If you’re anywhere between Baton Rouge and Boston, you may have decided to stay home and skip the commute (with polar vortex wind chills, I would too). Yet, after the holidays, can you afford to take more time off? Maybe you have to stay at home with the kids. Perhaps you can’t get into the office, but you can still get work done. Here are a few tips to make the most of your day.
Just because you aren't in a cubicle doesn't mean you can't do work (puresolitude, source)
1. Love it or Hate it, Spend One Hour
Ok, I know this seems obvious, but you’ve probably got a large backup from Christmas and New Year’s. You want to catch up. It’ll impress your customers, clients, or partners if you respond today. But, you could spend hours just responding to emails, or cleaning out the spam. I know you have other work to do as well.
So give in to your temptation: spend one hour. Put on a timer, and crank away. When the hour buzzes, close out and don’t look back.
Dreading your inbox? Still spend an hour. While there are other important projects, you need to respond to emails and maintain lines of communication. Do it now and get it done. You know that if you avoid it, you’ll never do it.
Still dragging your feet? Make it fun with an upbeat playlist. Songza is full of great playlists from top 40 to delta blues. Whatever your tune is, rock out (or sing out of key) as you clean out your inbox. When you get back to the office, you’ll start fresh and up to date.
2. Ward Off the Internet Vampires
Social media tempts, but drains you of time, concentration and creativity. While working, you have to be vigilant against this lurking beast! (source)
Twitter, Facebook, Google +, even Pintrest: these delightful tools are seductive but deadly. Worse, humans are notoriously bad multitaskers. Not only do these sites drain your time, but also your concentration and even your creativity! Staying away while working can help you get more done, so you can have more time to play later.
You don’t need self-restraint to stay away from these sites. There are tools more effictive than garlic or holy water. Check out social media blockers include Cold Turkey or Anti-Social. Try setting aside a few hours a day without social media. You can stay connected to the internet you need, without all the noise.
3. Step Away from Your Computer
Yes, you read that right: take a break. A friend of mine in med school uses this trick when studying for hours. She focuses for 45 minutes. When the times up, she takes a 15 minute break. She gets up, stretches, or checks her Instagram or Facebook for a minute. When the 15 is done, she settles back in for 45 minutes of study.
You don’t have to be in med school to use this trick. As a copywriter, this system helps me get work done both in and out of the office. After 45 minutes, I get up, grab a cup of tea, and even take a minute or two to catch up with co-workers.
Worried you’ll lose your flow? A break will help you do better work. After these mini-breaks, I look at my projects with a fresher perspective. Especially when you’re feeling stuck, this trick can jar your brain out of its rut. You’ll do more and better work.
4. Home with Kids? Maintain Boundaries.
In an ideal world, it would be easy to work from home with kids in the house. A babysitter could be there, watching the kids. Or, perhaps they could play, quietly, a few rooms away. Anyone with kids can tell you: we don’t live in an ideal world.
Kids are cute, but once they start fighting, focusing on work goes out the window. (Sabine75, Source)
So how do you get work done with kids around? If you’re kids are old enough, set clear boundaries with them. Make time to be available (maybe during your 15 minute breaks). But otherwise be firm: the kids can’t bother you unless it’s an emergency.
Are your kids too young to be left unsupervised? Ask friends or family for help. Even if they can only help out for a few hours, that's a few more than you would have gotten otherwise.
Another option your kids will love is this: let them play at friends’ houses (with you promising to take their friends next time). You'll be reassured to know someone is watching your kids while you can focus on getting work done. You may not be able to get a full day of work. Sadly, we don’t live in an ideal world. Yet, reaching out can help both you and your kids get through the day.
What do You Think?
The weather outside may be frightful, but you can make your day delightfully productive. These tricks are just a few ways to get through the day. Do you have any tips or tricks to share? Let us know below!