A few days back, while scrolling on social media amid the COVID-19 pandemic, I read an article citing that while in quarantine due to the plague, Sir Isaac Newton discovered calculus and William Shakespeare wrote “King Lear.”
After reading that article, I believe all these reminders can motivate us to be more productive during this time.
If you are anxious rather than productive, you are not alone. To a certain degree, everyone is sailing in the same boat. But along with challenges lies the opportunity for a new perspective to emerge.
According to experts, here are some tips for coping up with anxiety and converting it into productive time.
1. Keep Communication Open and Honest:
“One thing that I noticed was really affecting my team’s productivity and creativity after we made the move to work from home, was the absence of ‘watering hole banter’ or desk discussions that often led to great ideas. So, we’re trying to enable more intentional communication that is unstructured to help frame and promote those same kinds of conversations. These discussions are scheduled but don’t have an agenda so employees are free to chat about anything and I’m pleased with the positive effect it’s had on both productivity and our team culture.” –David Torgerson, Senior Director of Engineering, Lucid
2. Set a Schedule for Your Meetings:
“Believe it or not, the recipe to maximize productivity while avoiding burnout is to fill every opening in your calendar. Fill it by prioritizing positive business results and deadlines, while balancing mental health and wellbeing. Color-code blocks of the day when you’re most detail-oriented and productive (for heads-down work) when you’re most social (for meetings), and time to learn something new (for reading and podcasts).” – Kristen Fulmer, CEO & Founder, Recipric
3. Start Your Day with Your Emails:
“I don’t believe in the common theory that we should not do email first thing in the workday. It’s true some of our most important opportunities arrive in our email inbox. Not only that, what comes into our email inbox overnight can often affect what we do the next day, so in my view it’s vital to look at email first thing.”– Siimon Reynolds, author of WIN FAST
4. Stay Focused on Face, Space and Pace:
“I wake up every morning and remember a little pneumonic, of sorts: Face, Space, Pace. The face is getting up, getting dressed, showering, and readying for work like you always do. Space is making sure you have some designated space in your home to work and shut off family, pets, etc., to focus. And the pace is making sure you keep your calendar plugged in with your tasks, calls, and time to get work done … and stick to it. Those three areas of preparation really keep me on task and productive.”- Jason Falls, Director of Digital Strategy at Cornett
5. Manage Your Time:
“To combat the feeling of each day blending into the next during the recent stay at home order, I started logging my day in greater detail using the Bullet Journal’s rapid logging method. This provided some extra awareness throughout the day of how I was spending my time and what I accomplished, while also helping me to focus on the task at hand. I also purchased an inexpensive timer to sit next to my computer, and use this as a visual reminder to continue focusing on a particular task—and ignore those pesky Slack and Outlook notifications—for a set amount of time.” – Liz Cies is Vice President of PR at Idea Grove, a B2B tech PR and marketing agency
6. Invest in Technology:
“To begin to embrace a remote working environment, companies need the tools, policies, and processes in place to keep remote workers connected and effectively contributing to assignments, projects, and overarching business goals,” notes Leonard Callejo, director, online marketing at Cisco Webex.com.
7. Create a Distraction-Free Atmosphere:
“The key to maintaining productivity during lockdowns is minimizing different types of distractions. These include interruptions from others and interruptions from being tempted to perform non-work-related tasks, including laundry, or watching a movie. You reduce these interruptions by compartmentalizing work on both a schedule and a physical or mental perspective.” – Thibaud Clement, CEO and co-founder, Loomly.
Working from home during this critical time is not what you had planned for in 2020, right? But you can make the most of it. Keep faith in your ability to adapt and find the sweet spot in your work-life balance. Remember, your old bad or good habits took a while to form. These ‘new normal’ habits will take some time too.