Work at Home Woes: How to Kill Productivity Killers

Working from home has numerous advantages, and disadvantages. While I can go on and on enumerating the many good things about working from home (no daily commutes!), I can also list several disadvantages. But, being the positivist that I am when it comes to work, I try to turn these disadvantages into opportunities. One of these disadvantages are the greater tendency to procrastinate and to just laze around and do nothing, effectively becoming unproductive. Also, the technical part of working from home also becomes a disadvantage at times because you do not have a tech guy (who’s an expert on computers and technical stuff) to call and fix a problem immediately. Another disadvantage also stems from our often poor Internet connection, busting our productivity bubbles in a snap. In this post, I’m going to share with you my top three productivity killers and how I deal with them.

Number 1. Guests in the house. This is my number one productivity killer and I am sure you would agree with me. Even if you’re not working from home, even if you’re just doing chores, it seems you can’t finish anything when you have guests in the house. I’m not saying this because I hate guests. I’m saying this because I love guests and I love to entertain them and talk with them. While most of my family and friends know I work at home, I could not help but sneak in some conversations while doing my morning routine at work. I would be especially less productive when my nephews are around because I would spend my whole time playing with them.

What do I do? We have a tiny bedroom in our tiny apartment and we work from there when we have visitors. I also usually work before everybody gets up and after everybody sleeps so that I can work peacefully. Or, I excuse myself from family activities and spend some time at a cafe to work. When we schedule trips to the mall, I would excuse myself to do some work. There was even a time when I excused for an hour from a karaoke session to work. I just make sure I have my things to do listed and deadlines noted so that I can properly manage my time regardless of where I’m working or when I’m working. When my guests and I are huddled together in one room, I use earphones. OK, that’s a lousy solution. But it is an easy, affordable and effective solution to drown the noise and allow my brain to focus on one thing — being productive at work.

Number 2. Too many tasks, so little time. Yes, this happens all the time, especially on Mondays and towards the end of the week, and most especially, towards the start of your vacation when you are cramming to check off all the tasks in your list so you can have the most stress-free vacation. There are times when I know I have do accomplish too many things but get too stressed to even think about it that I end up not accomplishing anything at all. Or worse, I try to multi-task and start projects at the same time, with nothing accomplished at the end of the day.

What do I do? I make a list and check it twice! Haha.. I always keep a planner with me. Every morning, I make the habit of not immediately opening and turning on my laptop so I would have time to jot down the tasks I need to accomplish during the day and during the week. After this, I open my laptop and check my emails, both work and personal emails, and list the tasks I need to do based on the emails I received. At the end of the day, I revisit the tasks I made in the morning and check off those I have already accomplished. This is a habit I have formed since high school and this has been an effective way to manage my day.

Number 3. Social media and the Internet. Before I proceeded to finishing this blog post, I took a good 10 minutes of my time watching Ben of Sorted make Barry’s wedding cake, another 5 minutes scrolling through my Facebook newsfeed, and another 5 minutes scrolling through my Instagram feed. These are the only social media platforms I actively participate in yet they take so much (about 4 hours estimate of my waking time). That four hours could translate to how many work I can finish, and yet, I could not stop. I know I’m not the only one in this battle. On top of that is the battle against slow Internet connection, which people from the Philippines can definitely relate to.

What do I do? I try to minimize the time I spend in social media by just checking my accounts at lunch and evening. Not morning because for sure my productivity would be slowed down. I also try to combine online and offline work so that I can maximize the Internet more. As with the slow Internet connection, I wish I have home WiFi system from Luma here in the country to help me speed up my connection and boost productivity.

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