We all thought that finding focus in the digital age was challenging enough, but over the past year, the world of work has changed considerably. Many are now working from home for the first time and struggling with how to balance their home and work lives.
Trying to complete work assignments at the same table where you normally eat dinner and watch Netflix is hard. Many are finding it difficult to commit to lunch breaks, either worrying that they’ll forget to return to work or that the hour they choose will end up being when their boss calls.
The combination of these worries about an unfamiliar work environment and the struggle to balance your time and space can lead to a decrease in productivity.
If you feel like this is something you can relate to, never fear. Below, we offer five unconventional ways to try and get your productivity back up and running again.
- Focus on the things you can control
Life feels pretty out of control right now for the majority of us, and it’s difficult to get these feelings out of your head. But they’re doing you no good. Instead, consider what you can control and focus your energy on those things.
If looking at your work desk (in your bedroom or living room) is causing you stress, decorate it! House plants are a great natural stress reliever and are aesthetically pleasing too. You’ll enjoy sitting at your desk (or dining table) much more if it’s nice to look at.
Normally work in an office, delivering customer service support or something similar? Then place your internet phone where it would be on your desk to bring a sense of normality to your new workspace.
And now you don’t have your co-workers looking over, take the opportunity to build a schedule that suits you. While working remotely can feel purely negative for those who miss the space and socialization of their workplace, the freedom around your working hours is actually a huge plus point for your productivity.
Also, it’s second nature for most people to check their emails at the start of the day, but how about not doing that? Emails are distracting and you might open one that stresses you out. Leave the emails until you’ve completed a couple of hours of productive work.
Try to discover your energy pattern too. You might be the sort of person who feels most creative and motivated in the evening, whilst your colleague is always up and at it before the clock strikes 10 am. Everybody is different, so find what suits you.
Once you’ve worked out when you’re most energetic, plan to do the daunting, boring tasks at that time. Make an ordered list by using the 1-3-5 rule to boost productivity. This consists of one difficult task, followed by three medium-level ones, and five quick and simple tasks.
Controlling and planning the order that you do certain tasks in will boost your productivity immeasurably and ensure no task gets left behind.
- Change your priorities
If you work for a busy company, your work life will change daily. So why don’t your priorities? Review your list of priorities weekly to check that what you’re focusing on is still the right place to be diverting your energy to.
There are multiple tools to help boost productivity in a business, one of them being calendar syncing software. By syncing the calendars of every member of your team, you can see how your tasks align with those of your colleagues. Doing so gives you the opportunity to judge your own calendar and receive advice from others.
Asking others for help with prioritizing is crucial. When you know you have three tasks to complete, you will struggle to prioritize because you want them all done as soon as possible. Another colleague can give you an objective opinion on which is most important.
Are you the manager or team leader? Then ensuring you have the best employee management software for your business will help you help them to stay on track.
If your company depends on VoIP software, there are also services like Mitel out there. Investing in the best work software for your business will instantly lessen the chances of frustrated and bored colleagues.
- Make a not-to-do list
To-do lists can be helpful, but they don’t stop the procrastination. During the time it takes you to complete task one and two on your to-do list, you might have done a million other things you shouldn’t have been.
Checking your emails randomly to give yourself an extra 30 seconds before starting something you don’t want to can easily turn into an hour after you find yourself going down a rabbit hole in your inbox. So don’t check your emails for no good reason.
Alternatively, you might be the kind of worker who over-complicates tasks or tries to complete them to perfection to avoid moving onto the next assignment. This is where MDM software solutions help. Mobile device management (MDM) helps the workforce to get things done efficiently and gives your business the best mobile software to complement your plans.
- Socialize more
How can you expect yourself to be productive at work when you don’t allow yourself a social life? For those who feel guilty when they do it..chatting with your co-workers most definitely counts.
Team messaging applications for businesses work wonders for productivity. Not only do they help you to fulfill your social needs for the day but they can boost productivity due to their overall efficiency and organizational capabilities.
A major pitfall in many workplaces is that the place you go to ask for help is three tabs away from the place where you find that really important document. Team messaging applications put all of this in one space.
Source: Kim Komando
Just like having your own vanity number can help clients to get in touch with you quickly, having a personalized virtual location for all your colleagues to chat ensures you get the work done faster.
Whether you talk about last night’s TV or exchange phone sales tips, it’s sure to put you in a more motivated mindset.
- And switch off
When your job relies on technology, switching off can seem like an impossible endeavor. But you can do it. And here’s why you should.
Can you think of a time when you have gone somewhere, be that to the shops or the kitchen, without your mobile phone? Without the ability to watch a stupid video or re-read your text messages, your mind actually does some useful thinking.
While you’re phone-free, you may come up with a solution to a difficult task you’ve been dealing with all week. Not to mention, with no social media to distract you, you have less of the unimportant stuff running through your mind.
Switching off as much as you can helps you to participate in what some call ‘mindful working’. Mindful working helps to create a calm and peaceful environment, which is very beneficial to your professional and personal productivity.
We know it can be difficult to take time away from your screen(s!) when your job requires so much screen time. But there are ways to do this.
With the ability to send documents from email to fax, you can definitely give yourself an hour or two away from your computer. Read the document on a physical piece of paper instead of on your screen. Not only will there be fewer distractions when you’re holding a hard copy of a file, but you will be giving your eyes a much-needed rest too.
If you really can’t trust yourself not to open a new tab and search for things you don’t need to, have your work computer block all websites except those you actually require. Only using Microsoft Office and other offline applications? Then turn off the Wi-Fi.
Spending time offline is known to increase our attention spans, so it will boost your productivity no end!
Source: Technology for Mindfulness
More often than not, our shortcomings with regards to productivity are down to ourselves. You can’t help that you may have suddenly been whisked into the world of remote work, but you can help the way you approach this change.
Ironically for most, our productivity tends to fall when we spend too much time working. Keep on top of your work and your hobbies, and your productivity and creativity should soon begin to flow again.