How to stay productive and fight distractions
Managing your startup from home is not just about willpower. It’s also about making life as easy as possible, so that you can focus on work instead of resisting temptation.
Remote management is the dream, isn’t it? You get to wake up late, get to work without any pants on and your commute is a dream. At the same time, a lot of people struggle with being productive when they work from home. That’s a shame as there is no better way to stop working at home than discovering (or your boss discovering) that you can’t do so productively.
The good news? There is hope! You can be productive! You just need to change it up a little bit. Here are a few of the best ways that you can boost your productivity.
Have a management start ritual
The first thing you’ve got to do is use the power of habit to your advantage. You see, one of the things about going to work is it’s a ritual that you go through day in day. You leave home, get on the subway or in your car, make your way down and then (hopefully) start your work day.
When you’re working for home you don’t really have that habit and so your brain doesn’t know when it’s time to get started. For that reason, re-instate that ritual. Have a set number of actions that you repeat, day after day before you start working and the very act of doing those actions will prepare you mentally for what you’re going to do.
I have a good friend who will go for a walk around the block every day before he starts. He says that the walk clears his mind and gets him ready. That sounds like a good strategy to me.
Make it harder to access distractions
Since you don’t really have anybody looking over your shoulder, it’s much easier to embrace distractions ‘for a few minutes’ to find that hours have gone by. That’s obviously not what you want. The trick is to physically make it harder for you to embrace those distractions.
There are plenty of ways to do this. For example, there are internet blockers that will block certain websites for a certain number of hours per day. IN that way you won’t go to Netflix, you won’t check out facebook and you can stay away from other distracting websites.
Create a second profile
If you’re working on a computer, why not create a work and a play profile? It’s easy to do nowadays. The trick is to make sure that on your work profile you don’t auto enter certain websites, like your social media or your personal email. Sure, you can access them, just make sure that you always have to put in your personal information when you do.
That makes it a little bit more work before you access these tools, thereby making it less likely that when you’re stuck for a moment you end up clicking on something that will keep you distracted from your work for even longer.
We’re far more influenced by our environment than we realize. For example, the smell of soap will make us behave more ethically, a smile on a package will make us more likely to buy it and so on.
These are subtle effects, but they’re always there. So use them to your advantage. What do I mean with that? I mean remove from your environment anything that reminds you of doing anything non-productive or that will tempt you to stop working.
So, take down that poster of ladies drinking martinis on the beach. Get rid of those magazines that are lying on your table that offer reviews of companies. Remove hints of snacks, drinks and other distractions from your line of sight.
Even better, if you have the space for it, have a work space. This is an area where you sit when you work and that is geared specifically towards that end. You don’t have to sit in all day, but if you start there then you’ll find that you can get a lot of work done before your energy starts to wane.
In order to be at your most productive, make sure that you don’t try to work the whole day straight. Very few of us can actually do that, as our energy and our concentration will drop steadily throughout the day when we try.
Instead, remember to have regular breaks. Perhaps go for a walk. Perhaps take your laptop to a coffee shop. Perhaps go and exercise. Just remember to regularly do something else that will allow your brain to recuperate and will let you get back to your work with a fresh mind and more energy.
Prepare healthy snacks
A good strategy to keep your productivity high and be healthy besides is to make sure that you’ve got snacks ready in your kitchen to keep your energy high. What kind of snacks am I talking about? Well, not chips, or cookies, or cheesecake. Instead, I’m talking about things like small prepackaged cut vegetables, fruit parts or nuts.
These give you a much bigger energy boost, allow you to be far more productive and will count towards your daily nutrition as well.
The best thing to do is cut these or in the morning or in the evening, after you’ve eaten. You see, when our sugar levels are low (which is often when we need a snack) our willpower is also lowered. And so, we’ll choose whatever options is easily available. If that happens to be healthy snacks, then that’s going to be a far easier choice to make.
Managing your startup from home is absolutely fantastic. It does come with its own challenges, though. You’ve got to self-motivate and rely on your own willpower to carry you through the day (and your workload) for that reason it is important that you have good strategies in place to keep yourself going.
So, take time to prepare yourself to eliminate distractions and boost your productivity. A little bit of work can take you a long way and make sure that working from home becomes the norm, rather than the exception.