We’re well past the middle of the second year of this pandemic and we’re collectively worn out. You don’t need to have any problems with your mental health to be completely exhausted and feel stuck in time all the while rushing through the days and weeks.
The novelty of working from home has probably worn off for most of you and now you’re on the gradual decline in motivation and productivity. People are having issues with getting through the day and who can blame them.
Keep a person locked in their home, which is now also a workplace and a school, and there’s not much incentive to stay on top of their game.
Why is being productive and motivated matters more now than at any other time?
It’s easy to slide into unhealthy habits whether that would be to do the bare minimum at work or just let yourself go in terms of eating and physical exercise. Productivity for its own sake is never a healthy behaviour, but right now it’s productivity that offers some sense of comfort when done right.
By setting goals and then realizing them, we keep a little semblance of control over our own lives, even if we’re restricted in a lot of ways. Of course, we’re not necessarily talking about coming out of the pandemic fluent in four languages and becoming a professional chef…
More like getting through the day without ending up working from bed at near midnight and still not really done.
How to be better with the help of technology?
Use an RSS feed reader
RSS has been somewhat neglected for the past decade, but now is the right moment to get into the habit of organizing your reading via a third-party client. RSS readers have certainly evolved over the years and now come with exciting features. Inoreader’s content discovery is one of the major additions – a secure, distraction-free way to seek out new publications and sites without having to deal with Google’s algorithms.
There’s a lot of talk about Pocket, Evernote and similar applications, which save articles and posts alongside regular notes. Adding a chrome extension to your browser basically achieves the same functionality, but if you already have accounts on Pocket, you can integrate your reader via services like IFTTT and Zapier. Mostly, RSS feed readers are excellent at filtering articles, syndicating content from a variety of platforms and bringing in a high level of automation.
You save time and also leave distraction pits like Twitter and Facebook behind.
Plan your day with apps and online tools
Not everyone has an iron-clad structure to their day. What I miss most about having to go to work in the physical sense was the structure. There were set times to get out of bed and expectations as to when something had to be done. For some, this hasn’t changed much. For others, the world is quite different.
Now that we’re in the midst of the greatest revolution in work as many people are adapting to remote work, it’s time management and routine that are difficult for workers who are now learning how to plan out their day. Something freelancers have an intimate knowledge of. Under regular circumstances, this change in lifestyle is hard enough, but the pandemic is taking its mental toll on every type of worker.
Hence why time management apps are a godsend. Whether you want something as simple as a to-do list on your phone or want to dive deep into mapping out your day, there’s an application out there in the app store. Go-to choices right now are Todoist, Habitica, Remember the Milk and Trello.
Set clear goals
There’s a fine line between managing your workload and achieving your goals. You shouldn’t just use your time management apps and to-do lists to passively stay on top of your responsibilities and tasks – be they personal or professional. Ideally, you want to make progress rather than thread on the same ground.
The key to unlocking forward-moving productivity is to sit down and think about what you want to achieve in the next few months. Is there a house project you’ve been putting off, because there’s no time? Have you left a course a third of the way done? Or maybe you just want to increase your reading for the year?
Set clear, achievable goals, which you can break down into the smallest possible chunks, and then see how you can most effectively add them to your day.
Keep track of your progress
There are three reasons for keeping track of your progress:
· Focus. It’s easy to lose sight of what you want to accomplish, if you don’t look at the larger task at all times. A common mistake is to rely on your memory to note how far you’ve still to go, but honestly as soon as you hit a rough patch you’ll forget.
· Motivation. Nothing smells as sweet as victory. Tracking your progress gives you that drive and excitement to push forward and cross that finish line. That’s how you build momentum.
· Reward. Celebrate your accomplishments. I can’t stress this hard enough. Many rush onto the next task without acknowledging what they’ve achieved. Figure out what reward will hit that sweet spot and give yourself some well-deserved rest!
Lead a healthier life
Structuring our days and habits through your phone or laptop ultimately invites a blurring of lines – a dependence on and attachment to the screen. Many stuck working at home are already under a lot of pressure to separate the personal from the professional, and that’s why boundaries matter. A lot.
It’s paramount to know when to step away from the phone, switch off the laptop and reduce your screen time. Sleep is one of the most important processes happening to your body and without fine sleep hygiene, you’re only going to add fatigue on top of fatigue. The true key to productivity is to know when and how long to take a break. Go outside, eat at regular times and give your eyes some well-deserved rest.