Here you will learn how to set your focus correctly and fulfill your work full of productivity and motivation despite Corona from home.
Especially now at the time of the Corona virus, many people are affected to continue at least part of their actual work at home. Others are self-employed and work a large part in their home office anyway.
Regardless of which of these two groups you belong to, here are a number of tips for you on how to be more productive from home, be more motivated, achieve your goals, and have more free time.
Even though you should have less to do now due to the precautions we’ve ordered, at the end we have two more ideas for you on how to prepare yourself for the time after the current situation to take off even more in your business!
So don’t just look at the problems through Corona, embrace them as opportunities for you!
How can I minimize my distractions at home and work more focused?
Working at home presents a big danger for some people: distractions!
They don’t stay on top of what they’re supposed to be doing, but procrastinate. In between cooking, grabbing a snack here and there, watching the news in between, calling friends and family to ask how they’re doing, and the floor needs to be mopped. If you have children who can’t be cared for elsewhere right now, they too, no matter how much you love them, may be interrupting your work flow.
All of this keeps us extremely distracted from what we originally wanted and should be doing: Work productively.
The biggest distractors are cell phones, social media use on the computer, and constantly checking and responding to emails. However, before we get to these areas, you should definitely think about strict rules in advance, which are the most important thing of all for working independently at home.
1. Set clear and unbreakable rules for yourself
Consistency and self-discipline are the essence of successful home office work.
The first rule should define the beginning and end of your workday. In this way, you commit yourself to keeping your own deadlines. This is important because, on the one hand, fixed times structure our day better and, on the other hand, there is a clear separation between work and private life.
Another rule could be that you build in fixed break times and do not use the walk to the toilet for something else (checking the private messages received, doing the dishes, etc.). You can also use breaks for short sports exercises to loosen up a bit and get back to work with more concentration.
You should also set up such rules with regard to the other points listed.
Do not find excuses to break these rules. Even the smallest infractions distract us more than we think, hindering our work flow and productivity. If you stay consistent, you will most likely have enough time left in the evening for leisure and other activities. Think of this as reaching a daily goal and stay on track.
2. Minimize the source of distraction smartphone
A study by the University of Austin in Texas used 800 participants to investigate the best way to avoid being distracted by a cell phone: They concluded that people whose smartphones were in another room stayed much more focused than those who had it in their immediate vicinity.
So if no customers normally call you on the mobile number and you have a landline phone, please tell your boss to contact you on this and not on your cell phone. Then you can safely leave your smartphone on mute, or better in flight mode, in another room.
If that’s not possible, because you always have to be reachable, then turn off the sound of your messenger and the notifications of apps and put your cell phone in a drawer. That way, you can still hear and answer calls, but you won’t be interrupted by other messages that are irrelevant at the moment.
3. Close Facebook, LinkedIn, Whatsapp and Co
This tip may sound trivial, but it can really be enormously helpful. If you don’t need these social networks for your work, you should definitely turn them off on your PC as a potential distraction. Just like news sites, video portals and the like. Otherwise, they will only keep you away from your real tasks.
After you’ve finished your workday, you probably still have enough time to network or chat here.
If you tend to open such an Internet page now and then during your actual working hours, which is not relevant for your work, a page blocker may be recommended. These are available for all browsers as add-ons.
Here you can find three concrete add-ons for the Google Chrome browser:
1. The add-on “Blocksite” completely blocks certain pages for you, which could limit your productivity and whose temptations you can resist only with difficulty.
2. The browser extension “News Feed Eradicator for Facebook” turns off the Facebook news feed. Instead, you get a nice quote from a famous person in the place of the news feed. So if Facebook is a part of your daily work, this add-on will help you not to be distracted by any incoming news and other suggestions. In this way, you will avoid the danger of browsing Facebook a lot in your actual working hours, watching long videos and satisfying the desire for more and more new information.
3. “Remove Recommendations Youtube VK Facebook” helps especially those who are easily distracted by YouTube. It explicitly displays only the videos that you really searched for using the search input. Once you have watched the video in question, no more suggestions will follow. The program minimizes the temptation to continue watching any possibly interesting or entertaining posts from the suggestion list, and you stay more focused on your work.
You may also want to use a work-only computer or an additional partition that you use only for your paid work.
You want to have more reach online and gain more leads? Then arrange a free initial consultation with the monkey-strong online experts of Monkeys.Digital here now!
4. Schedule fixed times for e-mails
Contrary to the often-assumed thesis that multitasking is good, it’s actually not true at all. Rather, you need more time for the same contingent of tasks if you try to do it simultaneously.
For this reason, it is important to focus only on one particular activity. Especially reading, answering and checking mails cost an immense amount of time and keep us from doing other things. Therefore, you should definitely turn off notifications for new e-mails and schedule fixed times for your e-mails and also keep them. If it is one of your main professional tasks, set up a one- or two-hour cycle for it. If something is more urgent, they will call you directly.
