If you work from home then you will probably be familiar with what a struggle it is constantly to remain productive and to get work done when you’re surrounded by distractions. When your work environment is the same as your home environment either all the time or sometimes, it’s far too easy to make excuses to pop to the kitchen or to pick up that tempting book lying on the coffee table and these things can actually destroy our productivity.
Another problem is that home offices are designed and maintained by us. There’s no boss telling us to keep our desk tidy and no HR team to advise us on the best posture or the best point in the room for enhancing productivity. Below are some fixes that can help you stay on task.
Having papers everywhere is a problem that affects not just home workers but pretty much everyone else too. The first solution to this issue is to get paper trays which allow you to quickly and easily ‘dump’ your papers out the way so they at least aren’t making mess.
Here you’re going to have two trays. One will be your ‘working memory’ and one will be your ‘short term memory’. Anything that you’re done with but not ready to get rid of will go in your ‘short term memory’, whereas anything that you’re currently still working with or that you’ll be able to throw away later will go in your ‘working memory’. At a predefined time every day/week/month you’ll then sort through the trays and move anything from the short-term memory tray into a filing cabinet – your ‘long term memory’. This mimics the way the human brain stores information and it makes it much easier to keep on top of everything.
Portable scanners are scanners that can take paper through a feed in a similar manner to a printer. Some of these can even take multiple sheets of paper at once and this actually makes it much easier to quickly scan reams of documents, while OCR (Optical Character Recognition) software will automatically catalogue and organize them. This allows you to get rid of an awful lot of paper and to thereby create far less paper for yourself. Likewise you should of course go paperless with your bills, statements and everything else you can.
If you do struggle with procrastination then a desk toy can go a long way to help. This can include things like small rakes and sand pits, or like cat’s cradles. The reason these work well is that they provide work for idle thumbs but aren’t nearly as engaging as a mobile phone. In other words, you can play with these little toys while your computer loads and not risk getting ‘sucked in’. They also add to that business feel and make your home office feel more like a real place of work.