Who doesn’t love a few productivity hacks?
Hacks can make our lives a little easier and help us get more done with less effort. And to be honest In the midst of a Pandemic, we all need life to be a little easier. I want to share with you ten of my favourite productivity hacks. These hacks will not just make you more productive but will help you stay motivated and contribute to maintaining your wellness and even sanity.
1. Start the day getting sweaty
You can interpret that any way you like because any exercise in the morning is going to be of benefit to your health and wellness. You could try starting your day with a short high intensity workout to give you more energy, sharper focus and start the day with a win. There are many short HIT (high intensity training) workouts on Youtube that only require 5, 10 or 15 minutes to feel the benefits. Try it out for 7 days and I guarantee you will be coming back for more.
2. Two minutes can change everything
If any task takes less than 2 minutes to complete, do it immediately. Why 2 minutes? Because two minutes is short enough that you can complete a few tasks without filling your day and when you achieve a number of them they give you a sense of achievement. In comparison, if you start doing a number of 5 minute tasks, an hour can pass without doing anything of priority. Once a task is greater than 2 minutes it should be prioritised.
3. Create a positivity bubble
Negative news is all around us in a pandemic, while we have to keep up to date with what’s happening, it is not necessary to check in with the news throughout the day. You will know yourself if you need to stay online for your job or if your personal circumstances require it, but for the rest of us, why not disconnect from the negativity and try and create a positivity bubble during the day. Listen to uplifting podcasts or create positivity for yourself by starting the day with gratitude. It’s difficult to focus on what’s not going right when you are feeling grateful.
4. Get good at taking breaks
It can sometimes feel counterintuitive to take breaks when you are in the flow of work. We think we can keep going with the same spark as when we got started. Our natural concentration span is somewhere between 18 and 22 minutes so that we naturally seek distraction around the 20 minute mark. Sometimes we allow ourselves to get distracted and go check our email, other times we keep at it forcing ourselves to focus. This might work for a short period but as time goes on our focus dis-improves and our brain gets tired. If you take a break you can reinvigorate your mind and your focus and effectively work for longer. Schedule regular breaks into your work day in order to improve your focus but another benefit is that you can spend a bit of time with your family during the day and not feel like you are always shutting them out.
5. Keep the noise out
If you have taken the last piece of advice and you have taken a break with your partner or kids, it then becomes easier to block out the noise when you do go back to work. If you have to work with other people or little people in the house, a good pair of noise cancelling headphones can be a life saver. (Obviously not advised if you are sole caregiver to a small child) but if it is safe to do so block out the surrounding noises and distraction with a good set of headphones.
6. Knock multitasking on the head
We know it doesn’t work, so why do we do it? She says to herself, with 10 tabs open on her laptop. I’m an impatient person, eager to get a lot done. I regularly fall into the trap of having a few things on the go at the same time but experience has taught me that this never helps me achieve more. When I split my focus, my efficiency decreases. There are only two tasks I can do simultaneously and that is sing the wheels on the bus while juggling but I hope you never get to see that!
7. Worship your workspace
Ok so you don’t need to worship your space exactly but you should create a space that’s nice to be in. Clutter free, comfortable and fit for purpose. If you still haven’t set yourself up for working from home, you should do so now. The WFH phenomenon is not going anywhere so you may as well get comfortable with it. Even a nice plant for oxygen for a good lamp can make all the difference.
8. Commute home even when you are at home
Say what? Commute comes from the latin word to change, the middle English to change from one thing to another .So making that transition between work and home is important for your work life balance and wellbeing. Create a ritual to help you wind down and disconnect from work. If you work in a communal area like a kitchen remove the laptop and any paper work. Maybe go outside into the garden if you have one and take a moment to leave the work thoughts aside. Creating a commuting ritual will help to disconnect so you can be present with the people and moments in your life outside of work.
9. Do you need to Stand up?
I don’t mean to bullies or your government, while definitely a topic for another blog, I meant at your desk. Consider standing if sitting all day gives you a pain in the back or in the ass. In several studies people who used standing desks found that they were more alert during the day and thus more productive. Standing desks can be expensive but you can try out a make shift one with a box on top of your desk or a small coffee table. Might not look pretty but if it makes you productive might be worth while.
10. Practise saying no
This last one is not quite a hack but important life lesson; know how and when to say no. We are living in stressful times, every one of us has been affected by the global pandemic and however small your inconvenience is in comparison to others it is an inconvenience your body and mind are experiencing. We all have fears, we all have people who are at risk, so acknowledge this and know that its ok to look after yourself and your family in these times. Its ok to set boundaries and its ok to say no to things that don’t serve you or things that put you at risk or stress you. Trust your instincts and say no if it doesn’t feel right.
Choose a hack, give a go and I hope it will help you power on through the pandemic.
If you want to get more tips for working from home you might be interesting in signing up for my upcoming webinar