One of the many challenges this crisis presents is, of course, productivity. I have been trying to avoid writing about Covid-19 to keep a separation between my work and the crisis, but it seems to be impossible at this point.
How do you continue to produce results, to keep up your work flow, and not let the change of routine affect your productivity? Here are a few ways I’ve learned to maintain focus.
1. Set yourself real tangible goals.
Nothing is normal now, and leaving your tasks and goals up in the air will make it very difficult to achieve them and evaluate your success. It is time to dust off the old pen and notepad and make yourself very clear objectives for the day, week, and month.
Whether you use key performance indicators or objective key results, setting yourself very clear goals that you need to hit will make sure you stay focused and avoid distraction as much as possible.
2. Close the news sites, indefinitely.
I am not suggesting to ignore the dangers of the virus or to not stay updated; that would be irresponsible. What I am saying is that once you start reading the news, it will never end, and there goes your productivity.
I would suggest defining breaks throughout the day in which you get updated on the latest news, but besides those breaks, stay away from the news and try to cross things off your task list to the best of your ability. Maybe decide that after every four completed tasks, you can take a 30-minute break to catch up.
3. Get into a routine.
Routine is a killer trick when it comes to productivity in general, and even more so when you are surrounded by distractions and noise. By getting into a set routine, you program yourself to go into autopilot and can get tasks done that don’t require too much thought almost automatically.
I would personally recommend early morning as a good time to kick off your daily routine. Your brain is fresh, you are hopefully well rested, and distractions are at a minimum. Nothing quite like a good cup of coffee and a quiet house to ensure you are productive.
On a personal level, I usually start my day as early as 5 in the morning, at which point I clean my inbox so I have a fresh start on the day when I have my first cup of coffee a few hours later.
4. Avoid social media like the plague.
No pun intended here, but social media can be much like a virus, contagious and difficult to get rid of. Avoid it when you’re supposed to be working. I realize how impossible that is nowadays, but you need to do your best.
This rule obviously excludes people who work in social media or marketing in general, but other than for people who depend on social media professionally, it can be an endless distraction, and if you aren’t careful, it will steal all your time.
5. Review your day to see how you did.
Nothing like an objective end-of-day review to ensure you are getting your work done. Review the tasks you set out in the beginning of the day, evaluate what percentage of them are completed and at what level. If objective key results are what you went for, at the end of the day, if you are at 100 percent, then maybe you didn’t set your goals high enough.
Whatever tasks you completed, cross them off and be proud of your accomplishment. Whatever goals you did not accomplish, add them to tomorrow’s task list and kick the day off with them.
Believe it or not, some companies are surviving and even thriving despite the current global crisis. That success doesn’t happen by accident, and every team member needs to step up and maximize their time, even if it is at home with yelling kids all over the place. Remain focused, minimize distractions, and keep your eyes on the end goal of making it to the other side of Covid-19 along with the rest of your team and the entire company.