Working remotely and in virtual teams has quickly become the norm in 2020 as organisations started to re-think their strategies around ways of working. According to research done by Gartner 74% of CFOs expect to transition from on-premise work to remote work, at least for many of their employees, even after this pandemic ‘is over’. Whilst this is great news for some, for many of us the novelty of working from home has already worn off and so it’s a great time to start thinking about how to stay motivated, focused and productive without working 24/7 and running the risk of mental and emotional fatigue.
Create a morning routine that gets you energized and sets you up for the day:
Staying in your pajamas all day and working out of your bed might sound like a dream but won’t serve you in the long run. The more you move around, the better the blood supply to your brain will be ergo your mental function and vitality increases – you are more alert. Any brief exercise will do – a walk before you start working, a 7-minute workout or even a few squats, push-ups or dancing! Find what you like doing and do this first thing in the morning. And if you’re brave, you could take a cold shower each morning as it fosters a ‘can-do’ mentality and stimulates your metabolism.
In addition, a lot of people find it useful to get somewhat professionally dressed as this simulates a work environment and creates the mindset of “I’m ready for work now” plus it sets a clear (mental) boundary to home life.
Focus your attention with prioritization instead of simply ticking items off your to-do list
We all have our to-dos and usually strive to complete all the items on that list whilst more and more work lands in our inboxes at the same time. Getting it all done can easily become exhausting and the quality of work might also begin to decrease. One way of enhancing productivity and quality is to focus/prioritize the most important and urgent tasks. Go as far as asking yourself “What does success look like for me today?” to create a broader vision for your day and allocate time for each task, activity you identified as crucial to achieve your day’s success.
Stop multitasking – Reduce error and maintain quality by single-tasking
Many of us believe multitasking is somethings to strive towards whilst actually single-tasking is the way to go. Every time you drift in and out of one task/activity into another, the brain uses up energy and needs time to ‘find its way into it’, ultimately increasing the chance of error. Single-tasking (eg scheduling task or batching tasks,) will reduce the time it takes to complete it and helps to maintain a quality of thought process and decision-making. I recommend not focusing on a single take for more than 90 mins at a time without a break or different task.
Create a work environment that works for everyone
Easier said than done but one of the most important things to get right. And this includes considerations around workspace itself but also expectations from your manager, colleagues and your family/household members. Make sure you are your workspace is set up in a way that supports a healthy posture – backpain is not the best companion to have. And close proximity to the fridge might be too much of a temptation, ultimately causing distraction.
Besides the physical environment be sure to enquire about what is expected of you and communicate what you need and are working on, how much time you need to focus on certain things or voice the challenges you’re facing.