Mailbird Peeks Inside Our Team's Homes to Learn about Productivity
Working remotely is harder than most people think. Distractions are a constant problem, but so is overworking and the burnout it can lead to, especially recently.
Today is Workaholics Day, a day meant to recognize the importance of a healthy work-life balance. As the Mailbird Team has worked remotely for nearly a decade, we decided to ask them how they do it.
Here's their advice on how to stay productive when working remotely, while having time for other priorities (like family and friends).
What Are Your Best Tips for Being Productive When Working Remotely?
Prioritize your work. Update your to-do list/ task list daily or weekly and make sure to stick to it. The main thing here to remember is to plan your tasks based on focus and priority. This way you can work off your list and not get distracted by tasks that are low priority.
Create a routine. Something which means 'start work' and something which means 'end work'. For example, you could say you drink a cup of coffee in the morning and when you're done with it, officially, the workday starts. And at the end of the day, do something relaxing like spending time in the Sun for a few minutes, or giving your kids a hug. Use this action as your official 'end of work' queue. Also, don't forget about lunch!
Create a positive working environment. Spend time creating an environment without distractions. This means taking stock of all the notifications, alerts, alarms, and anything else that could draw your attention from a project. Remove, turn off or silence what you can. Budget time for anything else (like if you have a noisy neighbor that rushes out his door at 7 AM every morning). Once you have an environment without distractions, This will enable you to create the time and boundaries for non-work-related parts of life.
What advice would you give to someone who will just start working from home or is struggling to be productive in this kind of work environment?
Set a realistic target for the day and be focused. Take time to plan your day so that you can focus. Remote work opens the flood gates to numerous distractions - so as mentioned above, the solution is to be strict about setting your boundaries and time and communicating that to your team, and potentially to external contacts as well.
Track your time in the beginning. It's easy to work too little or too much in the beginning so while you calibrate, track your own time. Once you've 'calibrated' and you got a schedule going, you can drop the time tracker.
Be proactive. I think you have to be proactive about avoiding feeling overwhelmed. Dedicate a daily time for that task that is a total drag instead of putting them all off to do at the end of the week. For example, call the bank on Monday for ten minutes and mop the floors on Tuesday and then just relax by Friday.
What do you do in order to make working from home an enjoyable experience?
Mix it up once in a while. I think it's important to switch context from time to time - and by that, I mean - not work from the exact same place every day. At least once a week go work from the kitchen, from the garden or some other place where you usually like to sit and relax. Switch desks with your better half, change your Windows theme/wallpaper. Anything really. Small things to keep you from getting tired of your setup.
Find the right playlist. Find some really good playlists to listen to while you work. Songs with lyrics can be distracting to me, so perhaps try listening to instrumental songs only at first.
Make time for yourself. I plan my meals in advance so I have all the food I need to get me through the week. I try to reserve about 1 hour a day to do something I love and keep myself active and away from my laptop, such as working out, yoga, surfing, or going for a run. I try to be in the sun for 30min to get my vitamin D.
Mailbird's Secret to a Successful Remote Culture
Here at Mailbird, we're all about having a sustainable remote culture. It's a major reason why we strongly promote creating healthy habits in the day-to-day life of our team.
It's too easy to get carried away with technology and feel overworked. Sending an email after hours, reading a report on a weekend, or putting together a presentation during a vacation may seem like a one-off. But, it adds up. If left unchecked, you'll start doing it constantly. This may lead you to put aside friends, family, and time for yourself. Eventually, you'll resent your job.
This Workaholics day, we recommend anyone getting into remote work do the following to avoid burnout:
- Set up a quiet space for your home office.
- Eliminate the distractions you can, reduce those you can't.
- Plan how and when you'll communicate with your team and clients.
- Have what you need ready ahead of time.
- Don't forget about your physical health, schedule some time to stretch your legs and enjoy some time outside.
- Don't forget about your mental health either, take some time for your favorite hobbies.
- Use the technology that you need and unplug from what you don't. If you need a day or two to be away from a screen, then plan for that as well.
For all you remote workers out there, take care of yourselves and we hope you have an enjoyable Workaholics Day!
- The Mailbird Team