Posted on 25th Mar 2020 at 12:55 PM from Coventry, UK Listening to The Cranberries :: Zombie
Given the current coronavirus crisis and the resultant lockdown, lots of people are working from home. For many, this is unfamiliar territory! I don't have an office - I always work from home so I'm sharing some tips which might help.
To get work completed at home requires some boundaries. Anyone working in their workplace will have clear time boundaries. They arrive and start work; they leave and finish work. At home, things are less well defined. Even living alone there are many more distractions at home. You walk into the kitchen to make coffee only to notice that the dishwasher has finished and needs unloading! Add family into the mix and the distractions soon add up.
Setting boundaries is easiest if a dedicated workspace can be established. We are not all blessed with a spare room, but a corner of the bedroom can be a safe sanctuary from family interruptions. Having a physical boundary means that work time is more likely to be respected. Setting time boundaries with the family set their expectations. Simply saying that you'll be working for the next two hours and then we'll have lunch together.
For some people the pendulum swings too far the other way and work becomes all consuming. Other areas of life need attention too. Whether that is spending some quality familytime or just ensuring your smalls continue to get washed!
A technique I find especially useful for making an unstructured day into a productive day is the 3 Lists of 3. I claim no originality with this and it's very powerful.
Each evening before finishing your day, set out 3 things you MUST do the next day, 3 things you would LIKE to do the next day and 3 things you SHOULD do the next day. If you complete the 3 MUSTs then you have had a successful day. They can even be tied in to the distractions: I will cut the lawn once I've finished the first MUST, have lunch after the second and do some reading when the third is crossed off. Only after the 3 MUSTs are complete do you look at the LIKEs.
There is real power in setting these the night before. Firstly it means that you are ready to get started straight away on your most important tasks. Perhaps more importantly, it also reduces the tendency to procrastinate on some tasks. If the list is made in the morning, there will be tasks we don't want to do and therefore these will not be on the list. However, the night before, they seem more distant and the immediate dislike is more detached so the MUST list is a truer reflection of what really must be completed.
The transition to working from home has some challenges. It is possible to be very productive. Setting boundaries and prioritising effectively go a long way towards ensuring high productivity which means more time for the most valuable and enjoyable things in life.