How to be productive after furlough

By GSR2R Admin | 13th December 2020

Coming off furlough & about to work from home?

Here’s how to be productive

With so many of us back at work now, but still working from home, are you finding it tough to be as productive as you can be after  furlough?

Being productive at home can be challenging with all the distractions.  Whether you are new to working from home or it’s always been part of your routine, here are some useful tips to help you get more done than you have before and set you up for success. 

Set Yearly, Monthly, and Weekly Goals

From my experience, nothing you do really matters unless you are aiming towards something – you need a clear vision, clear deadlines, clear deliverables.  You must know what you’re about this week, this month, this quarter and this year.  Knowing this, is absolutely essential to success so take some time to think about it.  Talk to your manager, ask for their input and write everything down into clear, manageable and achievable targets.

Have a Friday Finisher List 

What is this?  Basically it’s a list of all the things that must happen by the end of the week.  So on a Monday, put together a list of everything you need to have achieved by the Friday and make sure you complete everything on that list before you finish work on the Friday.  If you can stay on track with that, you’ll find the month, quarter and then the year will proceed so much more effectively.

Block Time

Schedule blocks of time during the day in which that is the time you are specifically doing one thing. For example, that’s the time you’re calling your clients.   That’s the time you will touch base with your candidates.  Basically block time for interviews, meetings, checking your emails and also to complete your administration.   Block it out in your online calendar and stick to it.   That’s so you’re not always just going by the whim and by how you feel.   This will stop you from trying to do everything at once and worrying about what needs to be done.  You have planned and you are on it.

And by being this disciplined and having this structure it will give you more free time.  Be strict with it as without it, it’s easy to fall in the trap of stopping working and doing other things ie checking social media, a quick yoga class, putting the laundry on or walking the dog.  There are other times to do the personal stuff – just don’t fall in the trap of doing it in working hours.

Take Hourly Breaks

Block your time out, do your work and every hour, get up, walk, drink some water, grab a snack – basically recharge yourself and then go back to work.  Research has shown that if you do this, even for a few minutes it will give you greater mental energy and greater stamina than if you try to work straight through.

Schedule time with family

If you’re at home, you may not be alone.  Maybe your partner/flatmate is also working at home or you have children with you.   Schedule with your household so they know you’re working and how long for.   Communication of your schedule is vital to everything. But life is not that easy is it? You may need to establish some interruption rules.  You don’t want this to happen!

 Take a lunch break

Sounds obvious but you should schedule time every day to have a break and eat your lunch.  To do this you do need to be prepared.  Is your fridge stocked up, do you have healthy snacks?  Make sure you have everything you need prior to your working day.  It’s easy to underestimate the importance but if you can make sure you’re eating healthy food every day, you’ll find you are able to work in a productive and focused way.  I believe diet and sleep are two simple wins to nail.  Get them right and everything will change for you!

Schedule Email, News and Social Media Time

I mentioned this earlier in the blog but it’s really important to schedule email, news and social media time. In this crazy world, it’s easy to get caught up and spend hours on social media.  You lose so many hours on this.  I can’t stress strongly enough how you should schedule this time into your working day and stick to it religiously.

I always check my emails first thing in the morning, then again, just before lunch and then later in the afternoon, say an hour before I’m due to finish work.  With social media, try to restrict to twice per day if you can.  This way, you can ensure that your work, doing the deliverables, your important stuff is being done.

Take an afternoon break

From my experience, when people work from home they tend to work later.  If this is true of you, then it’s important to schedule an afternoon break – maybe 20 – 30 minutes.  This will help you recharge if you’re planning on working later in the evening. We would get a coffee/walk around the block when in the office to re-group in the afternoon, what can you do to still have this break?

Prepare for your meetings 

Meetings can take up so much time and can affect your productivity.   Whether you are meeting with a client, candidate, your boss, your team – on Zoom or otherwise, make sure you plan in enough time to prepare.  Be ready, have your notes or whatever you need at hand and this will help you enormously.

So these are what helps keep me on my A game at home.  I hope it helps.  For more hints and tips, you could read “High Performance Habits: How Extraordinary People Become That Way” by Brendon Burchard.

Until next time, Cheryl

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