“The key is not to prioritize what’s on your schedule, but to schedule your priorities.”Stephen Covey
With a large number of people still working from home during the pandemic, it’s rather easy to fall into a slump. Your bed might be calling you from the room over, but there’s still a full day’s work to be done. The show you have been wanting to binge for months is waiting for you on the TV, but your boss expects a report by the end of the day. The feeling of being clogged creatively or mentally is not unique, but there are ways to combat it head-on. Here are a few tips to help you feel more motivated at home.
Follow these steps
- Clean Up Your Workspace! There’s nothing more distracting than a cluttered workspace. Your eyes might be drawn every which way other than your computer screen. Dirtiness has never been known to increase productivity! A clear workspace will offer you a clear mind. Grab a trash bag and get rid of old wrappers, tissues, water bottles, etc. first. Then, reorganize a few things! Change the position of your family photo or even place a bowl of hard candies on your desk for a treat now and then. A fresh and clean space will make you feel generally better and much more productive.
- Create a To-Do List! It’s easy and normal to feel overwhelmed with your workload. It might feel like there are a million things you have to do but you’re unsure where to start. By creating a to-do list, you can easily categorize everything on your plate. You can even rate the list by importance/time sensitivity, which will allow you to get started. It’s best to write a physical list rather than one on your phone because it could get lost in the jumble of your other tech usage. Also, almost nothing feels better than checking off a list of completed tasks. To-do lists will help keep you on track and textualize the workday ahead of you.
- Install a Social Media Blocker! Yes, it is tempting to take a 10 minute turned 1-hour break on your social media apps. We never intend to spend as much time as we do on our socials, it just happens. This is why installing a social media blocker can be incredibly helpful. There are a number of them out there, but SelfControl is a great Mac application to help monitor and block your social media usage. It allows you to set a period of time for the blocking, which will be a major deterrent. Also, it doesn’t hurt to turn off your notifications on your phone. It will decrease the temptation to check and then fall down an Instagram and Twitter hole.
- Split Your Screen! This tip sounds a bit obvious, but it can really help boost productivity. With the ease of being able to see multiple tabs at once, it can really help when doing certain tasks. Being able to reference important information while writing an email, for example, can make the task so much quicker. You can learn how to split your screen on a Mac here because we aren’t all able to have two physical screens in front of us.
- Take Eye Breaks! It feels like we are all using our electronics exponentially more than usual. It is completely normal to feel the need to take an eye break and focus on something else for a moment. If you’re feeling screen fatigue, step away for a little. If stepping away isn’t an option, like in a Zoom meeting, momentarily turn your camera off. Lean your head back and look up at the ceiling for 10-15 seconds. This small act will give your brain and eyes a quick refresh to continue your work. There’s also the 20-20-20 rule. With this rule, after every 20 minutes, you will look at something 20 yards away from you and focus on it for 20 seconds. This short break will give your eyes the recovery they need.
- Get Dressed Every Day! Who wouldn’t want to spend their entire day in sweatpants? Unfortunately, this isn’t the best thing for productivity. You would never go in to work in pajamas, which should motivate you to start dressing professionally at home too. Even if it’s just the top half of your body (because comfort is obviously necessary, too), dressing up will give you the feeling of being in the office. It also helps for video meetings because you’re always going to be prepared and looking your best.
- Get Some Light Exercise Equipment! Investing in some exercise equipment like resistance bands or small weights can do wonders for not only your productivity but your health too! There are more in-depth, costly pieces of equipment you can get, like this Flexispot Desk Bike, but anything helps! Even just finding a way to stand at your computer will be great for your knees and back while helping you focus.
- Complete Your Most Dreaded Tasks Early! This small thing can make or break your day. By getting the tasks you dislike out of the way, you can focus on the things you enjoy doing later in the day when it feels more like quitting time. You also have more energy in the morning to finish those tasks you dislike.
- Listen to Music! A lot of people might find it hard to listen to music and focus on work. However, many other people love it! It’s all about finding a good balance and what works for you. If Beethoven does the trick for you, it can definitely help boost productivity. If you exclusively listen to hyper-pop to feel energized, that’s great too! Try out some different genres and see if you work better while listening to them. And, of course, if you feel overwhelmed or less productive, working in silence can be great as well.
- Just Start! Sometimes the hardest part of a workday is finding the motivation to get started. It’s easy to procrastinate, maybe stay in bed a little longer than you should. But if you can find the power to just get started, your day will prove to be very productive. Just think of it this way: you have to start at some point, so just start now!
Watch Your Productivity Skyrocket!
By utilizing all or some of these tips into your daily routine, you will surely feel more productive and accomplished throughout the day. Breaking the cycle of computer screen/work burnout is incredibly important to continue doing your job well. Most of these tips can and should be revisited every few weeks to hold yourself accountable. Considering working from home will be the norm for the foreseeable future, there’s no shame in revamping your work ethic. Remember, you’re not alone in feeling stuck or uninspired, but there are always ways to help combat the feeling!
Feature image credit: Unsplash
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