I’m going to start with the best hack of all. Go easy on your customers, employees, your kids. Most importantly, go easy on yourself. So yes, absolutely, it’s easy to fall into an unmotivated abyss. But the opposite doesn’t have to be climbing Mount Everest. Make a to-do list for the day and make sure you have things on there for work, for yourself, for family, and then for friends or community. Then slash it. Under each of those categories, ask yourself, “If I could only get one of these done today, which one is my must-do”? Focus on those, give them your best, and know that you’ve done enough. Don’t try and be the productivity Queen or King.
Next, find an accountability partner. In your regular office, perhaps you had colleagues who would send cues like, “Hey, how’s the Perlmutter Project going?” , which would prompt you to think, “I’d better get on that!” Find a friend who needs the same nudge and agree to call each other once a day just to see if you’re on track for the one thing you’ve said is your most important thing.
Working from home might also feel like a good excuse to lounge around in your pj’s and work whenever you want. “Whenever you want” can easily can blur the lines between work time, and personal time and become all the time. Plenty of people are suffering from that now. It’s one thing to be comfortable, but the reason we dress up and show up at work should be for ourselves. When we feel confident, we sound confident. So if you’re making phone calls or connecting on video, dress for the way you want to show up. Not for the way you’re feeling right now. You’ll feel more productive, and you really will get more done.
Plan ahead! If you’re sharing a small space, working around kids and school, phone calls, video calls, for more than one person can be a challenge. As much as possible, coordinate your calendar and practice time-shifting. Everyone has to give 100% on this, so the key is to be generous with your time, but greedy with your schedule. This will let you get things done without having the added apology time that close-quarters friction can cause.
And number five, try a modified Pomodoro. Let’s call it the “tomato sandwich”. Do a task you’re not thrilled about, but that must be done, and sandwich it with a thin layer of something you really want to get done for you. Wrote a draft of that report? Excellent. Treat yourself to a nice cup of tea. Finished your latest group video call? Read that interesting article you’ve been meaning to start. It might be Pavlovian, but it works!
I’m Megann Willson, and I’m one of the partners here at PANOPTIKA. We help our clients see everything they need to make better decisions for their businesses. You can find more ideas on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, or click the button and subscribe for our Friday News You Can Use.