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Working From Home Like A Pro
Whether you work from home during the Coronavirus Pandemic or thinking about starting a side hustle you need a good strategy that will help you to work effectively, create motivation and stay focus on your goals during these chaotic times. That’s why today I am sharing with you 10 powerful tips on how to boost your mental focus, make your productivity skyrocket and get in the flow. So without further ado, let’s dive in!
Add Structure To Your Workday
Productivity and effectiveness don’t just happen. To become a highly productive and effective person you need to add some structure to your workdays, otherwise, chaos will prevail and you will be wasting your time and energy trying to regain control over your life.
Structure creates a sense of stability and balance in your everyday life. It helps you to redirect your energy and focus on your top priorities so that you can get important things done with ease. Thus, if you want to work from home effectively without sacrificing your personal life you need to structure your days for maximum productivity and balance. And if you need some help here are 6 steps to add more structure to your workdays:
Be In A Flow With Environment
Dealing with distraction and interruptions while working at home is quite challenging but not impossible. It all depends on how you approach it. From my personal experience, I can tell you that, if you’re not used to working remotely you will need to set up a functional workspace and develop an effective strategy to deal with distractions, time-wasters and all the unnecessary decisions that deplete your willpower early on.
Because if you don’t do it you will be reaching for your phone, checking emails, scrolling through social media accounts, watching Netflix, responding to messages, mindlessly snacking and doing anything besides working. And this is exactly what you want to avoid, right?
So choose a designed workspace, create favourable conditions, decrease the level of distractions to a minimum, choose time blocking method that works for you, plan your daily tasks, make your health your number 1 priority and start your “work from home” journey! Remember that you are in CONTROL of your life, day and work.
Prioritize & Simplify With The Eisenhower Box
Next extremely important thing to do when working from home is to simplify and prioritize tasks, projects and activities that you need to get done during your workdays. Otherwise, you may end up with a jam-packed schedule that instead of increase your productivity and effectiveness will create confusion and stress.
To avoid the hesitation trap caused by too much complexity you need to prioritize and simplify pretty much everything that needs to be done. Simplicity is the key too success. Although it may be tempting to overthink and over analyze everything before you take action, in most cases, it will only make everything much more complex that it ever needs to be.
Ok, so how exactly the Eisenhower Box works? Well, first of all, the Eisenhower Box, also called the Eisenhower Matrix is a visual method designed by President Eisenhower that consists of 4 quadrants:
- DO – urgent and important tasks that need to be done immediately (ex. finishing a client project, paying bills)
- DECIDE – important but not urgent tasks that aren’t your top priorities but you should schedule them to ensure that progress is being made (ex. strategic planning, personal development, new opportunities)
- DELEGATE – urgent but not important tasks that need to be done but they can be done by someone else (ex. responding to some emails, meal prep)
- DELETE – not urgent and not important tasks that don’t add value to your life (time-wasters, distractions, unnecessary decisions, non-critical choices)
Below you will find a free printable copy of virtual Eisenhower Box you can print right now, fill out with a pen and hang over your desk.
Schedule Quality Breaks
There is a huge misconception that taking regular breaks during your workday will ruin your workflow and ability to focus on prolonged tasks. In reality, it’s the opposite. Several studies have shown that taking work breaks can not only drastically increase productivity levels but also significantly improve your mental wellbeing. Not to mention that our ability to focus is a limited mental resource which means that, every once in a while, we need to reboot our brains and restore our mental energy if we want to be productive and efficient.
Scheduling breaks into your workday may be a hard thing to do especially if you are an ambitious overthinking perfectionist – kind of person. However, what you need to realize is that to live a productive, healthy and happy life you need to draw a clear line between work and relaxation. Trust me, a quick 10-minute break during your workday can relax your body, reboot your brain and refresh your focus. Not to mention that you can use this precious time to treat yourself with a delicious cup of coffee without burning your tongue.
Set The Right Priorities With Use The Pareto Principle
Productivity is not only about time management but also about attention and effectiveness. Because if you want to accomplish more in less time you need to identify what produces the most results of all the work you do and focus on those activities. And what better way to do that if not by using the Pareto Principle?
The Pareto Principle, also known as the rule 80/20 developed by the Italian economist Vilfredo Pareto states that 20% of your actions (and the activities) produce 80% of the outcomes. That means that if you manage to identify that 20% correctly you will spend more time doing the right things and as a consequence, you will better results in less time and with less stress!
The 20/80 rule can be applied to pretty much every area of your life, it’s just more visible in regard to work and career. So if you want to boost profitability, enhance effectiveness and increase efficiency, the best way for this is to take advantage of the 20/80 method.
- Find your most productive hours (“peak hours”) – measure your productivity during various hours of the day to find out when you are the most productive
- Set your MITs and schedule them for your most productive hours when your mind is fresh and your motivation is at its highest
- Identify your top priorities using The Eisenhower Box
- Ensure that you are prioritizing your tasks
- Focus on what’s really important and related tasks that are completely unnecessary
Plan Your Work In Advance
An effective schedule means getting things done. So if you want to achieve your goals and priorities within a specified time you first need to plan out your agenda. Otherwise, instead of managing your time effectively and focusing on what’s really matters, you will be wasting the most productive hours of your day. Knowing exactly what you want to accomplish in the time you have available will motivate you to do a good job.
