrible for your spine and neck (get help for painful posture problems, if that’s you).
More importantly, it can seriously put a dent in your productivity. So, make sure you’ve got a conducive working environment. At the very least, you should have a desk or table with a good chair at the correct height.
There are other things that you can place in your work area to make it more comfortable and boost productivity – a cushion for your butt, document folders if you’re drowning in paperwork, plants to make the space look less austere (try these easy-care options) and so on.
Of course, there’s no guarantee that even with the perfect environment, you’ll be able to concentrate. (Throw kids into the equation, and it’s a whole different situation!) But just sitting in a chair instead of trying to work sprawled in front of the TV will definitely improve things.
By Joanne Poh, Text adapted from MoneySmart.sg, Singapore’s leading personal finance portal that helps you to maximise your money. (Like it on Facebook to keep up to date with the latest news and articles. Compare and shop for the best deals on loans, insurance and credit cards on its site now!) / Additional Reporting: Her World + Sara Lyle Bow, April 2020/ Updated by Jashleen Kaur, August 2020
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