In this weeks blog I wanted to share some of the things that I do to try and increase my productivity. Since working from home productivity is something I have really started looking into and what I can do or the tech/apps that I can use to help me get stuff that I need to get done done. So let’s jump into it my tips for staying productive.
Having a dedicated workspace
I would say that this is my top tip for been productive and for separating your work life from your personal life. I have touched on this in my desk set up blog but it really is a game changer especially when you have not been used to working from home full time. My space is in my spare room which has now been renamed my office, when it’s time to start work I head upstairs with a cup of coffee and I know that its time to start work. I am not saying that there are no distractions as there is always the internet but there is no TV to just have on in the background, or just pop into the kitchen etc. I try to make sure that I have unloaded the dishwasher and put on any washing before I start my day as this removes those distractions straight away.
So the office is where I will do the vast majority of my work. I don’t find this a challenge as I have set up this space so that it’s a place that I love and enjoying spending time in. I will occasionally relocate downstairs for a change of scenery but this is very rare these days.
Noise cancelling headphones
These are a god send when you want to block out the world to focus on work that needs you to concentrate. I have two headsets one that I use for conference calls (Plantronics wireless headset) that have decent noise cancelling on them but these are mostly for comfort when its a long call or a workshop.
The other set is my apple AirPod Max which are my go to for focus work. The noise cancelling on these are awesome and they block out pretty much everything. Whilst working away I will select a focus playlist which I don’t find distracts me and helps me to crack on. These are just the ones that I use and there are loads of great headsets out there to choose from and I would defiantly recommend looking into getting some if you don’t already.
Turning off notifications & Turning over your phone
I don’t turn off all my notifications but i have turned off my news notifications as these where going off all the time and I would instantly look at my phone. With less notifications I certainly find that I am not reaching for my phone and I also turn my phone upside down and on silent so I don’t see or hear the other notifications when they pop through.
As mentioned in my last blog post you could also choose to turn your phone onto do not disturb for those times where you need to be fully focused on an activity or piece of work. Removing as many external distractions as possible will only enhance your ability to focus on those key activities.
Block out focus time
This is a relatively recent thing that I have started doing more. At work we use insights on outlook which will automatically find free time in your calendar and book it out as focus time. I find this is a great productivity tool as I have it set to automatically book the time (you can manual select it in insights as well). I try to stick to this time as much as possible but occasional there are meeting that come in that I have to attend, I am trying to be more brutal with my diary as it mainly consists of back to back meetings which leave little available time to do the actually work.
It’s easy to forget about taking break when working from home which I think reduces productivity. We can only focus for about 90min at a time so taking more frequent smaller break can be more beneficial than one longer one. I try and take a break after calls even if its just to stand up and stretch before the next one. Where I work we have start setting minute that are 20 or 50 min to allow people have time between conferences call to have break or grab a cuppa. Another thing that I have done is booking 1hr for lunch between 12:00-13:00 (insights in outlook can also do this) and I use this time walk my dog Derek and get some exercise in the fresh air and clear my head. I leave my AirPod at home and just walk in silence and try to disconnect for that hour, I find that this puts me in a more productive space for this afternoon.
These are just some tips that i have found to be useful and hopefully if you don’t do it already today you will find them useful as well.