If you’ve ever tried working at the kitchen bench during school holidays on a rainy day, you’ll know just how tough it is to avoid distraction. You don't need a survey to tell you just how disruptive noise in the workspace is (although there is plenty that confirm it!), so do yourself a favour by taking the time to set up a specific space for working. Convert the spare bedroom to your office or pick a quiet spot away from the household hustle. If you’ve got a door to shut, even better. Invest in an ergonomic desk and office chair and if you can swing it, a second screen is a lifesaver. Make sure you’ve got a solid connection and test your camera and mic pre-meeting. There’s more embarrassing things than being the one with tech issues on the video call, but productive workers leave those shenanigans to the less prepared.
Not-secret #2: They make routines
We’ve all heard it before: bounce out of bed, dish up a gourmet breakfast, pour out some caffeine and get down to it. And hey, this might work for you, but if you’re human there’s a good chance this is going to be pretty hard to replicate EVERY SINGLE DAY of your working life. Instead, set yourself achievable daily goals. Early bird? Great, get stuck in while you’re at your best and then schedule in a walk with the dog when the 3pm slump sneaks in. Late riser? No problem, catch your zzz’s and when you check in, set all your notification to silent for two hours of hardcore work time. Find out what works for you and calendar block your week in advance. Check out this tutorial from Simpletivity for some ace calendar blocking tips.
Not-secret #3: They take time to plan
If you think putting together a work plan is a waste of time, you’ve clearly never seen a Trello board in all its glory. Jokes aside, planning your day, week and month will provide you with the clarity to see the wood from the working trees. At the start of your week, calendar block half an hour to collate all the tasks requiring action. Include your routine daily jobs, as well as any special projects needing attention. Chances are, your list could look pretty overwhelming- and that’s where your daily plan comes in. Break your lists down into achievable chunks, set up your time blocks in the calendar and get stuck in. At the end of each day and week, review and consolidate your lists. Give yourself a pat on the back for everything you got done, and for those task still lurking, reassign and commit to getting them off your plate. Trello is a lifesaver for planning, check it out here.
Not-secret #4: They take breaks and look after themselves
Sounds counter-intuitive, right? How can you be productive when you're not working? Psychology Today tells us there’s a plethora of reasons why we should give our brains a rest. Not only are breaks important in preserving your physical and mental health, research suggests taking a timeout can also prevent decision fatigue and restore your motivation, particularly for long term goals. They replenish your energy and creativity and can help with memory creation and retention. Breaks also help you avoid burnout. If you’re struggling to get motivated or feeling overwhelmed by the constant buzz, it could be time to down tools and rest up. Check out this article from Laurel Farrer if you want to know more.
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