With coronavirus sending everyone into self isolation, many of us have either been furloughed or are now working from home. If you’re part of the latter group and are struggling to stay productive, it’s firstly important to know that that’s OK. A global pandemic is going on, so it’s hardly surprising if you’re getting a bit distracted.
Having said that, productivity coach Karen Eyre-White has some rational advice for finding your motivation and being productive while working from home, should you need it.
She explains that while there’s not a one size fits all method to staying on track, people generally fall into two work from home categories: the introvert, and the extroverts, and knowing which one you are could help your productivity.
“That’s a foundational thing you need to figure out,” she tells Cosmopolitan UK. “You need to know yourself and know what you need to give yourself, and then create a sense of structure, routine and a rhythm base on that.”
If you’re an extrovert
If you’re an extrovert, Karen recommends pairing up with a colleague and having a short phone call at the beginning of each day. “Tell each other what you’re kind of aiming to do that day, and then have another short call at the end of the day. Not only will this give you social connection, which is important, but keeping commitments you’ve made to someone else will also keep you accountable.
Another suggestion Karen has is called ‘online body doubling’, which involves keeping a line of communication open but dormant with someone. “The presence of somebody else can be a good way of keeping ourselves doing something. Online body doubling is the idea that you’d set up a Skype or Zoom call, but you wouldn’t talk to them, you might say hello, and you might tell them what you’re working on. But then you would both independently work on your own project.”
This gives you the sense that somebody else is also working with you, it makes it more likely we’re actually going to finish your work.
If you’re an introvert
Karen recommends messenger based chats, or phone calls without the video, if you’remore of an introvert. “If you’re introverted, regularly checking in with people but not having extended conversations works better for you.”
She also recommends flagging to your line manager if you’re more productive being left alone to work for a few hours. “A good working from home culture for an organisation is one where actually people can shut themselves off for a few hours to focus on something. If we always spend the whole time on phone calls, the introverts will feel like they can’t get any proper work done.
“Prioritise what your job needs: providing you communicate that you need an extended period of time to prioritise a particular project, your boss should have no problem letting you duck out of video calls or phone chats.”
This post first appeared in Cosmopolitan.UK