If you’re one of the tens (hundreds?) of thousands who has transitioned to working from home for the past 10 months or so, you may be realizing some challenges in staying productive. I know I have.
I recently started listening to Atomic Habits by James Clear to see what I might do to increase my productivity. This certainly isn’t the first book on the topic, although I’m finding one thing very refreshing about Clear’s ideas: They’re simple and easy to implement.
I encourage you to read the book to learn more, while I spend the remainder of this piece reflecting on just one of his tips: Make the cues for your productive habits obvious and remove the cues for the unproductive ones by designing your environment.
As I reflected on that tip, I realized that I’m accidentally already following it. My wife and co-workers will tell you how I grumble about being stuck my basement den this Winter. It’s isolated, with no windows and I have no idea what’s going on in the rest of the world. Turns out, by parking myself down there, I’ve better designed my environment to separate my work and home life and realized increased productivity by sticking to the cues for productivity in my ‘home office’ while removing the cues for unproductive distraction by staying away from the things that distract me.
If you’re working from home, do a quick scan of your environment: are you working in a somewhat segregated area that’s relatively free from distraction, or are you in the living room recliner one minute and then in the kitchen with your laptop the next? Where are TVs, cell phones and family members? Can you find more work-life balance by using a certain chair as a cue for the only place that work happens? The list is endless…
Will I be back out working on the patio if we’re still working from home this Spring? You bet. However, I’ll be sure that that’s my ‘office’ for the day and make sure that that’s where work happens…until quitting time at least!