That’s why I highly recommend you to plan, organize and schedule your work the night before so that your working hours can be as productive as possible. In other words, make planning a habit, or focus ritual, as I like to call it, to set yourself up for success the night before your workday even begins. And to help you with that, here are my tips on effective planning:
- Reflect on yesterday and use yesterday’s experience to build a better today
- Identify what went well and what you will do differently next time
- Set your goals and intentions for the upcoming workday
- Plan Your Days According to 3 x 8h rule (8h of work, 8h of productive “me time”, 8h of quality rest. Split your day into 3 parts and you will create a sacred equilibrium, a perfect balance of your mind, body, and spirit.
- Create a Prioritized To-Do List
- Set 3 MITS – the most important tasks (get them knocked out in the early morning, as soon as you can when your mind is fresh)
- Set SMART Goals & Deadlines
- Design an Action Plan for Your Goals
Master Calendar Blocking
Have you ever experience a zone-like state of absolute focus and undisturbed concentration? Would you like to repeat this? What is I tell you that you can enter your brain’s most productive way on command? And what happens if I add that that achieving flow state is easier than you think. Because developing laser-like focus is actually very simple, but it requires some strategy. The strategy comprises five consecutive steps:
- Get out tasks of your head into your notebook
- Add all your tasks to your prioritized to-do list
- Decide on specific time slots in your calendar and reserve them for the tasks (you can also schedule your breaks to boost your productivity levels)
- Work on your tasks within the prescribed time period
- Be disciplined and act on your schedule
I am sure you have already figured out that the strategy we’re discussing here is called time-blocking or calendar blocking. There is no coincidence that the most successful entrepreneurs use this simple time-management method to increase their productivity levels, minimize the cost of the context switching and maximize their commitment to their goals.
If you ask me, time-blocking was a real life-changer for me. I didn’t realize how effective and simple this strategy really is until I tried it. That is why I HIGHLY recommend you to use this technique to organize your task, increase your focus and make your productivity skyrocket.
Batch Similar Tasks Together
Next tip I have for you today has also a lot to do with entering the flow state and achieving absolute focus that is crucial if you want to manage time effectively and increase productivity and creativity. Yes, we’re talking here about batching similar tasks together. This simple act of grouping of similar tasks together such as responding to emails, making important phone calls or doing errands will not only save you a lot of time but also it will increase your efficiency immediately.
I am sure you’ve already noticed that if you switch from one task to a completely different task you lose continuity, effectiveness and flow state. If happens because after having completed one task we need to be mentally prepared to be able to begin with a completely different one.
According to a University of California Irvine study, “it takes an average of 23 minutes and 15 seconds to get back to the task.” That’s an awfully long time. So if you want to drastically increase your efficiency, boost your productivity levels and get more things done in less time you need to start batching similar tasks together.
Working from home can be quite challenging especially if you don’t live alone. Because let’s face it, staying focused, being productive and working efficiently when you share an apartment with family or friends is definitely not the easiest thing to do. But you can make it work with a little bit of willingness, patience and effective communication skills it can work surprisingly well. It’s all about respect and personal boundaries.
Being able to communicate effectively is the most important of all life skills. That’s why you should learn to express yourself clearly, speak openly about your needs, listen attentively and encourage others to do so. This is the way to build strong (and healthy) relationships and make an emotional connection with your “tribe”.
Balance Your Work & Life With "The Rule Of 3"
Last but definitely not least, working from home undeniably offers many advantages compared to working from the office. First of all, you don’t waste time commuting, which can be quite stressful especially if you live in a crowded city where the traffic is an absolute nightmare. Second, you have a flexible schedule what makes you more in control of your time, work and day. And third, we can create a work environment that stimulates your creative and productive thinking. Not to mention that you can wear comfortable clothes like a T-shirt and sweatpants. And who doesn’t love that?! I certainly do!
But there’s a catch: working from home work-life boundaries can get easily blurred. And that’s never a good thing. Because if your personal life suffers you cannot focus on your work and vice versa. The solution to that is to create a system that will help you to balance your work and personal life while working remotely. I’ve got my own perfect formula that I called “The Rule of 3” and I must admit that it not only works but also brilliant in its simplicity. And here it is:
Dedicate 8 hours a day for work. Of course, you don’t have to obey these 8 hours religiously. Just make sure you’re not over scheduling your work. Being busy doesn’t necessarily mean being productive. (Remember about The Pareto principle!)
2. Productive Relaxation (“me time” on a purpose)
Dedicate 8 hours a day for relaxing activities. But don’t spend 8 hours laying on the couch and watching TV. Instead, find your ways to relax productively, for instance, go to the gym, develop your skills, learn something new, gain inspiration or spend quality time with your loved ones.
3. Sleep (quality rest)
Dedicate 8 hours a day for a quality rest. Don’t sacrifice your sleep to accomplish more work in a day because it won’t make you any more productive. Compromising sleep will negatively affect your mental and physical performance. So make sure that you get enough quality rest.
Grab Your Free Printable Workbook
Best Posts About Achieving Goals:
- How To Organize Mind For Maximum Productivity & Balance: 9 Powerful Tips HERE
- 11 Awesome Tools & Apps To Plan & Organize Your Life In 2021 + FREE printables! HERE
- 11 Simple Ways To Develop Self-Discipline & Have Fun Along The Way. HERE
- Maximize Your Productivity: 6-Step Method To Get More Things Done In Less Time. HERE
- Perfect Morning Routine to Reduce Stress & Anxiety HERE
- How To Organize Your Life For 2021: 7 Simple Steps HERE
- How To Set Goals For 2021 And Achieve Them HERE
- 8 Steps To Make 2021 Your Best Year Ever. HERE
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- 9 Best Financial Goals For 2021 & Powerful Tips To Actually Achieve Them
- 11 Powerful Habits That Will Make 2021 Your Best Year Ever. HERE
Stay positive, be Mindful and boost your productivity levels!