With the recent circuit breaker period being implemented to help curb the spread of COVID-19 in Singapore – many of us have found ourselves having to work from home – often while still in our pyjamas.
The world is now going through the largest work-from-home experiment – and that means staying productive can be much harder when the temptation to jump right back to bed in the mornings is at its highest.
According to a survey conducted by the recruitment agency Michael Page, 8 in 10 Singaporeans are happy with their work-life balance. But what happens when we work from home?
Productivity is all about obtaining maximum output in the limited amount of hours that we have in a day. If you want to know how to improve productivity during this vital isolation period – here are 9 hacks to help you get some serious work done!
Plan Out What You Want to do The Night Before.
Planning out what you want to achieve for the day can empower you to make faster decisions, develop good habits, and complete your tasks with greater efficiency.
Rather than organizing your thoughts and goals every morning, try setting them the night before so that you can get straight down into business the next day.
Ideally, you want to define 3 major goals that you wish to focus on – otherwise known as your Most Important Tasks (MIT) – these are the biggest, hardest, and most critical tasks that we tend to procrastinate on but need to prioritize and dive in headfirst.
If you need to, further break them down into smaller action steps so that you don’t end up overwhelming yourself.
This doesn’t have to take up much of your time, and with tools such as Monday.com – you can list down your tasks so that everyone on your team will know what you are working on. With different plans to suit your team’s needs – people love the awesome customer support and easy to use interface – perfect for teams running multiple projects at a go.
Designate a Conducive Spot as Your New “Office”.
Being able to separate your work and personal space is key if you want to improve productivity.
Preferably, this space should be completely free from distractions and give you energy; rather than deplete it.
To make your new “office” even more conducive – sit near natural lighting wherever possible, and add some green around your new space (plants have been shown to increase productivity by up to 15%)!
The best way to layout your desk is to feature nature where you can see it – there are no hard and fast rules, and low maintenance plants such as succulents, snake plants, or air plants that don’t require much light to thrive are perfect companions.
Be sure to also declutter the area, as it translates to a clearer mind that can tackle anything. After some time, your brain will start to associate that spot with work – and you will notice that it’s much easier to get cracking the moment you sit down.
Be Deliberate With Your Time – Learn to Say No.
It can be tough to say no – but when you have so many tasks ahead of you and so little time – knowing when to say no can be a lifesaver for saving precious time that you could otherwise use to clear your MIT.
This is not to say that you reject any requests; but rather prioritize your time to finish key tasks first. Remember, every task you take on comes at an opportunity cost, and learning how to say no can help you build momentum and prevent you from being distracted by every additional task that you are handed.
Not sure whether to “say no” or “say yes”? The next tip can help:
Follow The 2-Minute Rule.
The 2-minute rule is simple: if you encounter a task that you know can be done in 2 minutes – do it immediately, no excuses!
Many of us think that we will get back to them later, but chances are we don’t. Procrastination is a big productivity killer, so don’t let it happen to you!
If you want to know more, Productivity Game made a useful video explaining the 2-minute rule as introduced by David Allen in his best-selling book: Getting Things Done. You may view it below.
Give Yourself Self-Imposed Deadlines.
Did you know: giving yourself self-imposed deadlines can improve productivity by tricking your brain to focus on the task at hand and finish it early.
If you want to give yourself a healthy sense of urgency – set a firm deadline for each task – you will be surprised how this simple tip can bring you to your end goal much quicker than if you were to simply do the work.
No More Multitasking.
Contrary to popular belief, multitasking actually decreases your overall productivity.
In fact, research shows that multitasking reduces productivity by as much as 40%! Humans simply aren’t built for multitasking, and trying to do so can be detrimental to the quality and quantity of work that we churn out.
Instead, learn how to conduct “deep work” – focusing on a specific task at maximum intensity and zero distractions – before going on a well-deserved break.
Take Advantage of Your Daily Work Rhythm.
Now that you have full ownership of your time at home – this is the time to learn more about your daily work rhythm and utilize it to complete tasks when you can concentrate best.
Essentially, we all have certain times of the day when we are most productive, and other times when we are not. For the majority of people, they find mornings the best time to crush the harder tasks and leave the smaller, not so important tasks for the afternoon.
Many people may know this as “eating the frog”, which Brain Tracy explains extremely well here – getting your most challenging tasks out of the way first is valuable if you want to stay motivated throughout the day.
Track Your Day and Monitor Your Progress.
What you measure, you can manage.
Just like how businesses track and monitor their latest campaigns and strategic moves – you have to do the same if you want to improve your productivity.
Studies have shown that 40% of our daily actions are powered by habits. Observe which days you are most productive and refine your routine accordingly.
Take Breaks – It is Good for You!
Taking scheduled breaks every once in a while can be productive for your productivity! The magic number that studies suggest is every 90 minutes and a break of 15 minutes in-between.
Use your break to stretch and move around, browse through social media (be careful not to get carried away), or simply look away from the screen for a bit.
Given that you have 3 major tasks to complete in a day, that roughly works up to 4.5 hours of hard grind – and quality work that you can be proud of while giving you ample rest and time to do the things you love.
Work Smarter, Not Harder
Given that Singaporeans are among the hardest working in the world – this circuit breaker period is a kind reminder that it is okay not to be productive all the time.
Productivity is not perfection – and most important is self-care – which by itself improves productivity much more than all the other tricks combined.
Sometimes, having a change of environment can help to improve our productivity and foster creativity for starting new projects.
At The Company, our tech and start-up community is designed to encourage a flexible work environment and expand your network and opportunities. With a variety of different spaces to choose from, including flex desks, booths, to private serviced offices – you are sure to find something that fits your working style.
Contact us and book your appointment to visit our space after 1 June 2020 (we will still be receiving and replying to inquiries during this circuit breaker period). Together, let us power through this difficult time and come out of it as better and more productive people!