If we’re all being totally honest, most of us struggle with productivity at this time of year. Add to that the complication (or luxury – depending on how you look at it) of working from home and productivity can easily slip right out the window. There you are sat at home, coffee in hand, the sun beating down outside, laptop open with the screen staring blankly back at you (as it has been for the last 45 minutes). Without the solidarity of suited and booted colleagues around you and your boss’s office in full view, suddenly every day risks becoming a summer Friday.
Here’s the reality though, summertime or no summertime, we’ve still got bills and responsibilities that aren’t going to pay for themselves. Productivity may come and go – as is life – but for now, we’ve got to snap our brains into gear and boost those productivity levels while working from home.
Let’s start with these top tips.
For many, part of the joy of working from home is the flexibility it allows in your schedule but tread carefully with this one. The structure and rigidity of routine are different for everyone. Most of us understand our own relationship with routine relatively well, enough to know we can’t ignore it completely.
Design a basic structure for your day so that on the days when productivity and concentration levels are lower than usual you can slip into auto-pilot and focus on getting things done.
As a more permanent strategy, many find strategies like task batching a great way to get the most important tasks done in a way that aligns with your routine and productivity levels. The basis of time batching is splitting your days into dedicated tasks. For example, Mondays are always about content creation, Wednesdays are your admin days and Fridays are all about plotting the big picture for your business.
Change things up
Not to totally contradict what we’ve just said about routine, but one of the most important factors in boosting productivity and overall success is being incredibly self-aware. On the flip side of routine, that may mean making changes to your daily structure here and there. Maybe you need a change in scenery the solution to which may mean working from a local coffee shop for the afternoon. Maybe you need a change in approach? For me, this means switching the laptop for old school pen and paper to get writing tasks complete. Maybe the problem is much bigger than a change of scenery and technique. Your lack of productivity may be your body telling you you’re burning out, listen to it and do right by your intuition.
Step away from the laptop
Sometimes, no matter how hard you try, the concentration just isn’t there. You’ve tried the usual tricks and techniques, the Pomodoro technique, the change of routine, the old school approach and nada. Whatever the productivity block going on in your mind is, it’s not moving for love nor money. It’s at this point that you need to stop forcing it. Close the laptop and walk away for 20 minutes. Make a cup of tea, go for a walk, make yourself a nutritious lunch, it doesn’t matter what it is just so long as you’re away from your laptop and not working for those 20 minutes.
You’ll be amazed by how positively your mindset will have shifted when you return to the task 20 minutes later with fresh eyes and a new perspective.