5. Clear your desk beforehand and set up your own workspace
Analog objects can also cause us to do something else and not work. This is especially true for TVs and radios in your study. If you do have these devices near your desk, keep them turned off during working hours. In addition, a tidy desk without utensils that we do not need to work is a suitable strategy to avoid distractions. So we don’t read in our private documents and books, listen to what is said on the radio with one ear, or play around with anything.
The goal is to create a separate workspace that keeps you from mixing work with personal life. Then you’ll stay mentally on task more easily. By keeping our desks as empty as possible, we have less in our field of vision overall that can unconsciously take up our mental capacity.
Furthermore, a clean workplace creates a more pleasant atmosphere and we can think in a more structured way.
In addition, it helps if you have enough light, preferably daylight, at your desk and if you ventilate your workroom well several times a day.
6. For parents: Arrange care time for the children
Couples who live together and have children should split childcare time. This allows each of them to work a few hours a day without interference. Unfortunately, single parents in particular are biting the bullet at the moment. Since schools, kindergartens, daycare centers, etc. are also closed, they probably have no choice at the moment but to take care of the children themselves, which means that their work suffers.
If you already have older, almost grown-up children, they could perhaps look after the younger ones for a few hours. Only if there is already personal contact with the grandparents every day due to the living situation, they should supervise the children.
However, you should be careful now: If your parents do not live together with you in an apartment or a house and have not had any personal contact with both you and your children in the last few days, please do not involve them in your care. Elderly people in particular fall into the risk group and unfortunately do not have the best chances of survival after infection by the coronavirus.
And please always remember: Wash all your hands regularly and intensively (approx. 30 seconds). This not only helps you, but also the people with whom you might come into contact.
7. Daily schedule for household activities
Even if you work at home now: Working time should be used to work for income. Therefore, it is very important to make a plan for household activities.
Why don’t you postpone cooking until the evening and prepare a little more so that you have something for lunch during the break the next day? Your thoughts will no longer revolve around wanting to get into the kitchen to cook now. Plus, you won’t have to rely on a cafeteria, delivery service, or going out of town to get lunch.
Likewise, vacuuming and mopping have to be put on the back burner. After all, that’s not what your employer or customers pay you for in the home office.
8. Write down the things that occupy your mind
We often think of something and can’t get away from an idea quickly. So that these thoughts don’t keep you from working, always have a notebook next to you to write down your flashes of inspiration. It’s best to use a classic notebook or pad and not an app or file on your computer. Otherwise, you could be distracted from your work by reading messages, going through other files, or otherwise digressing.
Once you’ve completed your current task, you can always transfer your thoughts from the notebook to other media.
Other strategies to make you more productive in your home office
Now that we have virtually eliminated all major potential sources of interference, let’s turn our attention to how else we can increase our productivity in the home office.
1. Set a mandatory morning routine
Nothing gets us off to a better start in the day than a good morning routine. This is actually always true, but especially true in the home office, since we often can or must schedule the time when we start our work ourselves.
A fixed routine and thus a binding time at which we get up helps us to become aware of the seriousness in the home office. After all, this is actual working time. After all, just because you’re tired, in most jobs you wouldn’t otherwise be able to come into the office at noon to work; at least if you want to continue to be employed by your employer.
If you have a strict routine every day after getting up, a certain daily routine will also manifest itself and you won’t get into a dawdle so quickly. Here, of course, you can also incorporate your daily exercise, which you already do anyway. The most important thing, however, is an exact routine without breaks in between.
2. Create a task list
Every morning you should think about what you need or want to do during the day. It is important that you write everything down. Whether digital or handwritten, is up to you. Since a precise schedule must be designed for all of these tasks, you can ideally rely on the support of artificial intelligence. For this reason, we have developed James, which replaces manual task planning.
If you have not yet integrated our intelligent dynamic to-do list into your life, you can test it here: https://tasks.getjames.app
You can already integrate the creation of your to-do list into your morning routine and be prepared for the rest of the day.
3. Clothes make the man
This is not about Gottfried Keller’s novella from the 19th century, but about the fact that what you wear as clothing also influences you.
Sweatpants are more inviting to relax on the sofa than a tighter-fitting suit or cloth pants. In addition, you move differently, adopt a different posture, and to a certain extent adapt your behavior to your clothing. Furthermore, it can be said that our clothing shapes our mindset. In short – you change your mode in the morning with your clothes: from private to business mode.
It’s not without reason that coaches advise applicants to dress for job interviews on the phone or via video call as they would for a face-to-face interview.
So dress as if you were going out the door for work and could meet your boss or clients in the process.
