Working from home has been a boon for my productivity.
I’ve wanted to work from home since, well I started working. I’m introverted and dislike interruptions. I’m not good at small talk. I control the air conditioning. The reasons are endless.
Since the pandemic started, I’ve been working from home. I’ve enjoyed the reasons I listed above. However, I didn’t expect to be extremely productive.
I find myself most productive when in a state of flow. In this state, I really only notice myself and the monitor. The keyboard is just an extension of myself. No bug deters me. Unfortunately, I only attain this state for around 30 minutes in the office. This is due to a combination of interruptions and not being in complete control my environment.
For example, I can wear whatever clothes I want. If my head or eyes hurt, I can just go lay in bed for 10 minutes. If the lights are too bright, I can dim them. I couldn’t do that onsite.
Managing interruptions while working from home is easier. I only check my email 3 times per day at 8 am, 12 pm, and 4 pm. My phone number is available to members of my team, but I have the choice of answering calls. If called when I’m in a state of deep flow, I can text back that I’m not available. Then call when it works for me.
This might seem mean. But I’ve found most urgent emails and calls are not urgent. This is what Cal Newport (one of my favorite authors) thinks about keeping a fixed schedule:
I’m not available. I often work in hidden nooks of the various libraries on campus. I check and respond to work e-mail only a few times a day. People have to wait for responses from me. It’s often hard to find me. Sometimes they get upset at first. But they don’t really need immediate access. And I will always respond within a reasonable timeframe and get them what they need. So they adjust. And I get things done.
With complete control over my environment and no interruptions, I have averaged 4 hours of flow per day! It’s probably the most productive I’ve been in my life.