7 Things I do to stay productive while Working from Home

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We are living in difficult times where Work from Home had become the new norm for Software Developers. The biggest challenge that people face while working from home is staying productive. After 8 months of working from home continuously and trying different techniques and methods, there are some of the techniques or ways I am following regularly that are helping me in staying productive at work as well as while learning.

PS: If you don't have time to read the entire blog skip to the end of the blog and check out the section In a nutshell

1. Pomodoro Technique

Pomodoro Picture Source: entrepreneur.com

The Pomodoro Technique is a time management method that uses a timer to break down work into intervals, traditionally 25 minutes in length separated by short breaks. You might be thinking what's the benefit behind this? Well, there is actual science behind it. For the 25 minutes, your brain goes into Focus mode where your brain processes very specific information deeply. When you take a break after that your brain will go into a Diffuse mode where it gets time to analyze the information at once but in less depth and make the neural connections strong.

You can customize this technique to the way it works for you. I personally follow 45 min of focused work and 15 minutes break. For tracking the time I use Flow app on my Mac and I put my phone on Zen Mode (Available on OnePlus phones) to avoid any distractions.

2. Active Learning

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I use Active Learning whenever I have to learn something whether it is related to work or personal learning. Whenever I try to learn something I try to make notes at regular intervals or I try to implement it alongside.

We can watch video tutorials, read articles, and other things for a very long time but without taking notes or implementing something related to that will deteriorate over time. This type of Learning is called Passive Learning. Passive Learning might look easy and helps us to finish things quickly but in the long run Active Learning is what saves our time as we might not need to revisit what we have learned completely.

FYI: For note-taking, I still use a notebook and a pen. Old school but I think it is still the most efficient way to jot something down.

3. Exercise regularly

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Not only exercise will help you in staying fit it will help your brain in getting relaxed. To reduce the stress, get out and workout or exercise every day. Even if it's just 20 minutes of running or jogging. Exercise will help clear your mind and keep you focused. You may think that being chained to your desk will mean that you get more things done, but it actually works against you.

I am feeling more energized after started doing exercise daily. Working out for at least 5 days a week will bring a difference in your life. Start slow, like basic stretches and all, but doing it consistently makes the difference.

4. Sleep well

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Getting enough sleep is one more important thing that helps you in staying productive. You might think why should I waste time sleeping but believe me I used to think of it the same way but there will be a lot of difference if you give your body enough rest.

From the past few months, I started sleeping for at least 7-8 hours a day. This is enough for me, keeps me active without any fatigue for the whole day - Your's might vary as it varies from person to person.

A good night's sleep will reflect on how productive you feel the next day, so ensure you make sleep a priority.

5. Read Books

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I have never been a person who reads a lot of books. I tried buying some books thinking if I buy them I might read them but I was not able to. I wanted to change that habit as books are the source of atmost knowledge so tried something different and started listening to audiobooks. This actually worked for me, Now I am constantly listening to them and it is also helping me in getting screen-off time during the day.

If you are like me then try audiobooks or e-books something might work for you as well. Start with the topics that you like the most and then switch to the books that help in shaping your career.

These are some of the books that might help you in kick-starting your reading journey

Soft Skills: The Software Developer's Life Manual

The 10X Rule: The Only Difference Between Success and Failure

Deep Work

6. Commit to a challenge

Challenging yourself is the best way to get the most of your time. Committing to code every day or 100 days of code or any other challenges like these will help you stay motivated and get the best out of you.

I found myself more productive from the time I committed to 100 days of code. This kept me motivated and I pushed myself beyond the limits as I had to manage my work and complete the challenge. Find something like this that you think helps you in being motivated and commit to doing it right away.

As a matter of fact, at the time of writing this article, I am on the 90th Day of 100 days of code challenge. So wish me good luck.

If you are afraid of committing something that lasts for a long time try to break it down into small things like 10 Days of Code and by doing this 10 times you will eventually end up completing 100 Days of Code. Chunk your goals into small realistic goals that work for you does not matter how small as long as you are achieving something.

7. Track progress daily

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Keeping a track of your progress helps you in staying focused. Track your every day wins like a workout, hours of learning, coding time, and other things you are doing to stay productive. At the end of the day when you see that you have finished today's goals, it will help you sleep better and wake up motivated.

To keep track of my goals I use an app called Stickk

LAND MINE

These are some of the techniques and methods that worked for me. These might not work. You don't have to follow each and everything that I followed. Feel free to choose the ones that suit your need and might work for you or customize these techniques based on your need.

-> In a nutshell

The following are some of the techniques that I have been using for 8 months to stay productive

  1. Pomodoro Technique: A time management technique to break down work into intervals with breaks in between.
  2. Active Learning: Write or Practice things alongside while learning
  3. Exercise Regularly: Try to exercise every day for 20 minutes or so to stay fit and letting your brain go off the stress.
  4. Sleep well: Sleep for an adequate amount of time to give your body and brain some rest
  5. Read books: Reading books or Listening to audiobooks regularly helps in improving your skills and get some screen-off time during the day.
  6. Commit to a challenge: Take up a challenge like 100 days of code or something that helps you in staying motivated.
  7. Track progress every day: At the end of the day track your day's progress. Finishing all your goals for the day helps you to have better sleep and makes you ready for the next day.

Let me know in the comments section about what techniques you find useful. I will give it a try. Until then Peace ✌️ .

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Edidiong Asikpo's photo

This is one of the best articles I have read today. I found the Pomodoro Technique very interesting and would love to give it a try but I am worried that I won't be able to do it consistently.

How do you encourage your self to take short breaks in between? I literally sit down for hours before standing up and I think it will be hard to change that.😭

Raja Rahul's photo

Edidiong Asikpo Glad you liked it. Yes, taking breaks might be challenging at first. I started it by doing a few things like drinking plenty of water - I used this break to hydrate myself as it is also important to stay productive. After getting used to it I started walking around while drinking and think about what I should achieve during the next interval. It might seem time-consuming at first but It actually helps a lot.

Edidiong Asikpo's photo

Nice. So I basically need to find something that will motivate me to stand up.

Just like you said, drinking water is definitely a good motivation. I also like the idea of thinking of what to do at the next interval. This is fantastic Raja Rahul. Thank you.

Nikhil JSK's photo

Very interesting article Rahul. I totally agree with all the techniques you've mentioned. Personally, I love tracking your progress daily, that keeps you motivated! 👌