Shot of a young businessman using a laptop in a demanding office environment

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We all expected to work from home to have more time for personal affairs, and here we are busier than ever. A new report from Atlassian shows that people around the world work longer, on average, than they did before the pandemic. The average working day has increased by a full 30 minutes worldwide. Before you could attend one event per month; Now you can attend 10 events because they are free and there is no commuting, but your calendar suffers.

When companies are thinking of sticking to remote work or having a hybrid work model, employees need to find a way out: improve your focus to do more with less.

1) Eliminate what you don’t need

Most people waste their time on tasks that are not important (to them) but seem urgent (to others). Whether it’s tasks that come up at a later date, paperwork that needs to be archived, unwanted calls or spam emails, distractors are always ready to affect your efficiency. They only keep your brain busy and add to your stress levels. It’s hard to know what’s done, pending, or more important.

In order for your mind to focus on the essentials and require your attention, you need to remove the rest of the things that you do not need from your field of vision. Sorting what you don’t need is also the first step in the Japanese 5S methodology Toyota uses to organize its workplace. Cancel the meetings that email can replace; Send the emails you don’t want to Spam; Clean your desk and leave only the documents you need to work today. Check your to-do list and eliminate the tasks that don’t suit your purpose, delegate if you’re not the expert, or just assign the remaining tasks to a parking lot or backlog to prioritize.

2) Break projects down into smaller parts

It’s easier to focus on small 1-hour tasks than on large projects that take days or even months. As a result, we usually tend to cross small things off our to-do lists and postpone more complex tasks. As a result, many people find it difficult to finish a book or a thesis. Instead, break your project down into smaller parts, such as: B. the chapters of a book. Smaller items look more accessible, easier to focus, and appreciate the time it takes to complete them. This way, checking out your to-do list is more frequent, and therefore more satisfying.

3) time box

Put the task you need to do in a time slot or post it on your calendar. By adding them to the calendar, you add your synchronous work (tasks that you do at the same time with other people, such as meetings, phone calls) with your asynchronous work (tasks that you do alone and not in real time with others). According to an HBR article, having a full view of the commitments you’ve made will allow you to see your actual capacity before agreeing to take on more. Here it is important to be realistic about what needs to be done and how long it will take. By analyzing how accurate your estimate was at the end of the day, you will plan better over time. The Sunsama app, for example, creates a to-do list based on all the other apps you have, Calendar, Asana, Trello, Monday, Tasks, whatever, and organizes everything you need to do in one place.

4) Avoid multitasking

Be focused when you start a task like it is the only thing that needs to be done. Switching tasks takes about 30 minutes of additional adjustment time. Decide on your to-do list the day before and set one task at a time. Avoid overlapping tasks by making sure you finish one before starting the other. Reply to emails and messages after completing a specific task or time quota. You can set up a day for admin tasks or a day with no meetings, mornings to write, or whatever else is appropriate for you to make it easier for you to decide what to do and when.

5) Plan your entire work day

Working from home gives you flexibility about when to start and end your day, but that can hurt your free time. Plan your start time, lunch break, fitness break, and end time in advance to make sure your full work time is still okay and you don’t skip it. Of course, you can spend more time working if necessary, but sticking to a routine that you only miss occasionally than respecting it occasionally and working overtime too often is also good practice. This is one of the causes of burnout. According to a Microsoft report, “digital congestion is real and increasing”. Share your agenda with others so they know what to expect.

For every minute you spend sorting your assignments, you will earn an hour. Make sure you start and finish each day with a clean desk and a to-do list of things to do in order of priority. Sort out what you don’t need, break projects down into smaller tasks, organize tasks in time, avoid multitasking, and plan your day to improve your focus. Working from home doesn’t have to feel guilty when you are not working. On the contrary, it has to give you the flexibility to work and feel better about yourself.