How to be productive at home?
With the school semester beginning soon, most classes have been shifted online. Some of us may struggle to find the motivation to work and are easily distracted. At home, where it is too comfortable, it is often challenging to pick yourself up to start your day. Moreover, your energy and self control is finite. As the day goes on, you will slowly expend your energy. This makes it increasingly difficult to exert self control, setting your productivity and progress back. So, it is key to manage your energy levels well and prioritise more important tasks first. Here are some tips to keep in mind to make your day productive.
How to stop procrastinating
Just five minutes more and I will get started on work. But, this five minutes stretches to become an hour or even more when scrolling endlessly on social media. Well, you are not alone. Many of us struggle with procrastination. We mindlessly spend time on our phones, not realising how time passes in a flash.
To stop procrastinating, address the real reason behind it. Traditionally, we associate procrastination with a lack of time management skills. However, psychologists have found that the issue is with managing our emotions. More often than not, the task we are delaying makes us feel bad. To feel better, we resort to temporary activities that are short-term mood lifters and thus, procrastinate. At the end of the temporary relief, you feel guilty, more stressed and anxious about the backlog. How can you prevent this from happening in a vicious cycle?
When you are tempted to procrastinate, ask yourself ‘What’s the next simple step I can take on this task if I were to get started on it now?’ Doing this helps you to focus on the task at hand instead of the negative feelings towards it. Once you make the first step, following through becomes easier as you pick up momentum. Attempt to eat a live frog in the morning. This means accomplishing the most difficult task of the day first. Creating a good habit out of this allows you to start your day with a bang and put the challenge behind you.
Additionally, set specific goals every morning. Setting goals helps increase confidence and feelings of control. It sets everything in motion. Do make sure your daily goals are achievable and concrete so you can monitor your progress easily! This kick-starts your day, helping you gain the momentum you need.
Mark Twain famously said that the first thing you should do in the morning is eat a live frog.
Getting into the flow
Entering a state of flow also means fully immersing in an activity in the moment. You do not even realise time passing once you concentrate on the activity. Scientist Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi said, “Your self consciousness disappears and the sense of time becomes distorted.” When in this state, your breathing deepens and heart rate slows. After this experience, one feels an increased self-esteem and has higher overall concentration. Flow makes us feel more competent and ready to take on challenges, which is useful for dealing with stress.
How then to activate this state? You need to be in an environment where there is minimal distraction. For eg. putting away your phone and other devices which could distract you. Next, the activity must be challenging enough to compel you to focus but simultaneously does not cause you stress. Try to strike the right balance. Lastly, the task must be something that you care about or are interested in. With these, you can enjoy the increased productivity that comes with flow.
Your work environment
Many of us tend to neglect this important component of our work – our workspace. Your work environment should help to put you in a productive mood. Pay attention to how comfortable you are in your workspace. For eg. In an airconditioned environment, the cold might distract you from focusing on your work. Hence, it is essential to create a comfortable space that caters to your needs.
Some other things you can consider are the music, tidiness and lighting of your surroundings. Listening to certain types of music gives you a boost in creativity and memory retention. Having a clean desk helps to keep things organised and relieves anxiety. Good natural lighting affects your hormonal balance, behavior and mood. Overall, these factors complement to create a conducive environment for you to hyper focus and get into a flow.
Keeping these points in mind, you will be more efficient in completing your tasks. This gives you more time for leisure or other interests too. You can spend time more meaningfully instead of squandering it away on meaningless activity. What can you do with the extra time then?
You could pursue your various interests, whether it is sports or passive hobbies. For students, the extra time can be allocated to an internship or a passion project. An internship broadens your perspectives through varying experiences, aiding you in deciding your future career. Therefore, increased productivity is definitely beneficial in the long run. You can do more of what you love and maybe find passion in areas you never knew!
If you are looking for an internship and want to stand out, check out our blog here on some tips and tricks to getting hired. It is especially applicable for students looking to work in the FMCG industry.