Making Work Flow

Hacking the Working from Home Day

I really struggled getting back into the swing of things this semester. You know once the plates are all up and spinning it is relatively easy to keep them going, but picking up again after a three week break in yet another lockdown is difficult. But look whom I telling this. So instead of wallowing in misery, here are some things, habits I am trying (more or less successfully) that help me.

beautifully arranged cup of coffee, leaves, macaroons on a wooden plate. I wrote 5 minutes, have a cup of coffee consciously

Have a cup of coffee consciously, even if it is just for five to ten minutes. Being mindful off taking breaks and being there–fully–in the moment of breaking from work, helps me to experience the break as such. Not stuffing the break with another not-work-work to do.
Laundry conundrum comes to mind? I tag laundry on to pre-breakfast, post-lunch, or while I am waiting for the kettle to boil.

Image of a desk with an open laptop and a bunch of sweet pea blossoms overlaid with writing. 3 times a day, swtich off notifications, set times fo checking emails. Once an hour. Morning, lunch, late. Shut off distraction

In my situation, checking emails at three (roughly) set times a day, works. It might not work for you. However, I have found that planning set times to check can help me to free up headspace for the reminder of the time.

black and white image of a cockerel crowing out loud. The writing says Beware of the noise. Manage my notifications

I make conscious decisions about switching notifications on or off. I have most MS Teams notifications turned off. As I have set times during which I check in on my students’ asynchronous discussions, or other networks. I have notifications switched on for working groups with deadlines. But also am conscious of other notifications disrupting me, from Facebook to Twitter. The buzz, bing, music or whatever sound associated is a constant draw on our attention and cognitive load. It can help to create silence on that front.

A black and white image of pens scattered on a table. The writing of this meme reads: If you work on something. Just work on that one thing.

Probably the most notable difference to my ability to work more focussed is that. Just work on one thing. I don’t know about you, but I used to have this massive list of all the things I wanted to work on during that one day, knowing well enough, that I won’t be able to do all of this during one day. So I would flip, jump from one to the other and never manage to properly make progress on any. So I decided to pick one or two ‘biggish’ things per day to work on. And put everything aside. It feels as if this is freeing up cognitive load because the other stuff is for another time.

Anyhow, these are my managing the workday strategies, or some of them anyway. What works for you? Am always up for more hacks!

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