I learned a lot of things when I started university. One of the major lessons was that if I had pressing work to do, I was way more productive in the library or a coffee shop than holed up in my dorm room. Was it the social pressure of being surrounded by people hunched over their books and laptops with furrowed brows that motivated me to get on with things and not succumb to the temptation to peep at Facebook (which was big back in the day)? Or was it the physical space and everything about it?
I’ve been thinking about this a lot lately especially when it comes to working from home and well, anywhere. This led to me wondering if there are any hacks for staying focused and productive outside of the office.
Here are some tips that might help you or someone you know:
Find a space conducive to focus and productivity
I’m not judging you for working from your bed or from the couch (we’ve ALL done it) but I also think there is something to be said for having a consistent physical setup that supports your best thinking and work. We tend to associate our bed or couch with relaxing and unwinding so doing your work there can end up wreaking havoc on your sleep and ability to truly chill when you’re off the clock.
Via the Desana app, you can get access to super fast wifi, hot desks, meeting rooms, phone booths and private offices wherever you are in the world - often just a short bike ride from your place.
Turn off notifications
This is a controversial one as your employer might want you to be contactable at all times. I’m not advising you to go MIA for hours on end. However, distraction is real. Slack can be noisy. Not to mention all the other notifications that pull your focus off in a million different directions. Your time becomes like confetti. You never really get INTO something and you feel like you’re not doing deep work.
So, I would argue that as long as you communicate the window you plan to do focused work, it should really be okay. Ultimately your employer wants you to get your work done as efficiently as possible and I’m sure they will want to support you to make that happen. Just make sure you communicate.
Try the Pomodoro Technique
It goes a little something like this: figure out what tasks you have on your plate for the day. Make a list and prioritise them in order of importance. Many companies give their employees access to work management software, some of which may include tools like Trello, Smartsheet, and Asana.
Set a timer for 25 minutes and get to work on the first task. Once the timer is up, take a 5 minute break to recharge. Take a real break: get up, move your body, do some breathing, maybe pop your head outside for some fresh air before jumping back into another Pomodoro.
After you’ve completed four Pomodoros, take a 30-minute break. Not only is this a great way to structure your day, you’ll also feel more focused and productive since all of your time is accounted for. Ticking those tasks off the list will feel oh so satisfying!
Schedule your breaks and use them to reset
This is so, so important. It’s so easy to get sucked into the habit of working through lunch - dining Al-Desko instead of Al-Fresco. But this is bad news and it's not sustainable if you want to continue being happy and effective in your role. So make sure to schedule your break times and do something with them far, far away from your computer and preferably screens.
Of course, a break looks like different things to different people. For me personally, I need to change my environment. I need to get outside and move, even if it's just a walk around the block. What doesn’t leave me feeling refreshed? Scrolling mindlessly on my phone. I don’t mean to beat a dead horse here - all I'm saying is, have you considered what would really make you feel good on your break and result in you feeling refreshed? What would you like to invest that time in for you?
Want to make it easier for your team to be productive? Find out how Desana can help you.