Our last post talks about work from home and ways in which you can maximize productivity. If you’re looking for 6 more actionables to improve your focus and productivity when working from home, let’s dive straight in:
1. Keep your phone away
It’s no surprise that tucking your phone away or placing it in another room helps you get done with work quicker. There are no notifications buzzing. There’s no sense of constant emergency to check for updates. The easiest way around this is to set clear expectations with your close ones. Set work blocks on your calendar and do mini check-ins for any emergencies or required breaks. Personally, I believe that social media breaks exhaust you even further. However, it’s best if you choose your own experiences and decide what works for you.
2. Tune down the frequency of meetings
For me, zoom calls and meetings have never been a time-saver. The agenda is always vague and unplanned conversations tend to become a part of them. There’s always the initial greetings and welcomes. The problem scenario and solution brainstorming kind of take a backseat. Not to mention, the energy it drains out of you to exit your flow and prepare to join a call.
Meetings are definitely a way to maintain connection with the team and I’m a complete go-for-it. However, if I’m struggling to meet a deadline, I would prefer for people to text or email me with unplanned asks rather than call me in the middle of my flow of work. Until and unless a huge communication gap exists among the teams, reduction of meetings helps preserve a lot of essential work energy.
3. Productive Music (exists!)
You’ll find lots of playlists on Spotify that are instrumental in nature. These tunes help you stay in the flow and maintain your energy in a soothing way. You can pick whatever helps boost up your speed of work. Music does affect mood and mood affects quality of work. When you’re working out of anxiety, it shows. The more disorganized your emotions are the more disorientation will reflect in your work.
I shall put down some playlists from Spotify under reading references below.
4. Scheduling Breaks into your Calendar
Rest is very important and it’s completely your call as to how you’d like to rejuvenate. You can choose from an array ranging from nap, walk, read, dance and Netflix to help you reset. Pomodoro has personally never worked for me, but I’ve heard others preach of it. What I have found helpful for myself is dividing my work into manageable tasks. Once I schedule these tasks into a workable time-frame, I add in my breaks to the calendar. You can either try that or the pomodoro and check for yourself what kind of productivity mechanism works for you.
5. Schedule Improvement Blocks
Improvement blocks are my favorite blocks. I alternate my work blocks with improvement blocks of 10 – 15 minutes where I read industry-relevant or self-improvement books, listen to motivational podcasts or watch an inspiring TED talk. What this does for me is it helps my mind calm down from a state of work anxiety. I feel better about having spent my time learning something new. Then I go back and perform another work block feeling rested and confident in my abilities.
6. Set work boundaries
This is the easiest of all. I’m not going to elaborate much on this since we’ve been very adamant on this concept. Work boundaries are essential. Create a ritual of not working over the weekend since you not only deserve the rest but desperately need it. No working on birthdays because you’ll come to resent not having your special days to yourself. Say no to unnecessary work post official work hours. This does not mean don’t pick any calls or don’t respond to any mails. Look at the level of urgency and decide for yourself whether this is a genuine request. If the task is important but not urgent, say no. Not everything can be a priority one task and any task of significance should have been ideally notified before-hand. Learn the difference between “actual priority” and “doable tomorrow.” You can try the Eisenhower Matrix to help you decide on the urgency status of the task.
Here are a few references that you can read up for more information:
- The Pomodoro Technique
- Work From Home playlist on Spotify (Not an instrumental, but I find the playlist quite motivating)
- Work Music playlist on Spotify
- Workplace Meditation playlist on Spotify
- Break Time Refresh playlist on Spotify
- Avoid the “urgency trap” with Eisenhower Matrix