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January 17, 2021

WFH: Productivity Tips

There are three ways that time can be spent: in thought, in conversation, and in actions. No matter the industry you are employed in, your time will be made up of those three categories.

For me, I’ve found it most productive to plan on the time that a task needs, rather than just a task list.  I schedule in planned appointments, and then plan out tasks into category of time required: 60 minute, 30 minute, 15 minutes for the remainder of the day.  Some tasks are ongoing, and I schedule in the time each day, and possibly week, toward the attention that project requires.  I also schedule several breaks of at least 15 minutes throughout my day, allowing for an opportunity to re-boot, and re-focus.

With the knowledge of my personal peak zones of energy and focus throughout the day, I specifically place more daunting tasks within those time frames.  One particular magic hour of focus for me is 9-10 pm.  With this current structure of working from home, I have utilized this time with a benefit to my workflow.  It is important to note that I am not describing a 10 hour work day, but encouraging you to find your most effective use of time.  Working throughout the day, with periods of planned focus, and downtime, allows me to remain efficient in task completion.

I was taught the Eisenhower Matrix early in my career, and I consistently utilize it in my schedule planning.  It is a simple approach to the organization of tasks.  This approach lends to broad planning over a week, or month, and daily scheduling as well:

  • Urgent and important (tasks you will do immediately)
  • Important, but not urgent (tasks you will schedule to do later)
  • Urgent, but not important (tasks you will delegate to someone else)
  • Neither urgent nor important (tasks that you will eliminate)

While working on important tasks, I have a tablet nearby that allows me to write down “interruptive thoughts” that pop into my head.  They are then out of my mind, and this allows me to remain centered on the task at hand, and revisit them at a later time.

Daily meditation, or other form of relaxation as part of your scheduled down time: I was given the gift of a 3- day course with Davidji, a meditation and yoga teacher a few years ago.  The practices he shared have been a great benefit to me during this time.  Stepping away from my computer and phone during the day, to allow time for mindful breathing, has been a purposeful and rewarding answer to mitigating stress. I highly recommend Davidji.com and or @davidjimeditation on Instagram.

And of course: Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate. 

At the end of your day of working, put your work electronics out of sight.  I have found without this formal departure, as I once had by leaving my office that was away from home, I am easily drawn back in and forgoing necessary rest.

(Written by Mary McLemore; image via Pinterest)

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