Coronavirus suddenly got you experiencing the work from home life? Struggling to be productive and get your work done? Below are the productivity hacks that have helped me the most as I’ve navigated the challenges of working from home in the past 4 years.
-Get up as soon as your alarm goes off. Use Mel Robbin’s “5 Second rule.” When you hear your alarm, count, “5, 4, 3, 2, 1.” And then immediately blast out of bed. Don’t give yourself time to talk yourself out of it. If you happen to wake up and feel well rested before your alarm goes off, GET UP! Consider that extra time a bonus.
-Shower and get dressed. If you don’t shower or get out of your PJs, you’re communicating to yourself that you’re not taking this work day seriously. Get a jump start on the day and look presentable, even if it’s just for yourself.
-Be aware of your social media or TV addiction and make a plan to tackle it. Either abstain altogether during the work day or set aside a certain time of day when you’ll allow yourself to indulge a little. For example, social media is my personal kryptonite. When I’m being responsible, I allow myself to check it for 30 minutes max at a certain time of day, say 4:00PM. That way I’m not left wondering if it’s okay to indulge for “only a few minutes” all day long. Make your plan and stick to it.
-Clean up your work space. Whether you’re working on the kitchen table, a home office desk, or the couch, make sure the space is tidy. This will allow you to think more clearly and stay focused.
-Plan tomorrow’s most important tasks (MITs) today. Before you finish your work day, make a list of the MITs for tomorrow. These are the tasks that will hurt you or your company the most if you don’t accomplish them. Identify them and commit to completing them the next day. Any tasks that don’t fall under this category can be accomplished after your MITs.
-Communicate your plan. Have a partner, roommate, or family member who will be at home with you while you’re working? Be sure to vocalize the work that you’ll be accomplishing that day. It may be easy for them to want to spend time with you or interrupt you during the day. Set clear boundaries and expectations with them before your work day begins. Side note: if said family members are small children, have some grace for yourself and them when interruptions inevitably happen.
-Have a plan for your lunches. It can be easy to say, “I’ll just find something to eat in the kitchen.” But meandering through your kitchen when you’re hungry can take up extra time and brain power. Be sure to have left overs ready, easy-to assemble meals prepped, or your meal delivery service order planned.
-Practice the pomodoro technique. The gist of this widely
used technique is that you set an alarm for 25 minutes and do focused, uninterrupted work until the alarm goes off. You then make a check mark to remember that you’ve accomplished one “pomodoro,” and then take a 3-5 minute break. I prefer to do small house chores or move my body in these breaks. Washing a few dishes, sweeping the floor, taking out the trash, checking the mail, cleaning the bathroom counter, doing 5 pushups, doing 5 handstands, or dancing to one song are all things I do regularly during these short breaks. This gives my mind a brief vacation from the intense, focused work. After my break, I return for another 25 minute focused, work session and repeat. After I have 4 checkmarks, proving I’ve accomplished 4 of these pomodoros, I take a longer break (about 20-30 minutes). This is a good time for a lunch break, brisk walk with the dog, phone call with a friend, or a more time-consuming household chore. When I use this pomodoro technique, I find that I get way more done, while remaining positive, motivated, and refreshed throughout the day. Here is a youtube video with set timers for 4 full pomodoros that you might find helpful.