Good Practices for Studying Remotely: How to Stay Productive and Avoid Slacking Off
September 14, 2020
Learning and working from home has become the new normal in 2020, due to the COVID-19 pandemic and the chaos it has caused. In many areas of the world, people are slowly returning to schools and offices and regaining some semblance of normalcy. Some organizations, especially in the United States, continue to enforce remote work upon most of their students or employees. Many feel like it is too early to start bringing people back, whereas others simply don’t want to bother with the costs and additional work it takes to set up the right precautions and enforce social distancing rules.
Setting up your own home office is a challenge in and of itself. People struggle with procrastination when they work from home. That environment doesn’t exactly encourage hard work, especially when, for most of your life, it was the place you relaxed in after long days at the office.
Remote work is also associated with the lack of all the tools that were easily available before. For example, nearly nobody owns a fax machine, and they are still necessary in many offices around the world. Thankfully, tech companies bend over backward to streamline some of these processes. Services like Zoom, Skype, and Teams are keeping workforces connected. Trello and Todoist keep teams on task. You can even send faxes via digital technology with Faxburner.
Are you struggling with time management and getting things done from home? Follow some of these best practices listed below to stay on top of your tasks and keep procrastination from getting the better of you!
Stay in Touch with Co-Workers
When you work remotely, it is easy to forget that your department also consists of other people. After all, they were always in the same room as you, and now they’re gone! It can contribute to a sense of disassociation between yourself and your company, which will inevitably harm your team’s cooperation level.
If your employers haven’t done so already, you and your remote team members should set up virtual office space on Slack or a similar platform. It will allow all of you to stay in touch and encourage the exchange of information. This is crucial for maintaining your office’s culture when at home and will help you make better use of your time. After all, you won’t have the feeling that nobody is supervising you or waiting for you to get something done.
Check-In with Your Superiors
In addition to communicating with their team every day via online platforms, many remote workers point towards regular video conferencing with their superiors as an additional source of motivation. When you’re all in the same building, the mere presence of your boss encourages everybody to try harder. Remote work removes that pressure, leaving you feeling like everything you’re doing is low-priority.
Frequent check-ins with your supervisor will help you stay on track since you’ll need to have something to report on, and in order to do that, you’ll have to get some work done. Additionally, this practice is extremely useful for managers who want to evaluate their remote teams and see who thrives when they’re working remotely, and who should be brought back into the offices as soon as things go back to normal.
Create a Designated Workspace
Most of the slacking off that is a result of switching to remote work is caused by the homely, relaxed atmosphere you now have to perform in. Some people don’t really have a problem with that and get everything done without leaving their beds, but if you’re not superhuman, you should consider establishing a dedicated workspace at home.
It may be difficult if you live with other people (especially kids) or stay in a one-bedroom apartment, but it can be done. The most important rules you should stick to are no distractions and order. The former means that you need to get rid of everything that might potentially distract you from working, such as your phone or a stack of colorful magazines. Move these items to another room, and if you can’t do that, make sure they’re out of sight. Also, take the batteries out of your TV remote.
Keeping order in your new workspace means that you should keep your desk area squeaky clean. The only things that should be lying on that tabletop are the right tools you’ll need to perform your duties. These tools include laptops, desk top lamps, notepads, and pens – anything else is superfluous.A clean, organized work environment will bring out your productivity, help you get the most out of your time, and keep your mind on track.
It might also be a good idea to use software that will prevent you from getting distracted. There are various apps that allow you to block certain applications and websites on your computer and smartphone, helping you stay focused on your tasks.
According to studies in 2022, they have shown that people struggled to stay motivated during the height of the pandemic in 2020 and 2021. The study published in the Lancet showed that people spent more time at their desks and supposedly working, but in reality, less time was spent doing actual work.
Voodoo Neon produced, in the words of owner and CEO Christine, “A series of highly motivational neon signs that create ambience and motivate”. We spoke with Christine, who explained that the idea came from helping people thrive when not physically near each other – positive affirmations, motivational quotes, challenging phrases to give people that inspiration at a glance.”
When working remotely, opening up new avenues for communicating with your remote team, and taking the time to make sure that your workspace doesn’t contribute to your procrastination are some of the best practices to follow. It’s also worth keeping in mind that there were a lot of remote workers out there even before COVID-19 struck, and they seem to have been doing just fine. It couldn’t hurt to reach out to those guys for advice on how to manage your time best.
Finally, it can be easy to let yourself go a little bit when you have to stay home every single day, which can be detrimental to your mental health in the long run. In this remote environment, make sure that you maintain a healthy diet and stay in touch with friends and relatives.
Featured Image: Magnet.me, Unsplash.