How To Find Working From Home Productive

Most people have bad memories of homework – perhaps in this season working from home can be surprisingly productive.

By The Arrow Team

[5 minute read]

 

The regular activity of Arrow might be paused (especially since our programs centre around gathering in community for leadership development) but there is something we can gift you right now. Our team (including volunteers) live across 5 states in Australia yet manage to enjoy incredible relationship and productivity even though we all work from home.

So, with many Christian leaders making the shift to working from home, in the face of COVID-19, we thought it might help for us to collaborate and write together a blog that highlights some of the things that we have found helpful in working and leading from home.

 

Find your best hours and plan your day

One of the greatest benefits of working from home is the flexibility of hours. We’ve got the whole day at our disposal in order to be productive. Something that helps working from home more productive is finding those best hours that work for us personally and making a plan for the day. Here’s what some of the team said…

“One of the biggest challenges in working from home is finding the quiet space in your house to do work. I have a 3 year old and 7 month old meaning quiet is not something I experience often. One of the benefits of working from home is the flexibility of hours – which means I can find windows of quiet throughout the day in which to find the right space to be productive.” Cath (Program Director)

“It is not uncommon for work to be interrupted. A co-worker needing assistance with a problem, a client, customer or member of the church needing help or guidance, or the boss asking you to change priorities that weren’t part of the plan for the day. Working from home is no different however now interruptions will take on other forms. For example a child needing attention, someone knocking on your door, or a friend phoning you to share their anxiety about the current state of affairs. Allow time in your day for interruptions. They will happen. Give yourself a little more buffer and aim to have things done the day before they are due.”  Amanda (Finance Manager)

“Over the years I’ve worked from home, one of the things I’ve found most helpful is to determine my hours of work for the day and stick to them. I plan to start at a certain time of the day and set a time when I finish for the day. That way I know when I’m in work mode and when in family mode or ministry mode or friend mode – if you know what I mean. Prioritising work at certain times means I am able to prioritise other things at other times making each part of my life feel like I’m living life to the full.” Rachel (EA & Communication)

 

Find a great environment and routine

Routine is everything when you’re working from home. There are so many things that need your attention all in the same environment. As a team, we identified that having the right work environment and routine was essential to productivity.

“Find a space that can become “work”, even although it may only be temporary. (We don’t know how long this season will last.) Get as much natural light as possible, set up your desk in a way that works best for you and will help make work a place you enjoy. Move some furniture around, put some indoor plans on your desk, do something to make this space feel different than your usual home.” Liesel (Program Manager)

“You can find contrasts when working from home and enjoy the different experiences that result. However sometimes, when working from home, it is easy to allow your household and work routines to blend in together. And the blend becomes bland. Maintaining your household routine is a key that will help you.  (For example, clean your kitchen as you are making breakfast, put the slow cooker on for dinner just like you normally would.)” Amanda (Finance Manager)

“As a morning person, when the house is quiet and everyone else is asleep is generally when I’m most productive. I have found getting even an hour’s work done, before the first “mummy” is yelled, helps me to be a better parent in that moment too. There is something about being awake, having ticked a few boxes and just being “on” that makes the get dressed, breakfast, find lost shoes etc routine a little easier.” Cath (Program Director)

“Take a shower and get dressed in your work clothes and only use your work space for business. At the end of your work day, get changed and walk away from your desk. If you still use your laptop for personal things at night then take it to a different space. As you build this routine it will make it so much easier to click into work mode as soon as you sit down in that space and switch off when you walk away.” Liesel (Program Manager)

 

Find systems for productivity

There are so many distractions when working from home and almost no accountability – Netflix is calling, I wonder where my neighbour is off to now, the kitchen needs tidying etc etc etc… a high level of self-discipline is extremely important and so that’s where a great system for productivity is vital.

“Turn off all notifications. This is something I recommend in all work settings, but this is even more important while working from home. Try not to be surrounded by news all the time! Find times where you can work without all the added distractions of constant notifications and a newsfeed that might initiate anxiety. Try apps like Forest to help keep you focused on big projects.” Liesel (Program Manager)

Pick up the phone. If you are used to working alongside others, allowing you to speak with them in real time then pick up the phone and ask colleagues questions in real time. Trust that they will answer the phone if convenient to them. This practice can make tasks more productive because it allows you to move forward more quickly but more importantly allows you to keep relating via verbal contact – something that is especially critical right now. Rachel (EA & Communication)

 

These are strange and uncertain times in which to be leading. The Arrow team is praying for you as you work and lead differently right now.

Hopefully these tips and insights were helpful for you. Wherever you are working from right now, we want to continue to be helpful, encouraging and resourceful for you in this season so keep checking in with us as we aim to do just that.