With the coronavirus leading to more content creators working from home, productivity is becoming a struggle.
There is so much to do without the stimulation of the workplace to do it in—transition to a remote team environment can be hard on everyone.
You need to recognize these seven things that are killing productivity when working from home and learn how to combat them.
1. Editing as You Create
All content creators have been guilty of this—it’s human nature to take a break from your writing and re-read what you’ve already written.
You might do it because you believe you’ve missed something important or that re-reading what’s already written will give you more impetus to continue.
But this is a mistake—editing as you write will eat up your time, and will often send the guest posting ideas you have in your mind scurrying away.
You don’t want that to happen, so the best way to keep your productivity up is to write your entire piece first and then go back and revise.
You will find it easier to make edits if your piece is already complete—then it is simply a matter of restructuring, catching typos, and tightening up your phrasing.
The best way to revise your content is to write it completely, do an immediate revision to catch smaller mistakes.
Come back the next day with a fresh viewpoint to add in points you may have missed, or to improve the flow of the work.
Taking these breaks from your work will help you revise it better—you will have had time to focus on other tasks that will improve your ability to objectively look at the piece.
This method will help you create stronger content without losing too much time.
2. Not Taking Breaks
Writers have one very bad habit—once they start writing, they don’t stop to take a break. This means sitting for long hours, not drinking enough water, and sometimes skipping meals.
When you’re working from home, these issues get compounded. And it is very bad for your health and well-being. But wait, it gets worse.
Far too many writers work odd hours at home—too cognizant of looming deadlines, they often work more than 8-9 hours a day, sometimes well into the wee hours of the morning.
Don’t do this, no matter how much work you have. Yes, once you get into the writing groove, all you want to do is write, but you have to take breaks.
Scheduling your day is a good idea—when you are in your office space, you probably work from 9-5. Do the same as a freelancer—you can use productivity tools to stay on track.
If you have meetings with clients in different time zones and have to give up some time in the evening or on the weekend, take that time off during your regular working hours.
Avoid working through the night—the inverted lifestyle where you sleep during the day and work at night is very bad for your system.
Take breaks from work and you will find that your productivity at home increases exponentially.
3. Getting Distracted
Procrastination happens to everyone, not just writers. When you have a project to work on—in office or at home—all you can think about is how difficult the work is,
With that mindset, any distraction will feel welcome.
But that isn’t going to help your productivity one bit. If you find yourself taking breaks to check your social media or to read your email, you are clearly looking for distractions.
Keep your phone away, or install a social blocker on your browser so you can’t see your social media during working hours.
It helps to build a timeline of the daily tasks in front of you and their deadlines—refer to it whenever you feel too distracted to get you back on track.
There are some distractions beyond your control—if you have family members at home, explain to them the importance of maintaining your work schedule.
Choose a dedicated area in your home which will act as your office space—that will help you get into work mode and make it less likely that you will be distracted.
4. Not Researching
When you are working from home and have little contact with colleagues, it can be tempting to focus all your efforts on the work, to the detriment of all else.
The first thing one stops doing is researching—reading the work of fellow marketers, articles not related to work but that could influence you, and reading books, both fiction and nonfiction.
Reading helps to expand your mind—even when you aren’t reading something for work, you can get ideas from the fiction you read, or the articles you see on social media.
Take the time to read and learn new things because that will help you generate brand new concepts—which you can plot in a mind map—and pitches that you can bring to your colleagues and managers.
This will help broaden your horizons, make you more productive, and help you get more done.
5. Asking for Opinions
No writer thinks they’ve written a masterpiece—which is why most blog writers ask for the opinions of people they trust.
This is easier in the workplace when you can ask the colleague in the next cubicle for their thoughts.
When you’re working from home and people are suddenly on different schedules and have different commitments than you, this becomes a challenge.
That doesn’t mean that you can’t reach out to the usual pool of people that you turn to regularly for feedback on your writing.
They may not give you their immediate feedback, but they will eventually get back to you—you can use feedback tools to streamline the process.
You can also consider asking close friends and relatives for their opinions if you really feel the need to.
A second or third pair of eyes on your work can be great—you are very close to your work and it’s easy to gloss over mistakes or realize that something could be made clearer.
However, there is such a thing as too much feedback—you don’t want an endless parade of people telling you how to change your content.
Choose two or three trusted advisors who can give their opinion on your writing, but avoid asking more people to weigh in. Trust yourself.
6. Not Knowing the Subject
A guaranteed killer of productivity is working on subjects that you have absolutely no idea about.
When you are in the workplace, it is easier to pass it on to someone more qualified—everyone’s around you, after all.
But when you’re at home, you will likely spend more time writing emails and using the team chat tool asking if people are free to do the project. It’s easier just to do it yourself.
This means taking on a task that you’re not familiar with and that can be terrifying, not to mention, career-derailing.
Though it may be a hassle to find the right person for the task, it’s much better than taking on something you aren’t equipped for.
Chances are, it will have to be redone by your more knowledgeable colleague anyway, and you will have wasted all that time for nothing.
Choose your tasks carefully, and try and pick those that are compatible with your abilities, so can be your most productive self at home.
7. Taking on Too Much
As we mentioned, working from home often leads to people losing track of time. One becomes tempted to take on as much as possible because you feel like you have more time.
If you don’t have a project management tool to keep you on track, you can lose yourself in work.
However, that isn’t strictly true—you don’t have to dress up for work or commute but working from home means dealing with the house, making your own meals, and taking care of children.
This is why taking on far too many tasks at home will leave you with no time to yourself, to research, or to meet your deadlines.
If you have too many deadlines closing in without the time to finish your work, you will end up getting burned out, which will definitely kill your productivity.
Assess how much you have on your plate and understand the bandwidth that you can cope with before agreeing to any more tasks. That will help you be more efficient.
Conclusion: Write First, Think Later
The most important thing to remember with regards to productivity when working from home is that you need to write what’s in your head.
Get it out in a document and you can work on revising, taking on new projects, and other distractions later.
Take the breaks you need for your health and wellbeing so that you can be prolific and efficient.
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