4. Apply the two-minute rule
Tasks that take you less than two minutes should be done right away. Don’t put them off or schedule them for later. Postponing and scheduling these very small tasks will take you longer in the end than if you did them right away. If you have a lot of such tasks and numerous, relatively short interruptions, rethink your work processes. Small interruptions should occur very rarely in our daily work. As soon as they appear, take care of them immediately so that they don’t keep you mentally busy.
5. Stick to the Pomodoro technique
We have already mentioned time management with concrete breaks above. There is a well-known method that you can use for this: The Pomodoro technique.
Its name doesn’t really matter here, but it comes from the tomato shape of the clock that the Italian Francesco Cirillo initially used for this kind of time management.
The Pomodoro technique involves actively working on our task for 25 minutes and then taking a five-minute break. We repeat this a total of four times. After that, we have earned a break of 30 minutes, probably truly. This technique works best if before each block (work plus break) we write down everything we want to do in the upcoming work phase. Preferably, an alarm clock is suitable for doing this, otherwise we can quickly lose track of time, especially during breaks.
This way, we can, on the one hand, combine smaller tasks into one block and complete them immediately (see: two-minute rule). On the other hand, the short breaks let us take a breath so that we can work again afterwards with renewed focus and concentration.
Here we have another longer article about the Pomodoro technique.
6. Use digital communication instead of on-site appointments
Since you probably shouldn’t be meeting clients or colleagues now, you can rely on digital communication instead. Consultations or the exchange of information can be implemented with different tools.
Slack, for example, is suitable for written messages, pictures and announcements.
You can schedule virtual meetings in advance with a calendar on your computer and let them take place very well with Whereby or Zoom. This even saves you time and money that you would otherwise have to invest due to the travel to the meeting.
How do I strengthen my motivation in the home office?
Especially motivation plays a big role when you work in a home office and independently. Therefore we have the following tips for you:
1. Keep your goals in mind!
For this purpose, you can design and hang up goal collages or vision boards. A look at them shows you what you can and want to achieve with your work either in the next days, weeks, months or even years. Above all, dreams and desires can drive us to achieve great things.
2. Watch a motivational video!
It is a great way to start the day with energy and vigor, especially in the morning.
3. Every morning, look in the mirror and tell yourself several times in a row that you are a great person!
Although this may sound silly at first, it can give us confidence and turn it into motivation. Just give it a try.
4. Reward yourself!
Rewards can be very different: an episode of the series in the evening, half an hour on the console, time with your partner or something tasty to eat (this can be nuts, cheese, fruit or even small sweets for in between after completed tasks). Our brain reacts fantastically to such goodies after work and possibly releases additional endorphins.
5. Create an atmosphere of well-being!
When we feel good, our motivation is usually higher. Therefore, have a tidy desk in a tidy room, adjust the light to the way you can work most comfortably, perhaps fill the room with a favorite scent or listen to soothing music if necessary. We have selected three examples for you:
Summary – Productivity in the home office
As a small summary, we have compiled a checklist with the most important points around working in a home office:
Minimize distractions at home and work with more focus
☐ Think about how you can minimize distractions at home
☐ Set clear rules for your workday (working hours, breaks, workspace)
☐ Put your cell phone in another room/ in a drawer
☐ Reduce social media: Browser extensions as support
☐ Process e-mails at fixed times
☐ Set up a specific workspace and tidy up your desk
☐ For parents: set up a time to take care of the kids
☐ Create a daily schedule for household activities
☐ Have a notebook handy for thoughts that occupy your mind
Strategies for productivity in the home office
☐ Establish a mandatory morning routine and daily schedule
☐ Create a task list for yourself
☐ Put on your work outfit to get into work mode
☐ Apply the two-minute rule: Complete tasks that are shorter than two minutes right away
☐ Stick to the Pomodoro technique
☐ Use digital communication instead of holding on-site appointments
Strengthen motivation in the home office
☐ Create goal collages or vision boards
☐ Watch motivational videos
☐ Tell yourself in the mirror that you are a great person
☐ Reward yourself
☐ Create a feel-good atmosphere (tidy environment, light, scent, music)
Conclusion on the home office and the current situation
Even if we are now in a difficult situation, we should use this as an opportunity to make the best of it now and productively do our work from home.
After all, home office offers many advantages:
We can manage our own time, we don’t have to travel somewhere else, saving us time and money, we can arrange our workspace so that we feel comfortable, no one is looking directly over our shoulder, colleagues don’t constantly interrupt our work flow and don’t infect us with getting sick. We are more self-determined overall.
That’s why we hope that our tips will help you to work from home in a more focused, productive and motivated way.
We wish you the best of luck!
If this gives you more time for yourself at the end of the day, maybe you can also use it to educate yourself through online seminars or books, network even more with other people who now have much more time, to hit the ground running in your business after the Corona crisis!
And put your trust in the online experts at Monkeys.Digital. Arrange a free initial consultation here:
Which tips do you find best?
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