Are you reading this blog because you’re procrastinating again? If you Google ‘procrastination’ it brings up a plethora of games to waste your time with (we won’t add the link). But, with many more people working from home than before, how do you ensure that you stay productive when there’s always something to focus your attention on. The team at Dakota Blue all embraced home working during lockdown, so here are our top tips.
Plan your day and expect the unexpected
There are always going to be days when things don’t go to plan. The internet may go down, a child may be taken ill, or a piece of urgent work may land in your inbox. Having a list of urgent and non-urgent tasks that you need to do each day, means that you can have some clarity over what you are doing and achieving, and some leeway if something else comes up. We also recommend using a project management tool such as Trello or Microsoft Planner which are handy ways of helping you to prioritise your work each day. Spacing work out as urgent and non-urgent also helps to reduce stress levels.
Set yourself a time to finish work
If you work in an office or other workplace, you typically finish work when the business closes for the day. Working from home however, means that your laptop is probably open on the kitchen table all day, which leads to fuzzy end times. Setting a hard stop, when you shut your laptop and stop working, can really help with productivity. If you find it hard to stick to that, book in something for half an hour after you are supposed to finish. It could be anything from an exercise class, meeting a friend, or a live podcast, just so you have an excuse to stop working and a time goal to work towards.
Use the Pomodoro Technique
The Pomodoro technique works by encouraging you to break up your day into digestible twenty-five-minute chunks each separated by a five-minute break. For each set of twenty-five minutes, you focus on one activity, with absolutely no distractions. No phone checking, no quick Googles. At the end of each chunk you have five minutes to check your phone, make a coffee, stretch your legs etc. Again, working like this means you are working towards a reward, which therefore increases your productivity.
Avoid your phone
While we’re on the subject of distractions, avoid your phone if you can. Your phone is a very easy distraction (and if you don’t believe us, we suggest watching The Social Network on Netflix). If you can leave your phone in a different room, do it, alternatively put it face down and out of arms reach. If someone calls you, you can still answer it, but will be less likely to be distracted by notifications.
Write down your distractions and come back to them later
Distractions will still flood in, so write them down and address them later on in the day once all the rest of your tasks are finished. A text message doesn’t usually need to be responded to immediately, neither do most emails. Have a list next to you and take thirty minutes at the end of your working day to address anything that has come in while you’ve been working.
Right, now you’ve finished reading, make yourself a cuppa and get on with the next task on your list.
If you have any questions about how to keep your remote team energised and working productively, Dakota Blue are always happy to help. Just get in touch.