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How to optimise at-home working

Working from home is here to stay, so we’ve rounded up the best daily habits to practice in order to optimise your day, every day. From tools and software that streamline your workload and get you organised, through to tips and tricks for balancing your well-being each day and for the long term. We’re here to uncover the tried and tested methods that leading professionals are embracing.

Get organised by choosing the right tool for the job

Project managers are pros at organising, so learn from the best whatever your role and utilise top project software. Tools such as MS Project are not exclusively for project professionals. They can be used for a variety of applications and can benefit a whole host of careers.

Microsoft Project, for example, allows you to monitor tasks - your own and others - with a smart dashboard for seeing statuses at a glance, saving you time on checking in on every member of staff. It makes assigning work and tracking progress really simple. What’s more, it assists with time planning – keeping you on schedule; and collects data which can be used to review and evaluate performance – flagging areas where you regularly overrun or underestimate the time needed.

Automate everything and anything you can

Whilst we’re on the topic of tech, Industry 4.0 is all about embracing the technologies that are at our fingertips. Automation is now widely available in a host of software tools. Automating tedious, repetitive jobs allows you to focus on higher value-adding tasks such as problem solving and decision making.

Investing the time in set up will soon pay off. Recreating the same tasks over and over can be hugely time consuming, so start by automating your most repetitive activities. Select tools that can handle these automatically for you based on specific conditions. Likewise, instate triggers which automate the next event, particularly for recurring processes. For example, updating the status of a stage to “complete” could automatically pull up the next series of tasks.

Automate everything and anything you can. From automatic reminders and notifications, to templating for tickets, tasks, emails, and more. Automating work not only saves on time, but also smooths operations, keeps communication consistent and helps to avoid problems caused by human error.

Revitalise by heading into the great outdoors

It goes without saying that going for a walk is a great way to balance out working at a desk all day. But beyond the physical benefits, getting outdoors is fantastic for your mental health. So even if it's just for twenty minutes, make a habit of getting out for a walk everyday.

At this time of year nights are drawing in, and by 5pm when you are sick of your four walls, it is dark, and temperatures are dipping. So get outside on your lunch break or even before you start work. To maximise the revitalising effects be sure not to spend the whole walk looking at your phone - leave it at home or put it in your pocket on silent. Walk the dog, walk with a family member, or even walk to take a photograph or two.

Getting outdoors has the power to reduce stress and boost your productivity and focus. It lowers blood pressure and improves immune functioning. What’s more, light exercise can reduce your risk of major illnesses by up to 50%. All in all, not a bad use of your lunch break!

Become obsessed with your calendar

Do you have a daily schedule? Or is it more a case of just ‘doing work’ in between zoom meetings during the hours of 9 - 5? We wouldn’t normally recommend obsession, but in this instance becoming a little obsessed over your calendar can do a lot of good!

Not only does it make each moment of the day count, but it truly works to drive progress by keeping you accountable, focussed and productive. With some clever planning you can be sure to build a daily schedule that allots time for everything. Whilst this will depend a lot on your particular roles, your day should designate time for addressing emails, reviewing progress, meetings, actual task work, and simply just time to think.

Yes, you heard us right, scheduled time to think! Making a habit of taking the time to think before doing can be a fantastic way to start the day. In fact, Forbes reports that you’re about 45% more likely to leave work feeling that "today was a really successful day” if you start your day by reflecting and planning rather than by checking your emails.