Procrastination is a universal problem that a lot of students and workers face. Some relate procrastination to perfectionism or poor time management. Nic Voge, who works at Princeton University’s McGraw Center for Teaching and Learning in New Jersey as a senior associate director, says otherwise. Instead, he says that procrastination is rooted in a human need—the need to feel competent and worthy. How can we deal with it, though? How can we get things done, especially now that telecommuting from home is the work setup?
How to Get Things Done in a Work From Home Setup:
1. Seize the first hour of the day.
The first hour of the day will dictate how the rest of your day will go. Your brain is refreshed after a night of sleep. Your mind is in its most creative state when you wake up. Hence, it is vital to seize the first hour and set our intention on how we want to get things done for the day. What you can do:
- Practice mindfulness. Mindfulness helps to foster empathy and the ability to be present at the moment. It reduces stress, betters health outcomes, and makes you a better leader and manager. This is essential not only for business but also for a satisfying life. You can practice mindfulness through yoga, meditation, even with free writing and listening to music. Mindfulness sets a calm, positive tone for your day.
- Make a to-do list. If you write on a list of your tasks and rank them according to importance and urgency, you will have a guide to follow and monitor where you are at. This practice will also help you stay on track as you work from home. If you do this in the first hour, chances are you will be able to assess what to prioritize and get better results accurately.
- Exercise. Many studies are showing the benefits of exercise, such as lower stress levels and elevated mood. It’s best to kick start your day with your chosen form of exercise.
2. Deal with procrastination.
- Know when you are wasting time the most. Netflix, food in the pantry, books, musical instruments, online games, social media, our bed; there are just too many distractions around us at home that lure us into always taking a break and pushing back the schedule for the more important things—the work we have to do. Even the first step in the scientific method involves identifying the problem. Identify your time-wasters and the respective triggers. Once you recognize that you are that wasting time, you can:
- Tip the scale to reasons you want it done. Many procrastinators have a mistaken belief that they’re putting off the task simply because they don’t want to do it. Perhaps it is because of our fears (e.g., failure of the project) that dominate or overwhelm our ‘approach’ motives (why we want it done). Remind yourself of how finishing it fits into your bigger goals, objectives, or mission.
3. Design a great workspace.
Our physical space can directly affect our productivity. Since our home workspace is something we can control, we have to design a great environment to inspire us to feel productive. Here’s how:
- Create your workspace near the window. According to a study on daylight and workspace by Dr. Hedge of Cornell University, people who work seated by a window that optimized natural light reported a drop of 84% on computer vision syndrome symptoms. Symptoms include eyestrain, headaches, and blurred vision. They also noted a 10 percent decrease in drowsiness and a two percent boost in productivity. If you have a small natural light channel, you might want to replace your window with a larger one.
- Have plants! These are not for an Instagram-able workspace. Having many plants around your workspace helps produce cleaner air, motivates you to be more energetic, and increases productivity and creativity.
- Keep your place clean and organized. It will only take a few minutes to clean and organize your workspace, but it will have a massive effect on how much work you get done. If you are sitting in a messy area, chances are, you will be distracted by the clutter around you. Think of it as a blank document that allows you to focus more. If you put tons of random words and numbers cluttered into such paper, your mind will wander from one thing to another. Hence, tidy your workspace up!
The work-from-home shift can be burdensome to a lot of people. We can do other things, but it is crucial to seize the first hour of the day, deal with procrastination, and design a great workspace to get things done at work while at home.