How to be productive at home or in the office
6 tips and tricks for mastering the new normal
As we adjust to life under the new normal, we have been given a chance to rethink our work and productivity. Some will be impatient to swap back their kitchen table for the office desk, while others will try the digital nomad lifestyle. Whichever way you choose, we have 6 tips that will help make the new work-life not only normal but better.
1. Master your productivity
We need to train our brain to learn to work smarter rather than longer and keep the focus sharp. It appears that working in a series of bursts is the best way to keep yourself on track. Research also supports this method: rather than feeling like you have endless time, the sense of urgency switches your brain to be truly productive in the given time.
Set a timer for 25-45-minute work intervals followed by 5-10-minute break, where you take your mind off the task by doing something relaxing or creative like fold origami. Knowing there is a break coming up, you’re more likely to stay focused and work with purpose.
2. Take a break
Paradoxically, taking breaks is necessary to getting any work done. The time spent on recharging the brain, helps us retain information and increase creativity. There are a few proven activities that are known to boost productivity.
Take a walk. Our body wasn’t made to sit for 8 hours a day. Even a short stroll around the office increases blood flow to the brain, improving mental focus and helping you get back to work refreshed and re-energised.
Get creative. Take your mind off the task by getting creative: put pen to paper for some free-writing or doodling. Letting your mind focus on something creative can help you come up with novel ideas and find solutions when you’re back at work.
Do nothing. With so many tips and tricks at hand, the most radical choice can be to simply do nothing. One of the most powerful ways to relax your brain is a short session of breathing meditation.
3. Explore the unknown
At times when we feel stuck, we might be too ‘close’ to the problem. A recent study has shown that thinking about abstract concepts or distant and large objects helps your brain see the bigger picture - so why not try some space travel right from your desk? Close your eyes and launch your mind into the unknown: think of the planets, stars and the vast intergalactic distances between them to reset your brain.
4. Look beyond your desk
So much detail, beauty and inspiration are waiting beyond your desk. Diving into other people’s creativity can ignite your own. Pay a lunchtime visit to a local gallery, stroll through the neighbourhood observing street art and urban design or put headphones on to get lost in the music. Engaging with art is both a pleasure and inspiration that can rejuvenate your mind and help find creative solutions.
5. Maintain your network
A strong social network is one of the main conditions for our personal and professional success. Despite the social distances imposed by the new normal, human interactions hold huge power over our happiness and, therefore, creativity and productivity. Catch up with a colleague in the office kitchen or set up a video call, give a compliment to a stranger at a café or ask your neighbour about their day. You never know when somebody’s insight, opinion or a smile can lead you onto the right track.
6. Define your time and space
These past months have shown us that we don’t need to be in a specific location to fulfil our professional goals. However, to avoid “working from home” turning into “living in the office”, remember that work is something we do, not somewhere we go. That’s why staying flexible, setting your work hours and prioritising happiness might be the answer to the new - better - approach to our work.
The new normal has presented us with an opportunity to create the world, where professional and personal do not compete. Instead, they enrich each other, allowing you to express your full potential. Because, after all, what moves you, makes you.