Never in our lives have we collectively faced a challenge like COVID-19. Almost overnight, we have lost our sense of normal. The situation is calling into question our priorities in ways we’ve never thought imaginable. As a result, those of us fortunate enough to work from home find ourselves facing new challenges. We are trying to ensure our loved ones and ourselves stay healthy and safe, whilst still holding down jobs, running businesses, and leading teams. Being productive and maintaining high performance while working from home is no easy feat.
The absence of daily commutes and regular family commitments suggest a newfound abundance of time to hustle, work hard and ‘get things done.’ But the stark reality is that for most of us, productivity and daily fulfillment appear more elusive than ever. This can lead to feelings of depression and despair when newfound expectations are not met.
In the first of three posts created to help you be productive while working at home, Human Performance Expert and Corporate Wellness Consultant Tim Hanway shares his top tips to combat feelings of stress, overwhelm and stagnation. He will help you ‘win the day’ with tips for remaining focused and present, tackling your to-do list, and thriving—not just surviving—during this challenging time.
Step one to being more productive while working at home is to create a designated workspace. This might be a whole room, section of the room, or just a desk or table. The most important thing is this is the space where you will ‘be at work’. Keep it clean and tidy, with everything you need close at hand. Ask those that share your space to respect its purpose. Use this as your solo workspace (no working on the couch or in bed), so you can ‘go to work’ and ‘leave work’ every day.
Start the planning process by getting everything out of your head! Ideally, perform a time-audit at the start of every week to get a sense of what needs to be done. Create separate lists (personal, professional, etc.) and write out everything that needs to get done. No matter how big or small, if it takes time, energy or focus, write it down. From here, organize your ‘to-do’s based upon degrees of urgency and importance by categorizing them into quadrants via the ‘Eisenhower Method.’
These should be only the most urgent and important items from your list. Everything else can wait! By picking only 15 items for the week, you have to be honest with yourself in terms of what you believe is most important and what you think you can realistically accomplish. Your goal isn’t to get all 15 things done, but rather identify where your time, energy and efforts should be going. The ‘Productivity Planner’ is a great daily planner for doing exactly this or you can use online resources such as Evernote, or even pen and paper.
Select 3 to 5 tasks from your list of 15 to focus on each day. Your goal is to identify those that create the biggest or most important results. Often these are the tasks that you’re avoiding, make you feel uncomfortable or you just really don’t want to do! From here, your job is to select one of them that serves as your “One Thing.” Popularized by Gary Kelleher, your ‘one thing’ is the item on your shortlist that helps you answer ‘the focusing question.’ According to Kelleher, the ‘focusing question’ is:
What is the one thing I could do today that makes everything else either easier or unnecessary? Furthermore, if this was the one thing I accomplished today, would I be satisfied with my day?
If the answer is ‘yes’ to any one of these questions then this is your ‘one thing!’
Schedule your day around the One Thing, and put this at a time when you’re most focussed and productive. Build the rest of your daily routine around this, including your other work commitments and your routines for health. Decide upon a work schedule that suits your work commitments, and decide upon your working hours for each day. This means you can set expectations of when you are ‘available’ for both your team and your family. And remember, if your schedule changes, you can change it accordingly. One of the key skills we’re learning now is to be flexible, pivot, and thrive in the face of adversity.
Corporate Wellness Consultants Tim and Jennifer Hanway have created a webinar designed to help your business and employees thrive at this challenging time. For more information on how to book this Corporate Wellness workshop or any of our employee wellness workshops please email firstname.lastname@example.org
Read more: Boston based Holistic Nutritionist Jennifer Hanway shares her top tips for how to stay healthy and happy during COVID-19.