It is 9:09 am, your laptop has finally booted up and you are already behind schedule. Late for the first call with a to-do list longer than the queue at your local Tesco in peak Lockdown times and you just know it. You know that today is going to be yet another one of those work days where minutes turn into hours and your workload doubles by the hour.
Ahead of you are at least another 8 hours of what should be focused work, but your motivation is already somewhere in Antarctica together with your productivity, your creativity and your curiosity. While they are having a great time building snowmen, doing ice fishing and carving igloos you are stuck at your desk and cannot seem to shift the gear from ‘Neutral’ into ‘Drive’.
I think we all have those days, where the most productive thing we do is to make a cup of coffee. Especially when working from home the extroverts amongst us will miss their daily dose of social interaction to keep work fun and interesting. And what felt like a great perk at the start, such as sleeping in, wearing your pyjamas to work, and never having to leave the house will just add to the general dissatisfaction we sometimes get when working from home.
Over the past months a lot of helpful advice has been made available. I have tried a number of the tips and tricks: some worked for me and some didn’t. But even just trying out a new little hack can give us back this spark that brings our motivation back on track.
I am sharing my simple, yet really effective top 3 WFH productivity tips:
- Leave the house before I start working: This may sound ironic when we have to return back into our houses to start working, but I feel there is nothing more satisfying than leaving the house in the morning and shutting the door behind me. It makes me feel ahead of the game, gives me that extra bit of sunlight and fresh air, and allows me to accomplish something before the day has even really started. An added bonus is of course given to those who put on their running shoes and exercise. But even those who (just like me) simply stroll once around the block will love these morning walks.
- Schedule breaks every 1.5 hours: Many people schedule their lunch breaks in their calendars. I definitely see value in doing this, but recommend taking this even further. When I have large blocks of time available in my calendar, I slice and dice my work day into digestible chunks. I schedule deliberate small breaks every 90 minutes and use these slots to do something fun, like going for yet another walk, making an omelette, or doing a 10 minute workout. Not only does this help my brain to process the information I continue feeding it with, but these breaks also give me something to work towards. This makes you more productive in the time slots I have given myself for work
- Tune out the world with fast-beat music: Sometimes there is simply nothing better than leaving the rest of the world behind and completely losing yourself in your work. What always helps me to get into that mind space is putting on my noise-cancelling headphones and playing fast-beat music. I often choose one of the various Gym Motivation Mixes available, ensure I have a fresh cup of strong coffee next to me and a clean work space in front of me. The music and coffee help me speed through my work and to ensure I focus on the right things, I try to run through a quick clean-up exercise beforehand. I bring myself to remove anything that is distracting and not directly related to my work (Smartphone!), close all those open unrelated internet browser tabs, documents and e-mails. If I want to be extra effective I timebox the tasks I need to do and challenge myself to work faster by setting a timer for myself.
What are your top tips for productive working from home?
Please leave a comment below 🙂