Displacement activity – you know, when you’ve got lots of work tasks to do but you find yourself doing anything but! It can be so easy to find distractions, particularly those of us who work from home.
Here’s a few of my favourites (I’m sure you’ve got your own)
1. Getting lost with friends I didn’t even know I had, in Facebook-land
2. Looking for something to eat in the fridge
3. Suddenly finding renewed enthusiasm for chores that should have been done at the weekend.
So what is the key to keeping focussed on your work? Here’s a few ideas:
1. A dedicated place to work
If you have a separate room for your office / workspace – great! If you don’t then try and create a tidy space with a table and comfortable chair, ideally in a place where you won’t be disturbed by the comings and goings or chores in the house. Sometimes when it gets a bit much at my kitchen table or when I know I have to focus on writing a document, I get out of the house and take my laptop to the library – ahh peace! It may help you to make your work space visually creative and stimulating. Perhaps an inspiring landscape or some humorous or motivational quotes.
2. A bit of physical activity (note to self – not just to walk to the fridge)
This is really good if you work at the computer because minutes can turn into hours before you know it. A few times in the morning and afternoon, stand up, give your body a shake and do a couple of really simple stretches like reaching up tall and then slowly bending forward. Take some nice long deep breaths. If possible go outside and breathe some fresh air. Excuse me while I take my advice… (Ahhh back now after a minute of lovely winter sunshine.)
3. Work with your body clock
When I went on a time management course, we were asked to share with the group the times of day when we each felt most energised and productive. I was surprised at how different we all were. Particularly the lady who said she does all her hoovering at 5am. (her poor neighbours!). Figure out when your best times are. Hopefully at least one of your energy bursts will be during office hours. Try scheduling your most challenging tasks at this time, eg the ones that often get put off.
You could experiment with scheduling some of your tasks outside office hours if you find yourself seriously productive at those times. Beware you don’t upset your work life balance though. If for example you do an extra hour or two late in the evening, then make sure you take the time back for yourself for example by taking a longer lunch or starting later in the morning.
4. Minimise distractions
Sounds obvious and deceptively simple but we can all do a couple of easy things right now.
i) turn off your pop up email notifications and reduce the number of times you check your emails
ii) close social media pages (if you’re addicted then allow yourself time at lunchtime)
iii) switch your phones off unless you need to make or receive important calls
iv) tell your family when you need not to be disturbed.
5. Manage your To Do list
Review and amend it at the start of the day
Have it visible
Try this: prioritise tasks according to whether they are:
Urgent (mark with a U) or
Important (make with and I).
Start with the UIs
Then the Us
Why not asterisk any tasks that are daunting and schedule them at your energised time?
Maybe pick just one of the above and see how you go. Good luck to us all! Let’s feed back how we get on. More soon on keeping motivated. In the meantime, here’s a website with daily inspiration: http://www.greatday.com/