Staying productive while working from home. 5 tips from an entrepreneur.

So, here we are. A huge proportion of the world’s workforce is working from home for the unforeseeable future. People are faced with uncertainty. Millions of people are getting laid off by their companies.

As a person with over 13 years of professional experience which includes honey exporting business, the Football Federation of Ukraine, my own consultancy company (with a successful exit), the London Stock Exchange, Google, Facebook and my own technology startup, I would like to share some personal tips on how to stay productive while working from home and, in the next article, I will share some thoughts on how to leverage this ‘crisis’ and transform it into an opportunity for laying a foundation stone of your own self-defined and self-controlled future. Similar to the investment world, putting all your eggs into one basket is unwise. You need to diversity your portfolio and minimise the risks.

Personal best practices on staying productive while working from home

1. Daily and weekly planning

Obviously, what sets entrepreneurs aside from other people is having a vision. A vision for a better process, a better future, a better world. Regardless how great your vision may be, not having a plan for the next week or for the next day can be extremely damaging. It can be damaging to your personal productivity and to those people whose work is dependant on you. As such, my personal best practice is to start planning.

2. Assigning daily themes for maintaining high focus and reaching peak productivity

For those of you who do sports, it will not come as a surprise that best results are achieved when altering workouts throughout the week. For instance, Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays can be devoted to cardio workouts whereas Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays can be devoted to strengths training. Similarly, having themed days when working from home can eliminate distractions and help maintain high focus on the selected theme, enabling higher results and personal impact.

3. Setting expectations and adopting a ‘3-goals-per-day’ mentality

One big problem experienced by entrepreneurs is the constant feeling of a missed opportunity… that you are moving too slowly; that the vision you have set for your team for this quarter is still too far off etc.

That can happen if you don’t have what I call ‘small daily progress’. Once you can tick something off your to-do list, you get a feeling of achievement and fulfilment. As such, I would recommend setting three key goals per day and making sure that those are completed. Aside from making you ‘happier’, it will will also help you switch off, avoiding going to bed and thinking to yourself that there are so many more tasks remaining which you did not get a chance to complete.

Bottom line, every day should bring you one step closer to your high-level goal.

4. Take regular breaks and give them your undivided attention; do sports

Short breaks throughout the day can produce high positive impact on productivity and well-being. When working from home, it might become difficult to switch off; to draw a line between work and home.

My personal best practice is to work in 2-hour sprints. Complete tasks then have a break. And there is absolutely no shame in reading a book, going for a walk or watching an episode of your favourite TV series on Netflix during that break. Forget the norms and the status quo. If it gives you energy, do it.

And I cannot stress this enough — do sports! Exercise feeds you with energy and power. It makes your mind more receptive to information; it increases creativity and productivity.

5. Work smart, not hard

Ultimately, results and impact are much more important than the actual hours put into work. One important factor that is missing from 9am to 6pm Monday to Friday mentality is inspiration. When I am inspired, I can easily work for 14 days straight, 9am to 1am, no weekends. The important thing is that I do not get exhausted during such periods, I draw energy from my inspiration and the more I can complete, the more energy I can draw.

But sometimes, there may be periods where inspiration and energy are just not there. And regardless whether that happens during a weekday or a weekend, it is reasonable to take time off to recharge. Productivity is much more about the right distribution of energy than hard work.

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