The trick I’m using to help me be more productive while working from home

This is the kind of thing that happens when I get distracted at home – I let my kids shave my head :]

Note: I’m working on a second book focused on leading and living during a pandemic crisis, just like the one we’re going through. If you’re interested, I’m putting updates in my weekly newsletter. Today’s post, or at least a version of it, will end up in the book. Likewise, if you would like to comment on ways you’ve been able to stay productive during this time, please do because that might also end up in the book ;)

If there’s one thing I’ve learned about myself during this work-from-home quarantine, it’s that my ability to focus is something that very much relied on routine.

Going into the office would reset my brain to Productivity mode. Coming home would change the setting to what I can only describe as Relax Yourself, Bro mode.

The problem is, every day, all day, I’m working from home. And my brain is telling me to take it easy. Chill out a bit. You’re home, man, don’t work too hard. The entire series of West Wing isn’t going to watch itself, now is it?

You’re probably much more focused than I am, but in case there’s a part of you that’s also struggling with this, I thought I’d share my personal hack to get myself back on the productivity train while working from home.

Dividing the day

I have found that in the mornings I have less trouble falling into the trap of being unproductive. Maybe it’s because of the coffee, or because most of the house is sleeping, or because I’ve always been a morning person…ok, it’s definitely because of the coffee…but regardless, there’s no denying that I’m able to crush it in the mornings.

Looking at how I should be spending my time, about half of what I do is a solo effort, meaning it only requires me to get it done. Things like writing (blog posts and my second book) and email responses would fit into that category.

And the other half are things that require other people: checking in with team members, having our weekly leadership team meetings and Huddles, talking to clients or other leaders, etc.

Given that I’m more productive in the mornings, which means I have more motivation and I’m less distracted and more likely to find my zone, I’ve started moving things that require just me to the mornings, and more of my calls and check-ins to the afternoon. This way, I’m optimizing my tasks to the times of day when I happen to be able to perform them better.

In other words, things that require my brain, and my brain alone, should be done in the mornings. Things that require me + others should be done in the afternoons.

What about you? What have you been able to do to help yourself be more productive during these work-from-home days?

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