Setting Goals while working from home can be challenging. There is no one to motivate you nor tell you you are getting behind. I work from home. I know this dilemma first hand. I have kids and a blog that I write and create visual content for. It takes self-motivation and dedication to keep going. Add to that the fact my kids constantly need me.
How do you attempt to make and keep goals when comfort and snacks are at your easy disposal?
How Do you get anything done in a world where you have your children next to you at the kitchen table?
How do you get anything done when the clothes and dishes are staring back at you?
Why The To-Do List Is Failing
I used to try and get work done by creating a to-do list of unrelated tasks and tackled them as I felt like it. I know now that is the worst idea for productivity if I want to get more done. In fact, I was setting myself for failure.
You see, I had no consistency, no motivational component, and definitely, no flow going. The very things I needed to succeed I was missing. I began to seriously reevaluate my productivity and reading how moms with kids get anything done?
I realized no one of high productive output could sustain a flow of purposeful work without critical elements. Those key elements have to be in place before you can even succeed at your task completion.
One of those elements is there is no such thing as multitasking. Nope impossible. I know this first hand when I was researching habit formation. The brain cannot switch from one task to another without going through a dysregulation period. This dysregulation period is about 3-5 minutes. Up to five minutes of transitional time when you only have 15 minutes to get anything done leaves you with five minutes of actual workflow. You can’t finish work, pursue a dream, not make dinner in 5 minutes (McDonald’s works in a pinch but only sustainable once in a while).
So if you can’t multitask and you keep getting interrupted, what should you do?
It would help if you were realistic and smart about your workflow methods. You have to set yourself up for success. You have to realize motivation in part is only part of the equation. The way to get more done in a shorter period is to know you have a workflow of about 90 minutes peak and no trough. You have to be ready to work in those 90 minutes without distractions, and you must set yourself up for success.
Here Are The Things I Have Found That You Need To Keep Yourself From Failing.
First off, I suggest you get a work buddy. Find someone that you can compare notes. Relay what you want to get done and celebrate those goal completions. Find things that you like to keep your work zone zen but energetic. Here is what I suggest.
Have A Specific Area To Work From
This work area should have minimal distractions and have a slight view with natural sunlight but not enough to keep your attention. Your work zone should have good air quality. Have comfortable furniture with support. Have only what you need to work on on your desk. Keep your computer desktop clean, decrease those potential distractions. Use noise-blocking headphones if necessary if you easily get distracted by noise.
Have Everything You Need Ready To Go
Have all things ready for your work zone prepared to go before you begin your intense work session. This is about workflow, and the less you get up from your desk, the less disruption to your workflow you will have. Make sure you go to the restroom and keep that phone away from your work zone if possible. You rarely need it for actual work unless you are an influencer, and your task is to check the photo arrangement of last week. Have pens, pencils, note pad and water nearby.
Have A Get Done List But With One Area Of Focus At A Time
Your get done list should have very similar areas of focus. The more you switch between tasks, the harder it is to keep a workflow. The best productive people have single task days, and they focus on those tasks until you complete them. The worst thing you can do is switch between tasks back and forth, which is nearly impossible to keep up, and you end up missing points or getting distracted.
Get Up Or Go To Bed Later Than Your Kids
If you have children at home, there is no way you can help them do homework while you do your work. The only things you can do while you help them stay on task with their school work are short to-do tasks like check an email and text people here and there on work matters. But to get a workload of concentrated tasks is not sustainable when you have constant “Mom” or “Dad” interruptions. So best to create a list of simple, fast tasks you can tackle with little or teens around.
Use A Timer And Work 90 Minutes
The ideal workflow time block is 90 minutes. In 90 minutes, you can get more done than you might imagine. It has been shown that in 90 minutes you can get done as much work as in a fulls day’s work. But the only way to do that is by working completely through those 90 minutes uninterrupted. So if you want to impress yourself, focus and go full-blown for 90 minutes. Flow is essential for getting rapid satisfying results. Try these few tricks to get into that workflow.
Music can help you keep the motivation going. Play music with a consistent upbeat tone, repetitive pulse, and loud enough to hear but low enough to carry a conversation. Try Intelligent dance music, alpha wave music, or classical tracks. I think I have found the perfect music for my workflow, Ludovico Einaudi Radio on Pandora. It meets those qualifications I mentioned, and it’s super sensory-friendly.
Keep Tabs To A Minimum
Keep only the tabs you need open for your project, nothing else. It is hard to let go of all those tabs you might miss but believe me. They keep your focus. According to the research I did, the ideal number of tabs should be 9, but that seems excessive to me. I cut mine down to three, The one tab where I work on, a research tab, and a tab of a relatable work subject.
Try A Couple Of Plants Nearby
Visually they add dimension and a productive vibe without distraction. They decrease stress and help your heart rate decrease. Frankly, they clean the air. And everyone needs more oxygen. The color green can be calming (maybe a reminiscence of nature?). Plants absorb noise and thus decrease the noise level, leaving you with a peaceful, calm environment to do more work. Try a few succulents, incase you don’t have a green thumb, and forget to water them.
Choose A Reward
Decide ahead of time a treat you can reward yourself with after your 90-minute workflow; treats work for dogs and humans. You do feel a sense of satisfaction working towards something tangible. It doesn’t have to be food. You can watch a show, go on a short walk, or get to take a nap.
In fact, rewards are part of our infrastructure. As humans, we would go out and hunt, and our reward was eating. The best rewards are those you can easily obtain after a hard 90 minutes of work.
Productivity is all about keeping in a zone of creation without interruption. The ideal zone is 90 minutes. You need to keep similar tasks grouped together to limit jumping from one job to another. Keep your desk and work zone productivity friendly, so you can set yourself for success and not a failure.
Let me talk about motivation for a miniature since motivation is what you need to get started. Motivation will always fluctuate depending on how your body feels and what is going on in your life. It can fluctuate depending on how many elements pull you in different directions. But you can control most of those things that decrease your motivation. You can manage your sleep, and you can control any drama you get involved in. You can control what you give your attention to. It takes practice, and the best way you can set yourself up for success is to meditate. Meditation is about calming the mind so you can listen to your body and the needs as they happen. You need that calm to handle distractions.
Motivation will also be hard at times because you don’t feel like doing the things you need to do. Not everyone will feel like doing work, but getting started is a practice. Going through the process is a practice, and everything you ever attempt to do will take practice and dedication. If millions of people can do it, so can you. Don’t allow yourself to dwell on the negative work on your inner self to help your outer self stay organized and motivated.
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