Right now a lot of people are working from home. For some this is a new phenomenon. For some this is not. For some this has the new issue of having extra people there while you are doing it. All in all this is not the usual WFH scenario. Even if you are still in work (or even if you were still going on as if nothing had changed at lot of this still applies)
You need a schedule; a routine. But, before you even start making one, you need to look at the very basic elements of your life.
Sleep. Adults need between 7 and 9 hours a night with a regular bedtime. Which means if you need to be up at 7am you need to be in bed by about 11pm each night. How do you feel right now? This tends to be a good hint at whether or not you are getting enough sleep. Fancy a treat? Have an early night!
Be the same way with your eating. 3 regular meals a day. Keep them to the same times, sensible sizes and healthy foods. No fast foods, no junk and make sure you step away from your work space to eat. Make time for eating so you can enjoy the food and concentrate on the process of eating.
Do less, notice more.
Stop multi tasking.
We spend our whole lives being told we can, and should multi task. But, we cannot. We are not designed to and it actually causes us more stress to attempt to do it. It is less conducive to creative thinking as we are trying to concentrate on too many things at once and it does not allow our brain to really think around a topic. Our brain cannot take time to dwell on ideas and really get to grip with things as it is trying to do too much.
We are creating stress and in turn elevating the cortisol levels in our body. Cortisol is a hormone which we naturally produce but at elevated levels it can lead to health complications including depression and physical issues.
SO how do we stop multi tasking?
First remove the distractions.
The physical ones are easy. The phone, the knitting, the desk toys. Simply put them away where you cannot get to them while you are working.
The tasks are the harder ones. These are more varied when you are at home in the office you are dodging emails, social media, admin, phone calls, meetings but now you also have housework and householders added to the list. These tasks need a time allocating to them so they do not get missed out but do get limited.
Do not be afraid to say I cannot have a meeting this morning because I am working. Just because you work form home does not mean you are free all the time. Do not hesitate to put your phone on silent for the afternoon so you can get things done. And a great tactic for stopping the admin and social media aspect taking over the day is to allocate a specific length of time for them and stick to it.
Your workspace needs to be useable too. You need a quiet and calm space. It should have everything in it accessible and in an uncrowded manner. Keep it tidy!
What are your personal work patterns?
Are you a morning or afternoon person. Me, I do mornings. By mid afternoon I am flagging. So I prefer to power through the rough stuff in the morning and get creative later on. Whichever way round you work best is how you need to do it, if you need 12 coffees to get going then maybe then afternoon is a better place for you to have your power moment.
When working out your day to day schedule you need to break it down. The average adult attention span is only 15-20 minutes, yet we attempt to work for hours at one task. Once we pass a certain point we are no longer concentrating properly. Now I am not suggesting that you stop every 20 minutes for a break, however you do need to build in regular rests in order to boost productivity.
The current UK law states that you are entitled to a 20 minute rest break if working over 6 hours. 11 hours off between shifts, 24 hours off in a week or 48 hours off over 2 weeks. How does this fit with creating productivity?
Take some slow moments.
STOP. Look around in your surroundings. All the time you are subconsciously processing everything, take time to consciously process everything and see the difference. Use your rest time to actually take notice of the world around you. Instead of running around and doing things while you are having your 10-15 minute break give yourself a break. Sit still, have a cup of tea and relax. It can feel alien at first. Trust me, I used to find it almost impossible to stop while I was working, but over time it gets easier to take time for yourself.
Build in your power hour. This is the part of your schedule where you are going to do al the hard stuff; where you will motor through the admin, accounts, emails, social media updates – all the things that if left to their own devices you could end up doing all day. You have already decided when your most productive time is so make sure your power hour is in that time either first thing in the morning or straight after kunch are the best moments. But, most oimportantly, stick to the hour. Once you know which your most productive half of the day is you also use this as your most important project time and the other half of the day is for less important projects. You don’t want to spend all day doing the same thing as this generally does not work.
Although remember, life happens. You done have to be completely rigid to the schedule but do try your best to stuick to it.
– Roll out of bed straight onto the computer
– Go to work in your pj’s
– Eat at your desk
– Start missing your breaks (if you’re mid flow you can keep going and stop a little late but STOP)
– Work late every day
– Forget the weekend exists
– Feel bad about stopping
The point of a schedule is to help you mark your on and off moments. You have to stop work and it is no different whether you are in or out of an office or place of work.
Enjoy your off time so you can be more productive in your on time.