Many of us have been working from home for almost a year now. And, while some thrive taking meetings from their couch, others struggle without the proper environment buzzing around them, lacking focus and motivation.
If you fall into the latter camp, here are some simple strategies to bring you back on track.
1. Create a Dedicated Workspace
Before the Pandemic, many dreamed of working from bed, but now boundaries have proven to be more vital than ever.
Having distance, no matter how little, between the part of your home where you work and the part of your home where you refresh gives you the ability to "turn off" at the end of the day.
By contrast, if you're working in your bedroom, you will begin to associate what should feel like a sacred space with a place of work. Cue: a feeling of being unable to "escape" your stress.
2. Schedule your Days
Without a solid structure to your week, time can slip away easily. Tasks that should take 20 minutes drone on for hours. Projects that should take days stretch on for weeks.
To avoid this, create a realistic schedule for yourself based on your goals and deadlines. Incorporate as little or as much is helpful to you without overwhelming yourself. This may include meetings, small tasks, intensive tasks, and breaks.
3. Work in small intervals of time
The Pomodoro method is a well known time management system that is loved by many. It boost focus, efficiency, and, in the long run, reduces stress.
Here's how it works.
1. Break your workday down into 25 minute chunks, separated by 5 minute breaks. (These intervals are called pomodoros.)
2. After 4 pomodoros, take a longer break (~15 to 20 minutes).
We tend to get distracted when our timelines feel blurry and open. This method works by instilling a sense of urgency. Using this technique coerces the mind to zero into the task at hand and get it done.
4. Prioritize Your Self-Care
Self-care can mean a range of things, of course. It encompasses everything from feeding yourself nourishing foods and drinking plenty of water, to getting adequate sleep, to committing to taking 5 deep breaths every hour, to saying "no" to plans when you genuinely need to rest.
It is your responsibility to meet your physical, social, and emotional needs. If you have a hard time putting yourself first, consider this: your work depends on it.
When you care for yourself, you're better able to show up. In all aspects of life, but notably in work. When your cup is filled, you're healthy and eager to be productive—no further motivation required.
5. Nix Distractions and Interruptions
Commit to leaving your phone on silent, or better yet Do Not Disturb, while you work. Check it only once an hour for ten minutes tops. This instantly limits the amount of time spent on texts, emails, and social media.
If the Internet at large distracts you, consider Internet blocking apps for your desktop like Freedom.
If you have kids in the house, you can occupy them by giving them activities to do. For instance colouring, reading, crafting, etc. You could also benefit from teaching them about the concept of "working hours," AKA time in which you are not to be disrupted unless necessary.