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Updated by Johnny Shaw on May 07, 2020
Johnny Shaw Johnny Shaw
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10 Essential Ways to Improve Work Performance During a Pandemic

Working from home is a skill like any other. Coronavirus has transformed the workday for a significant number of professionals, and now many of us must try to remain productive from the sanctity of our home office. But surrounded by the chaos of the domestic sphere and the temptations of your favorite gadgets, how can you possibly find ways to improve work performance?


1. Time Scheduling (Plan and Prioritize)

If you approach each day with only a vague idea of what should get done, chances are good that your work performance will suffer. Start your day by laying out your work schedule in as much detail as you can. Having a checklist by your side will ensure that no task goes forgotten, that breaks are limited to only exact times, and help you to monitor your progress throughout the day. A schedule will also improve your morale as you work - though it may sound cliche, never underestimate the joy of crossing something off of your to-do list. Seeing how much you are accomplishing will keep you enthusiastic and motivated over the hours, increasing the quantity and quality of your work performance.


2. Keep Your Desk Organized

Cleaning up may not sound like fun, but your environment has a huge impact on your state of mind. If your workspace is cluttered and messy, your work performance will suffer. Organize your notes, important documents, supplies, and all other desk accessories you reach for constantly to keep work efficient and quick, and to prevent yourself from forgetting any important information as you work. Additionally, a tidy space is far more pleasant to work in than a cluttered one. Stacks of paper and notes overflowing from your desk is an overwhelming sight, and can urge you to avoid the workspace altogether; an organized space, alternatively, is one that will draw you in and keep your butt in your seat.


3. Set Clear Milestones

When there are no co-workers or bosses around to keep track of your progress, completing daily tasks can feel like throwing your work into a void. By setting clear objectives that you must accomplish each day, you give the abstract concept of work performance a tangible measurement. Each time you finish an objective, you are reminded that your work is a valuable contribution to the office and are able to monitor just how much you've contributed each day.


4. Always Learn Something New

At the office, you are surrounded by intriguing work and co-workers that stimulate your mind and help you grow as a person. In quarantine, many of us feel stifled and stunted, unable to progress as professionals and as human beings. By learning new skills, new concepts, or even just a fun new hobby, you ensure that your mind stays sharp and alert. Employers will see an obvious improvement in the quality of your work when you're brain is in its top shape, so don't forget to keep exercising those brain cells! Learn a new language, research why the sky is blue, or pick up some needles and give knitting a try - as long as you're testing your brain, your work will reap the benefits.


5. Practice Makes Perfect

Some nights, you might lay down in bed and reflect on all that you failed to do throughout the day. During these strange, stressful times, it's important that you cut yourself some slack. If you found yourself distracted throughout the day or forgot to complete an item on your to-do list, accept that working from is a new skill for many of us and that you may just need some more time to master the art. That is not to say that you should not try to accomplish more tomorrow - just bear in mind that practice makes perfect and that it will take a while for working from home to feel natural. In the meantime, forgive yourself for what you did or didn't do, and continue trying to make the most of your time in quarantine.


6. Review Your Work Regularly

While you're social distancing, you probably don't have someone by your side to review your work or to keep you focused. It's vital then that you work in time to review your work each day. Before declaring a task complete, look back at your work and ensure that it's as good as it can be. Did you put as much effort into it as you could have? Did your attention drift half-way through? Can you do more to improve it? Your co-workers will appreciate the improvement they see in your work when you take just a few minutes to check for mistakes, typos, or illogical fallacies. As an added bonus, you can save everyone the time of sending emails back and forth as they nitpick your work if you take a moment to nitpick it yourself. Reviewing your work is a strong skill to get in the habit of, and is one worth continuing even once quarantine ends and you return to the office.


7. Don't Leave Things Undone

You say that you can come back to it tomorrow, but let's be honest - if you do not feel like doing a task now, you will be even less motivated to do it in a day or two. Procrastinating is an ongoing struggle for too many of us, but overcoming this vice is one of the greatest ways to improve your work performance. When you complete your work all in one sitting, your output is far more likely to form a cohesive whole. Leaving parts undone can result in choppy work or, even worse, may result in pieces remaining incomplete upon submission. Ultimately, procrastination is never worth the effort; besides, future you will be grateful when they can kick back and relax rather than stress out over the work you did not complete.


8. Using The Right Tools

It's tempting to take shortcuts, particularly when your accountability is low. Your boss will never know if you only complete a task half-heartedly or with the wrong tools, so who cares if you cut a few corners? While it can be a burden to complete a long, boring procedure for the sake of your work, many of the tools your boss asks you to use exist for a reason. Getting lazy with your work will show in your overall performance, even is you don't realize it, and can end up jeopardizing yourself and your coworkers. And once you start cutting corners, you begin descending a slippery slope of decreased motivation, decreased pride, and decreased output. While quarantine may feel like an opportunity to grow lax about your work, it's best to avoid this decline altogether.


9. Eat Well, Exercise Well, and Relax Well

How you treat your body outside of work has a major impact on your overall performance. By taking care of your body through diet and exercise, you are also taking care of your mind. When your body feels great, your mind will be sharper, more alert, and more able to focus; as a result, your work performance will skyrocket. If you are feeling sluggish or apathetic from the seemingly-endless quarantine, go for a walk, eat some fruit and meditate for a few minutes. When you get back to your desk, you might be surprised to find how much more enthusiasm and energy you have for the task at hand.


10. Learn To Say No

It is easy to assume that the best way to improve your standing at work is to take on every responsibility you can, but a vital part of maximizing your work performance is learning to say no. Overburdening yourself for the sake of impressing your boss is an effort sure to backfire when the quality of your work begins to slip. While accepting a new responsibility now and again can prove to be a rewarding experience, always leave yourself enough time to complete all of your work thoroughly and completely. Additionally, make sure you have time in your schedule to relax from the workday. If your body is left under constant stress for an extended period, you will feel your focus and energy deteriorate. Although your boss might appreciate a person who will say yes to anything and everything, they are sure to prefer someone who consistently follows through on their commitments by delivering high-quality work. If you are committed to improving your work performance, it's important that you leave yourself enough time in the day to do that actually work well.