In recent weeks I have spoken to fundraisers who have mentioned they are struggling to maintain a level of routine in their day to day working from home lives, staying motivated throughout the day, being easily distracted. Does this sound like you? If yes, read on! If no, read on anyway, as you could pick up tips to pass on to someone else.
I struggled with the above throughout lockdown 1 and was adamant it wasnâ€™t going to happen again. I found that small changes in my daily routine, activities and way of thinking can make a huge difference to productivity and how I feel at the end of the week (all apart from the usual Friday tiredness we all feel).
So, if your â€œget up and goâ€™â€ has quite rudely, got up and left, these 10 tips could help you. It is a simple list of what helped me, and I hope they help you to continue to kick a** throughout lockdown 2. After all, knowledge is power, but only when itâ€™s shared.
- Get back to setting an alarmÂ â€“ sounds pretty simple, but giving yourself time to have breakfast, and wake up properly will really help you. Getting up 10 minutes before you are due to start only makes you feel sluggish for the rest of the day. So set your alarm for a specific time and stick to it! Donâ€™t hit sleep, donâ€™t sit in bed on social media on your phone, get up as soon as the alarm goes off.Â
- Take regular breaks â€“ again, sounds very simple, are you taking enough time away from your computer throughout the day? According to the Health & Safety Executive you should take smaller breaks more often throughout the day. For example, 5 or 10 minutes every hour is better than 20 minute every two hours (Health & Safety Executive, 2020). This excludes taking a lunch break. Donâ€™t save your break times up for lunch, if you need a cup of tea, go and make one, if you need 10 mins fresh air, get it.
- Schedule in your lunch break â€“ even if you have to move it slightly to make room for a meeting. It is so easy to miss a lunch break to cram an extra meeting in or finish off a task youâ€™ve been working on. We forget how different we feel when we have had a bit of time away from our desk. It doesnâ€™t have to be a full hour; it could be half an hour. Make sure you take it and eat your lunch away from your desk. Go for a quick 20-minute walk, listen to some music, give your brain a rest.
- Replicate a â€œcommute back homeâ€– at the end of your day, take yourself away from your desk. Clear away your notes and to-do lists so youâ€™re not tempted to come back to them. Go for a walk, watch the news, phone a friend of make yourself a cup of tea to remove yourself from your working environment and replicate that â€œcommute home from workâ€ to make your home feel like home and not your office for the evening.
- Stick to your working day â€“ it is so easy to get into the routine of checking emails in the evening or responding to Facebook messages. Set an out of office message to tell people you will respond to emails between a certain time, any messages/ emails after that point will be responded to the next day. Ask yourself â€œwhat will be the impact if I respond to this message tomorrow morning, and not now at 9pm?â€ Itâ€™s likely to be minimal.
- Get yourself a hobby â€“ doing something that isnâ€™t work related, that helps you relax and unwind at the end of the day or week does wonders for your wellbeing and productivity. It doesnâ€™t have to be an expensive hobby; it could be reading that book youâ€™ve taken ages to finish or crafting for Christmas!
- Do your more demanding tasks first thing in the morningÂ â€“ notice the point in the day when you are at your most productive, it could be first thing in the morning, after lunch, or before switching off in the evening. Use this time to complete your harder, more time-consuming tasks. Then when you feel yourself starting to flag, pick up a task thatâ€™s more creative, fun, or arrange a chat with one of your supporters.Â
- Make a to- do list â€“ but keep it short. Write down a daily list of 3 major things you want to accomplish that day. If your list is too long you will overwhelm yourself and accomplish nothing on the list as a result. Keep it short and simple, youâ€™ll feel great when youâ€™ve completed it!
- Plan your week â€“ Set aside an hour every Friday to write a list of the tasks you need to complete the next week. This could help you stop thinking about work over the weekend, because everything will be in front of you on Monday.
- Create a brain dump â€“ â€œWhat is this?â€ I hear you ask. Well, you simply write down everything buzzing around in your head at the time. Sometimes, we have so much going on that we struggle to move forward, we find ourselves spiralling round in circles. It can sometimes make us feel like we have one big problem that we are unable to fix. When really, itâ€™s an amalgamation of little things that are within your control. Write it down, and work on them all individually.
Hopefully these tips help you make small changes to your daily routine. Challenge yourself this week, give at least one of them a try and let me know how you get on. Iâ€™d love to hear your thoughts on what you do to keep yourself motivated and productive.
If youâ€™re looking for further support, I am offering Mentoring sessions to suit your individual needs. You may need support with motivation, confidence, or adapting to change, whatever it is, these sessions are designed to give you tools and techniques to help you progress. A initial one-hour consultation is free of charge and we will put together a programme that suits you.
Health & Safety Executive, 2020, Working Safely with display screen equipment. (https://www.hse.gov.uk/msd/dse/work-routine.htm)