This week it’s going to be week 7 of social distancing and staying at home for me. I’m guessing you’re more or less similar in this respect. With the new reality, over the past few weeks, we all had to adapt or create an entirely new way of working to stay productive, educating our kids, and living overall.
Have you noticed that maybe after the initial shock that certain things are becoming more of a routine now? That they’re not as stressful or inconvenient anymore? All it means is that you’re adapting and creating habits that serve you.
Hopefully, soon the governments will be slowly easing on the social distancing rules, and a new reality will start shaping. It will be different than pre-COVID and different from now. It will require us again to adjust, switch, and adapt to it.
That’s why this week, I wanted to share with you 10 practical tips that helped me become highly productive over the past couple of years and with small adjustments to stay like this in the current situation.
And no matter how the new situation will look like, I know I’ll be able to tweak my habits to remain focused and keep getting results. So here we go.
1. Establish clear boundaries between your activities
What I mean by that is knowing when is work and focus time for you, school and homework time for kids, and when it’s family time and leisure time. Whether you create a schedule that’s posted on a fridge or have a mutual understanding of the boundaries, the format doesn’t matter. What matters is that most days, everyone does their best to follow it. And as difficult as it might be in the beginning, I promise you that within a few days you’ll all feel calmer, less stressed, and be more productive.
2. Eliminate screen distractions during focus times
When the schedule calls for business or school time, ensure to eliminate all distractions. Turn off the TV, close all unnecessary windows in your browser, hide the phone in a drawer in the room furthest away from your area of work. This way, you might actually finish your tasks earlier 😊.
3. Have designated times for social media or TV.
Scrolling thru Facebook or Instagram just to catch up on feeds (not for business reasons) can be a quiet time stealer and productivity killer. I know because I used to fall into that trap too. You try to look for a piece of info that you need, and from one link you click on to the next and next only to realize that 30 mins or more have come and gone from your life.
The best way to deal with it? Have designated times for social media scrolling or TV watching. Maybe it’s 30-45 mins after dinner or at the end of your workday? Avoid times in bed before falling asleep. But other than that, you pick and keep it to the minimum.
4. Channel your energy only on important things
In other words, be proactive. You’ll do that when you define your priorities for the day ahead of time and review the day before. This way, when it’s work time, and you know exactly how you’ll invest the time you have, you’ll 10x your results! I have been pre-planning my days for quite some time and the improvements I’ve seen year over the year on how much I can accomplish in the limited time I have each day keep astounding me.
5. Focus on things in 90 mins chunks
Our brain has difficulty focusing for more than 90 – 120 mins at a time without losing on its productivity. Therefore, sitting at your computer for 3-4 hours at a time without breaks is not going to give you better results. Schedule 90 mins chunks of focus time throughout the day (even if it’s only one or 2), and you’ll accomplish more in a day than some people do in a week.
6. Renew your energy throughout the day.
Your effectiveness and high productivity are highly dependent on the energy you have each day. Therefore, taking breaks in between tasks, eating healthy, and getting enough sleep (we’ll talk movement below) are not luxuries you cannot afford but necessities you must do to achieve a long term success.
With that, I have a quick exercise for you. Assess what do you do now each day that helps you restore your energy? And what did you do that doesn’t? Once you know, commit to doing more of the former and less of the latter 😊.
7. Get some fresh air and exercise.
I know I sound like a broken record, and everyone is saying that. It’s because fresh air and movement are critical to our mental and physical health. Without that, you can’t achieve balance and be highly productive in every aspect of your life.
One thing I’m going to say is that your movement doesn’t have to be a crazy work out in the gym three times a week. As amazing as they are, I’m not a huge fan of gyms. I like to be active with my family or do things at home. Hiking, bike riding, even walk in the neighborhood, 20-mins of stretching/ yoga, or even 1 min of jumping jacks – these are all movement activities that help. And routines don’t mean locking yourself in a schedule that doesn’t serve you. They mean creating an overall structure that works for you and is flexible inside to adapt as needed.
8. Be present: “in the moment.”
Switching from business time to homeschooling or family time might not be easy right now. Trust me, I know that all this can blend in one big time blob. But that’s why now more than ever you should learn to focus and give your undivided attention tot he task at hand. Why? Because only when you’re truly in the moment, you can fully benefit from it. And you can do that if you implement short breaks, short meditations, getting outside for fresh air in between the daily activities. Pick the ones that work for you, use them for a few days, and see what a big difference this will make in your life.
9. Spend time socializing with key people in your life
Yes, now it’s all remote but such a saver for sanity! We still got quite creative: zoom parties, facetime coffee chats, Goggle meet dinners, or What’sApp calls. There are many ways to stay connected to those you love and cherish. And hey, when the situation changes, you’ll be able to hug them for real. What’s important is the time you spend with each other, the connections you build, and the fuel for heart and soul you get when doing that.
10. Know yourself
Knowing how you function, when your energy is at the peak, and when it isn’t can help you schedule your activities accordingly and maximize your productivity. Do the most challenging work when you’re at your peak as more energy is required then. This way, you’ll increase your results exponentially. Non-critical but necessary work can wait for times when you’re not at the top of your game.
I’ll finish with James Clear’s quote: “You choose the future with your actions each day.”
Whatever you do now in your life and business will determine your results in the future. And for your actions to have the maximum positive effect they need to follow this route starting from the bottom:
Such alignment is what my Dream-Plan-Do coaching model is all about. I work with you to create a step by step plan for aligning everything in your business. Only this way, you’ll be able to achieve your dream results the fastest possible. If you’re curious now how working with me looks like, then read more here first, and let’s talk after 😊.