1. Create A Designated, Pleasant Workspace
So unfortunately, this means no working from bed. But it also doesn’t have to be an entirely separate office – it can still be somewhere comfortable like a desk in your bedroom, or even your coffee table. But whatever space you choose, make sure you enjoy being there! You can try placing flowers on the desk to liven things up!
2. Stay Organized – Visually
When you’re not driving to an office, away from home every day, for some reason it can be hard to keep all of your thoughts organized. As if it’s difficult for our minds to separate home from work, so everything gets combined into chaos. Luckily, there is a solution for this.
Put up a white board or cork board in your work space to create a thought mind map. Mind-mapping is so wonderful because most of us are visually-oriented. So viewing your thought process will make it more likely you create an effective action plan and actually follow through with it. Another thing you should visually display are your goals! Keeping them where you will find them daily will constantly remind you of what you want to accomplish. It may even help you to get creative!
3. Don’t Just Schedule Appointments – Schedule Tasks
We (almost always) follow through with appointments we make. Doctors’ appointments, dinners and hair appointments are important, so we pencil them in. But tasks we want to accomplish simply end up on a list of many other “To Do” items, so they are less likely to get done. Whether you write things down, or punch them into your phone…schedule things you need to do – you are much more likely to actually do them. Don’t believe me? Try it.
4. “Eat Your Frog First”
If you’re a productivity nut, then you have probably heard this saying. The complete quote, spoken by Mark Twain says, ” If it’s your job to eat a frog, it’s best to do it first thing in the morning. And if it’s your job to eat two frogs, it’s best to eat the biggest one first.” So what can we take from this?
Tackle the biggest, most unpleasant tasks first. That way, once you get that one done, everything else seems a lot easier.
5. Keep Things You Use A Lot Within Reach
A lot of people say keep your desk completely free of clutter. However, I completely disagree with this. I don’t like to waste time searching for things, or taking them out only to have to put them back again – especially if you’re just going to be doing it over again.
Also, if you have to physically get up and get something, there is always the risk that along the way, you’ll encounter something to distract you from your work.
6. But Don’t Over Clutter – Throw out old pens, make a paperless desk, move things from stickies to a “Take Action” box
I know it seems completely contradictory to tip #5, but you have to do this in order to make 5 successful. Keep the things you need around, but keep the things away that you don’t. Here are some ways to do this.
Limit the amount of paper you’re using. Everything is digital in these days, so it should be pretty easy to accomplish this. If you have a physical file, scan it or take a photo and export that to a pdf you can save on a computer. That way you keep everything you need within reach…all in your computer.
I am a firm believe in stickies because I easily forget about things – but there comes a point in time that there are too many stickies, and they just take up space. Instead, create a “Take Action” box, and you can put the stickies in here. Then as you go through them, you can simply throw them away.
Finally…throw out old pens. It seems obvious, but everyone I know is so bad at doing this. When you encounter a pen you have to scribble for 5 minutes to use, you usually get so frustrated that you just throw it on your desk – or across the room. Instead, throw it away.
7. Take Breaks – aim to get up every hour and set a timer if you need!
Even if you have a mountain of work to do, it is important to take breaks. Sometimes you can easily get carried away in your work, but getting too caught up can burn you out more quickly. Make it a rule to stand up, walk around, go to the bathroom, eat, take a walk or something every hour.
Setting a timer may seem ridiculous, but I swear it works! When you do, you allow yourself to forget about the time and remembering what you need to do next. You’ll find you will get more invested in your work and thus be more productive. Then when you take a break, do the same. Then you’ll enjoy all the time you have without worrying about wasting too much time. Plus if you get distracted easily, like me, this will keep you in check!
8. Eliminate Distractions – Turn off notifications!
Although you may not have all the noise like you do in the office, there are loads of other distractions in the home. One thing that distracts us a ton? Our phones. Turn off the notifications from your telephone….but also your computer. Even if they are work-related, then tend to be distractions that don’t lead to productive work.
9. If You Can’t Focus…Give Up and Do Something Else
If you find yourself unable to focus, and you have tried all the above, then it’s pretty likely that you’re burnt out. And trying to force yourself to focus when you’re burnt out, probably won’t work, and you’ll waste a lot of time doing it. Instead, take one of your breaks, and make it longer if necessary. Do whatever you need to get your mind completely off work and relaxed. Your brain needs to be completely relaxed, and you need to think about basically nothing in order for it to recharge.
I find that exercise is exactly what I need. It relieves stress, gets your mind off of work, and helps you re-focus. I swear, I get so much done after a good workout!
10. Stay Inspired
Inspiration keeps things fresh. Frame an inspirational quote, read inspiring books, engage with inspiring people.
If none of these seem to work…then there are some other things you can try. You can try exercising daily, or drink coffee. If caffeine is not something you want to drink in the afternoon (its effects last up to 6 hours), then try looking into certain cannabis strains that give you energy and help you focus.