Working From Home – Productivity
Productivity Hack – How to motivate yourself when working from home. Of course, sitting down and doing the hardest and biggest thing first, isn’t always easy. It’s one thing to set yourself rules for working, but it’s quite another to stick to them!
With so much to do, how can you make sure that you stay on-course and actually do it? Especially when it would be so easy to grab a good book and a hot drink, and then retire into the armchair that’s right there in the corner of the room! This is where you need some productivity hacks!
Setting Awards for Yourself
Coming to our rescue is a tip from the book “How to Save an Hour A Day” by Michael Heppell. He says that you should set yourself smaller goals within a project, and then reward yourself for completing those. So for instance, if you normally start your day by going to make yourself a coffee, then browsing through emails, and having a cheeky look at Facebook, that needs to change.
It is about half nine and you’ve so far achieved nothing! That’s a deflating way to start your day. So instead: sit down, eat the frog, and set out to write that massive project, or to complete the big data entry task… but then set yourself a target for the first chunk of work (perhaps N number of data rows).
At this point, you can go and have your coffee. And then when you complete another chunk of work that you set as a goal, you can go and answer those emails. NOW by 9.30, you have already completed a huge chunk of your work and you’ll feel far better about yourself as a result. What’s more, is that you’ll often push yourself even further: you finish those 20 rows of data and then you think. Why not do ten more before the coffee?
Leaving Work Unfinished
Another way you can encourage yourself to dive straight into your biggest task is to leave a project incomplete the day before. Now, this might sound quite counterintuitive! Most of us assume we should try to polish everything off when we finish for the day.
But in fact, when you know that you’ve got 3,000 words to write tomorrow, you should try to write 400 words of it before you finish your day. So you’re not leaving work incomplete that you were meant to complete today – you’re not completing less work. All you’re doing is making a start on tomorrow’s project.
Firstly, that means you don’t have to start a project fresh first thing in the morning. Looking at a blank screen is the most jarring and most difficult part of completing any task for many people! At the same time, this now means that you will have an emotional urge to complete that task. Our brains hate leaving work unfinished – it makes us itchy! And so the fact that there is an open, unfinished task, just sitting there on your desktop, means that you’re far more likely to just get stuck in.
Overcoming Writers’ Block
But what if you don’t have this luxury? What if you didn’t get a chance to start the work the day before?Staring at a blank screen is hard work for anyone. Writers’ block is NOT something that only affects writers! So the other big piece of advice I can give you is this: just start coding. Just start writing. Just start designing.
Even if the quality of the work appears to be poor. Even if you are feeling slow and sluggish and you aren’t sure if what you are producing is high quality, just get working! What this will do is to help you to get into the flow. Now you can always go back and check that what you wrote was okay. But in order to get into that “flow state.” In order to get productive, you just need to push past that initial resistance.
And again, this is good training. It forms good habits. And it will help you to just get stuck in the future.
Finally, the most important thing you need to recreate if you want to be productive while working from home, is accountability. At home, you might find yourself browsing Facebook for too long, or wandering off to raid the fridge. Why does this happen at home and not in the office?
Simple: at the office, there are people watching you to make sure you don’t do those things! Likewise, your manager might swing by to see how much work you’ve done!
You’re accountable no matter where you are and who is watching you. At home, you don’t need to show your work until it’s due. Therefore, you can easily put off doing it until right before you’re supposed to hand it in. Of course, that means a mad dash at the end of the day, which ultimately results in your work coming completely unravelled!
One way to reintroduce that accountability, is to use apps, websites, or even pacts with your friends and loved ones. Many people will ask their partners to check in on how much work they’ve done, and to then “punish” them in some way if they fail to complete the work! I personally don’t believe this is particularly feasible in the long term, nor particularly healthy!