Many new remote-working professionals are finding out that family distractions and the comforts of home can push even the most disciplined workers off track.
Sherman Oaks Accounting and Bookkeeping powered by One Source Services, Inc. talked with some of our most experienced work-from-home team members and assembled their combined input in this blog post.
Their general feedback was to avoid and overcome mental blocks.
It’s incredibly easy to feel stuck when working remotely. Some of our telecommuters described staring at their screens for prolonged periods, scrolling through social media and essentially getting no work done.
By definition, mental blocks leave you unable to think, reason clearly or concentrate, resulting in discouragement and apathy.
Our telecommuting team members said that when they are mentally blocked, they feel unmotivated, overwhelmed, anxious, and have “fuzzy” thinking.
Mental blocks sneak up on you with no warning and no indication of how long they may last.
So, how does one get back on track after a mental block?
CREATE A GOOD WORKSPACE
A cluttered desk leads to a cluttered mind, affecting our brain’s ability to stay focused. The Royal Australian College of General Practitioners said, “Constant visual reminders of disorganization drain our cognitive resources, reducing our ability to focus.” This is why some of us have a good habit of tidying our workspaces before getting down to business.
Especially if you’re working from a home with children or in a “temporary” workspace, it can be next to impossible to keep everything in perfect order all day.
Our telecommuting staff members agreed that it’s essential to designate a workspace and keep it as organized (and off-limits to others) as possible if you’re to be productive at home.
BE METHODICALLY PRODUCTIVE
Prioritize, prioritize, prioritize!
At One Source Services, we train our team to put their biggest priorities with the most serious consequences at the top of their to-do lists. Then once their most daunting tasks are done, they are more motivated to move on to the less demanding ones.
We label our priorities:
- Tasks marked “A” are the biggest, hardest jobs with the most severe consequences.
- “B” tasks are less difficult but still uncomfortable and have less serious consequences if they don’t get done (for example, answering emails or returning phone calls).
- “C” tasks have no real consequences if they aren’t completed.
- “D” tasks are those administrative tasks that should be automated or delegated to better manage your time.
- And finally, “E” tasks should be removed altogether from your list because, even though you may enjoy doing them, they are wasting your time.
Don’t move to the next priority tier until all tasks in the previous tier are done. For example, all “A” tasks must be completed before moving on to “B” tasks and so on.
It does no good to sit and stare at a daunting task and do nothing about it. Dive in! Persevere and get ‘er done. Once it’s finished, the rest of your tasks will seem comparatively easy.
Group similar tasks together. For example, if you must run payroll for multiple clients, then do them back-to-back. Group all the payroll tasks, and then all the bookkeeping tasks, and then all the invoicing tasks, etc. Eliminating the need to jump between tasks will save time and energy.
Breaking up a large task into smaller tasks separated by a short break can improve productivity. You’ll stay more motivated working in shorter bursts with more frequent rewards.
Someone on our team sets a timer for 30 minutes, a manageable amount of time for her to stay on track with urgency, then she applies herself to only the task at hand for the entire 30 minutes. She does not allow distractions to pull her away from the task, including emails and phone calls. Occasionally something unavoidable comes up, in which case she stops the clock. Then once the unavoidable interrupting task is done, she restarts the clock adding the balance of the unworked time to the new timer. For example, if she worked 20 minutes before being interrupted, then the next timer would be set for 30 minutes plus the 10 minutes not worked before the interruption, setting the timer for 40 minutes total. Her method can be customized for what works best for you.
Mental blocks are normal and happen to the best of us even during typical times. Add the global uncertainty and stress of a pandemic, and all we can do is try our best to balance our lives while working remotely.
Sherman Oaks Accounting and Bookkeeping powered by One Source Services, Inc. hopes you can utilize these tips from our team who’ve been telecommuting long-term and KEEP GOING! You’ll reach the other side of the block, we promise.