As the world continues to adjust to COVID-19 and its effects on the workforce, many businesses have officially implemented mandatory work-from-home policies. For some, this is a dream come true, while for others, working from home has been extremely difficult. Distractions are easy to ignore for a few days, but for weeks? Months? Staying focused on your work for long hours of the day when there are so many other things you could potentially be doing is challenging.
Fortunately, there are ways you can manage your time. If you’re struggling to focus on work while you’re stuck in quarantine, try taking some of these new approaches to your work and see if you find results!
Don’t Check Email for at Least the First Hour of Your Day
Email runs our lives – especially in-office – and for most companies, it is almost impossible to avoid. It is an important tool, and it serves as a fantastic communicator. Unfortunately, it is also the ultimate distractor. Every time you interrupt yourself to check your email, you are giving in to a disturbance. You are tearing your focus away from the task at hand, which is the definition of counter-productivity.
It’s impossible to get away from email entirely, but it is possible to stay away from email for chunks of the day – preferably in the morning. Your mind has yet to be bogged down when you wake up, making you as sharp as you’re going to be during the day. Take the first hour or two to focus on some of the actual work you need to get done without allowing email to interrupt. You may find that you’ve knocked out most of your to-do list before your day truly begins.
Tackle Assignments One at a Time
Multi-tasking is the enemy; anyone who says otherwise is fooling themselves. Instead of trying to do five things at once (including email), work to knock out projects one at a time. Focus on the task at hand and put yourself in a much better position to succeed.
Monotasking is not an easy thing to do, but it is proven to be successful. There are several ways you can put yourself into a better position to monotask, too, like blocking off time on your calendar, turning off social media during work hours, meditating, and making a to-do list with the day’s most important priorities.
Work in an Isolated Location
Working in an area dedicated to work – away from the television, the kitchen, even the wife and kids – is crucial if you want to be the most productive version of yourself. When working from home, people find it easy to work in front of the TV, or in bed, or at the counter, etc. What they don’t realize is that by doing so, they are asking for distractions. And that’s not even taking kids or spouses into consideration.
When it’s time to work, let your family know by entering a separate room. Close the door (and lock it, if you can). Throw some headphones on if you have to. It’s tough, getting things done with little ones running and screaming throughout the house, but if you don’t, you’re essentially multi-tasking at all hours of the day, and this is a recipe for disaster. Try to separate your work environment from your home environment and watch the quality of your work improve.
Working at home can be difficult, but it doesn’t have to be any harder than working in an office setting. Turn off your email, go through your day task-by-task, and shield yourself from both the outside and your inside world. If you can do that, you can get through the coronavirus.
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