- April 29, 2020
Productivity during Coronavirus lockdown
How to stay focused and be productive during the pandemic
For many, the Coronavirus Pandemic is the main topic to think and talk about. We have many questions going through our heads: When is the pandemic going to be over? How is this going to affect our jobs and businesses? When is the vaccine going to be available? What opportunities we may have these days?
It seems to be the one subject most people want to consume information about, and anything that doesn’t touch on the pandemic is being ignored. Staying on top of the latest updates are, of course, important. However, overwhelming information can become incredibly distractive and stop you from focusing on tasks and work.
How can you keep being productive and efficient during the pandemic? We collected the best tips on how to stay focused and on-task as you work from home during these challenging days by successful professionals.
1. Set boundaries and limited time for news
First of all, allow yourself to catch up on the news, but set a time limit. Read the updates for no longer than 30 minutes during your morning coffee; and 30 minutes after you turn off for the day. Set an alarm to help you manage the time and assure you don’t lose yourself in the media coverage. It is important to distance yourself from overwhelming information. It will help to reduce anxiety and overthinking.
2. Set regular and short-term goals
According to research carried out by Dr Alan Redman, an organisational psychologist, the limit of focused concentration is about 1,5 hours even under the best working conditions. However, this can drop down to be as low as 45 minutes. He also thinks that there are major differences between the 'home office' and the 'workplace'.
"When you are at work, you tend to get more natural breaks in concentration, because you get interrupted by colleagues or meetings. But at home, you can find yourself trying to concentrate longer than your brain wants to."
People who work from home should set themselves short-term goals, including breaking down bigger tasks into smaller steps.
3. Take a break and go for a walk (but leave your devices behind)
Tony Fadell -founder of Nest and inventor of iPod- suggests that taking a break from work without devices is the best way to refocus. Before smartphones and the internet, distractions were limited. It is important to be offline and leave the mobiles behind while on break. Exercise or take a walk without gadgets! Just simply moving or meditating can help us to reset and refocus.
Fadell also stated, that prioritising tasks and sticking to your calendar appointments can optimise productivity. Clear your virtual desk as well as your actual working space, and don't have many tabs open in your browsers.
4. Schedule tasks between 2 to 30 minutes
Akemi Sue Fisher -Amazon millionaire and business strategist; Love and Launch CEO and founder - thinks structure is key:
“With everyone quarantined at home during the pandemic, having a structure is more important than ever. I block every 30 minutes on my calendar with my tasks (i.e., meditating, taking calls, responding to emails or exercising). With calls, I make sure they won't last longer than 25 minutes. This keeps us focused on the agenda without getting sidetracked.”
5. Brainstorm on paper
Tom Shieh -CEO of Crimcheck- points out how to prioritise tasks and plan for the upcoming day:
“Having too many ideas are like having multiple browsers and tabs open on your desktop. Every morning, I write down my top three priorities and plan around them. If additional thoughts or tasks come up throughout the day, I write them down in order of priority. This ‘brain dumping’ method minimises how much my mind is juggling and preserves my mental energy for things that matter in the present moment.”
6. Switch off
It is crucial to allocate time only for yourself. Plan this into your daily routine and don't engage with work. When you are switched off from work, make an effort in planning how to spend quality time with your partner or children to help achieve a better work-life balance.
Coronavirus Global Health Working from home