In our March blog we reflected on the reality of working from home and the impact this has on our ability to be as effective as possible. In the 24/7 switched on world we live in, it can quickly become overwhelming to start each day without a clear idea of what you need to be on top of. And it’s equally as deflating to end it feeling like you haven’t achieved what you needed to.
Once you’ve mastered how to look more critically at what’s important to deliver each day, the next step is to understanding the techniques to help you flourish in actually getting things done.
Your physical space
Your workspace and immediate environment are super-important when it comes to productivity. Even though you might now have adapted to working from home, you’re likely to still be surrounded by daily distractions. From family or pets demanding attention through to household chores and even social media, there are always plenty of things that can draw your attention away from work.
As much as is possible, create a space that supports you to have the minimum number of distractions. By defining a workspace, it allows you to create boundaries, even if only mentally, between work and home, which is as important for your mental health as it is for your productivity.
There are some great space saving solutions available for home working, as outlined here by Ideal Home, and if you have outdoor space then you could think about converting a shed or even buying something more purpose built. According to a recent BBC news story, there has been a 300% jump in demand for garden structures that can double for a home office.
Regardless of the space you manage to carve out, make sure you have a setup that supports your physical wellbeing and that you undertake regular health and safety assessments.
When the end of your working day arrives, be sure to switch off in every sense. Try and cover your workspace, pack things away or close the door to your home office. Stand up and walk away to signal to yourself that you’re no longer in work-mode.
Using technology to support productivity
As well as using your environment to support your productivity, there’s been a lot of research about mindset and how to get into a productive state.
Getting ‘into the zone’ is an actual thing; it’s part of what’s known as the ‘flow theory’. This theory is based in psychology and is defined as, “A state in which people are so involved in an activity that nothing else seems to matter; the experience is so enjoyable that people will continue to do it even at great cost, for the sheer sake of doing it.”
It is when you are in this space that you will be at your most productive. There is a sense of timelessness with tasks feeling easier and things just ‘coming together’.
There are techniques available that can help you achieve this state to dial up your effectiveness and even apps to help you focus. The Pomodoro Technique, for example, helps you break time down into more manageable chunks of focus, whilst the Brain FM app plays timed segments of music to help productivity which you can increase depending on the focus you can achieve.
In essence, all of these techniques and apps are designed to help you understand your own optimum productivity threshold to allow you to plan accordingly and design your working day around when you know you will achieve the most. It’s well documented that the brain’s ability to retain new information diminishes after around 25-30 minutes so it makes sense to plan to this rather than let it work against you.
By understanding your own personal blueprint for a productive state alongside making the best of your working environment and planning your workload effectively, you can take control of your effectiveness and ensure every day delivers success.
Cube Learning & Development delivers bespoke personal effectiveness training courses for companies across the UK online and in person. For a no-obligation chat about this and our other training, call Chris Burton on 07879 602002.