Work less and play more. The goal for everyone, right? Not too many people want to spend hours chained to their desk while watching the day fly by through the window. Luckily, this new work-from-home era has given millions the opportunity to spend more time at home.
Contrarily, remote work can often carry its own set of burdens in the form of distractions. Here are small tweaks you can make to your mindset that can benefit your workweek immensely and help you take advantage of the time you have.
The key is to prioritize your tasks in order based on importance and urgency; there will always be a rolling to-do list – keeping it manageable is the trick. Be honest with the amount of time it will take you and allow an appropriate window for that. After all, we want to avoid stress and increase efficiency. Prioritizing will help you manage your time efficiently.
There is also something to be said about the power of a pat on the back (even when it’s your own hand). Unexpected tasks will sometimes pop up during the day, but embracing them by writing them down and adding a checkmark ignites a sense of accomplishment. At the end of the day, week, month, you can look back and have physical evidence of all tasks you completed whether planned on or not!
Keep in mind that your productivity, energy, and creativity levels fluctuate throughout the week. Schedule your low-priority tasks for days where you know you tend to falter like at the beginning or end of the week. Creative and demanding tasks can be saved for the middle of the week when you’ve developed your rhythm.
Set aside the first 15-30 minutes of your day to organizing your spread and map out how you will manage your time throughout the day. Create a daily list that will aid in the overall ethic of your workweek goals. This not only helps with functionality but gives your brain a chance to settle in.
Just like you designate tasks for certain days of the week, tackle heavy-duty projects in the first part of your day when you’re most productive. It’s easier to focus when your brain is still rising and doesn’t have room for worrying about other tasks or conversations. It is true what they say- the early bird gets the worm – take advantage of it!
Goals can come in many forms, big or small. Don’t wait for inspiration to strike you when there are so many smaller goals you can accomplish in the meantime right where you are. Even when you feel unsure, trust your motivation, acknowledge that daydream, and get going. Perfectionism harnesses your abilities to simply try. In order to become exceptional at anything in life, we must fail first. Every effort is an experiment and learning opportunity to progress and excel.
It’s also important to note that breaks are fundamental. Studies have shown that the brain stops working as efficiently 90 minutes into tasks. Factor a quick break in every 90 minutes if possible. This can mean blocking out 10 minutes to stretch, take a walk around the block, grab some water, or meditate. It sounds small, but this can make a huge difference in adopting a fresh eye and maintaining high productivity throughout your day.
Where does your time go throughout the day? What are you devoting your energy to and what is that being taken away from? It’s important to run a personal audit and see where the discrepancy lies between your subjective time and reality. Identify tasks that take longer than you expect and set time constraints for these items. By giving yourself limits, it encourages you to focus more on the task at hand and manage your time properly.
Let’s play a game: How many times does your phone ping at you? How many times does your phone ping at you and you pick it up or glance over? How many productive minutes are lost to pings in a day? Do yourself a favor and silence it. John will still be scrolling aimlessly through Instagram when you clock out, and you can call your clingy Aunt Becky later to tell her what you ate for lunch.
Respect your time and leave your phone in another room or utilize that handy do not disturb function. Give yourself allotted times for getting back to people, and then go about your business. If you give yourself boundaries, others will respect them.