Top 5 Productivity Hacks for Remote Teams
(Today’s guest post is from Miss Nooria Khan, who’s sharing her productivity hacks while working with your team remotely. Find out more about Nooria Khan on the Author Bio below!)
Due to the pandemic, most of us have been working remotely either from home or in a safe co-working space. While many have adapted to the new normal, some are still in the learning process as remote work comes with its own set of challenges.
As we now know, working remotely has many advantages. Such as not waking up super early and catching the 8 am bus, or working tirelessly all day in the office with little to no freedom to get up and go for a run. Plus if you are considering to transition to a remote workforce, it’s definitely going to have a lot of advantages for you too as a business owner.
On the flip side, boosting or maintaining our productivity levels can be a challenging task for your VA team. Struggling to meet deadlines, replying to calls and emails, the distractions at home, little/untimely/bad communications, too many zoom meetings, …. you get my point.
Here are some tools and techniques I have been using for a while now that I believe could help you and your team increase productivity at work.
Productivity Hack #1: Set a Timer for 25 Minutes: The Pomodoro Technique
The first and probably the most effective way that resulted in an incremental increase in my productivity and time management is the Pomodoro Technique. After hearing about it from some of my colleagues including my manager, I figured I should give it a try.
The Pomodoro Technique is a time management system that transforms the way we work. Using the technique, you basically break down your workday into 25 minutes chunks. You then follow it with a 5-minute rest called the Pomodoros. After 4 pomodoros i.e. 2 hours, you take a 15-30 minute break to eat and stretch up.
I found that setting the timer to 25 minutes creates a feeling of importance and urgency to complete a task. Surprisingly, I was able to execute tasks in one Pomodoro that I would normally complete in an hour. I was also able to focus more on one task at a time without the need to pick up my phone and scroll on social media.
According to a study, “61.6% of people working remotely are distracted by social media alone”.
Honestly, at first I would usually forget to check the timer and would get distracted by the notification on my phone or something around me. However, I forced myself to stick to the format, which helped me achieve results that I could not believe myself.
Moreover, digital time trackers are great but I personally love the mechanical timers (which you can here and here). For me, checking my phone for timers can increase the chances of getting distracted by something in it, which leads to less productivity.
[Photo by JESHOOTS.com from Pexels]
Productivity Hack #2: Conventional Tools
Conventional tools that are being used for ages that work as a productivity booster are not only cheap, easy to access, do not require battery or power, but are also proven to be increasing brainpower. These tools are…. wait for it… paper and pen! However, there are different categories to help individuals utilize them more effectively.
As the name suggests, a bullet journal is a simpler more effective version of a to-do list coupled with the features of journaling. The simplicity and elegance of such journals are the reason many regular users have reported an increase in overall effectiveness and productivity.
Oh and if you are wondering what would be the best bullet journal, I would certainly suggest looking at Brendon Burchard’s High Performance Planner which is a nice combination of a journal and a planner, and helps you build/strengthen 6 key habits which were found to be common among high performers.
There is no doubt that writing things down makes your ideas more solid, effective, and increases your productivity. The open space in notebooks helps unleash the inner creativity of a person which they can record in the notebook with space for extra doodling and brainstorming ideas. Some people also prefer using personal whiteboards for such purposes.
[Photo by Bich Tran from Pexels]
Productivity Hack #3: Digital Tools
The availability of digital tools has provided massive assistance to successfully keep up with the digital era. The ones I personally use are:
Using Trello for Productivity
Trello is the all in one online tool that is designed to help organize the workload in the simplest and easy to understand way possible.
With very little learning curve, we use Trello to create different boards for different projects, set deadlines for tasks, prioritize tasks, use color-coding to personalize them, and track progress. Trello serves as a one-stop-shop for most work-related tasks resulting in a more stable and productive day.
Why Slack is Better Than Email
Communication is the key to success for any business, yet it can also be a huge challenge in with a remote working environment.
Email is inherently inefficient as you tend to focus on the most latest emails which might not be as urgent or important as emails you received earlier.
Which is why Slack is better than email in that aspect. Since moving most of our synchronous communication to Slack, it has been much easier to interact with and stay in touch with remotely working colleagues.
With the easy-to-use user interface and fun features such as emoticons and easy file sharing, workers can share their input to the group or in private in real time.
[Photo by Anthony Shkraba from Pexels]
Productivity Hack #4: Discover The Perfect Working Spot
Some people may have set up their home offices where they can work in peace but for many of us, finding the perfect place in the house to work in is a struggle. The only way to do that is doing trial and error to find an area that is both comfortable and peaceful to work in.
For people with kids and other members in their house, the situation gets even more difficult. Noises of kids running around, giving time to the people around you (who sometimes think you are available all day) in conjunction with other household activities can significantly affect the productivity levels of an individual.
Considering these factors, it is very important for people working from homes to try different places. If you like working in the daylight, find a spot with little distraction to work from. Are you a night owl? Make sure to take your kids to bed early so that you can work in peace. Feel exhausted working in one spot? Grab the extension cord and sit on the lawn feeling the fresh breeze that can improve your mood and attitude resulting in increased productivity levels.
[Photo by Daria Shevtsova from Pexels]
Productivity Hack #5: Eat Healthy
As Ralph Waldo Emerson said, “The first wealth is health”. Keeping track of the things that we consume on a daily basis is extremely important as they are directly related to the way we behave and think, impacting our productivity and focus at work.
The health benefits of a chocolate bar or cookie are not equal to that of a fruit or a nut bar. Eating junk is definitely more tempting, delicious, and easy to get. Still, if you wish to end the day with a more positive and happy attitude, it is best to eat healthy foods and snacks. Moreover, eating junk food can cause an unwanted increase in weight and energy crashes and an unwanted decrease in productivity and motivation.
One major benefit of working from home is that a nutritious and healthy snack is within arm’s reach, literally! Therefore, make sure to grab and eat them to stay fueled, energetic, and productive throughout your workday.
[Photo by Julia Volk from Pexels]
The above tips and tools have helped reduce my distractions and boosted my productivity a great deal during my last few months of remote work.
Do you have any other productivity hacks for remote work productivity? Do share!
Nooria Khan is a software engineer turned writer. Her passion for learning and love for words has propelled her into a career in digital marketing. She has been featured in Business Insider, Techopedia, Reader’s Digest, Business2Community, and several others. She always keeps a journal and a cat by her side, and the only time she doesn’t play it safe is when she’s writing. You can find Nooria’s Headshot, Twitter, and LinkedIn here.
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