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6 ways telecommuters can stay productive

Many of us work from home because we think — er, know — we get more work done there.

Telecommuters find a less intrusive set of distractions.

They work in a space that’s comfortable, and they avoid the stressful commute to and from the office, jumping right into their pile of work first thing in the morning.

According to a recent survey from FlexJobs, 54 per cent of flexible-schedule employees report home as the preferred place to get their most important work done.

telecommuting productivity


Because they don’t face office politics, 61 per cent said, and they have reduced their stress by eliminating the commute and reducing interruptions from colleagues.

That doesn’t mean we don’t face distractions when we work from home.

Stay focused when telecommuting

Your boss trusts you to get the work done. That’s why you’ve been allowed the privilege to telecommute when some colleagues are still bound to their desks at HQ.

We teleworkers are self-driven, independent workers but we slip up occasionally.

Here’s how to knuckle down and keep pumping out the quality productivity we’re known for:

1. Write a to-do list

Itemize each task you need to get done today and prioritize them. Whether you get the easiest or toughest tasks done first is up to you and your style of work, but it’s useful to get all your tasks down in writing. It gets it out of the swirling mess in your head and creates brain space for good work.

In addition, when the boss calls or emails with an emergency situation, you can shuffle everything around and take care of that business, knowing you still have that list to get you back on track.

2. Schedule breaks

Short breaks throughout the day make you more productive, according to the Globe and Mail. It cites an experiment that found periods of time off improve your ability to get work done, restoring your focus and energy.

That includes naps.

Give yourself a few moments away from the computer or phone. You could grab a coffee, take the dog for a walk, make a snack, or read something unrelated to work. (I love to squeeze in a chapter of chick lit for an afternoon break.)

3. Fuel your body

Telecommuters like to take breaks out of the house, but that can tempt us into dashing out to a fast-food joint for a quick lunch. That stuff does nothing for your work flow, though. Fatty, unhealthy foods can slow you down.

When we make better choices with our meal planning, we feel better and we get more energy to get our work done.

4. Reach out

Working from home can be a lonely pursuit. It’s vital to stay connected with our colleagues who know our jobs, company and industry as well as we do.

Bounce ideas of each other, help each other and share personal stories with your teammates. If we feel too isolated in the world, we can lose our motivation. Knowing we share space in this journey can keep us focused on what needs to get done.

5. Resist the urge to socialize

Oh, it’s so easy to turn Twitter and Facebook into a time waster. What’s bestie up to? Do I like her status? Ooh, somebody’s wrong on Twitter! Before you know it, a couple of hours have passed and you haven’t done a darn thing.

Give yourself a few moments in the morning to scan your social media feeds and then shut it down until you’re off the clock. Don’t forget to turn off the notification beeps and alerts on your mobile devices, too. Once you’re into your own time (after a good dinner and a glass of wine), feed your social media addiction and catch up with everyone.

6. Sign off

You just can’t work 24 hours a day, even if that would make your boss the happiest boss in the world.

Just like you need breaks throughout the day, you need to sign off and spend the rest of the day resting, refreshing and rejuvenating. You’ll come back to your desk tomorrow morning with a renewed spark to attack a revised to-do list.

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