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Returning To The Office? Here’s How You Can Be Productive In a New Normal

As life gradually heads towards a ‘new normal,’ many of us are anxiously preparing; ready and perhaps not-so-raring to get back to work. Because, whether you’re finishing furlough, starting something new, or simply stepping into the office after months of working from home, there’s little doubt it can feel a little daunting.

Written by Adam Bovan

August 2020

How To Be Productive In a New Normal

 With thoughts of commutes and creaky office chairs, it’s easy to cower in a corner, and you might be worried that your productivity will take a hit. After all, change takes a lot of brainpower. But do not fear, because that’s where we step in. Here are our top tips for keeping yourself on track, office or otherwise. 

Love your lists. 

We’re not afraid to say we love lists. They’re a huge part of our working life, pandemic or not, and we love them because they’re simple, quick and effective. Write an ongoing task list. It’ll likely be the length of your arm, but it allows you to keep track of everything you need to do, even if that is simply replying to an email. Your brain is processing a lot right now, so be prepared to help it out. 

Once you’ve got your list, delegate. Make a list just for today, and number tasks based on priority. It’s a simple idea but it sets you up for the day, and boy does it feel good to cross something off. 

Prepare to plan.

Obvious, perhaps. But when you’re overloaded, overworked, and overwhelmed, who has time to plan? From now on, you do. Use your aforementioned lists to plan your day in advance. It will take you five minutes, but it’ll help you stay a whole lot more organised. Use an online calendar to block out time for each of your tasks, and include breaks. When your time is up? Tough luck, time to move on. This approach doesn’t work for everything, and we understand that sometimes life gets in the way; but overall, it allows for a much more productive way of working, and ensures optimum use of your time. Humans are expert procrastinators, and we have a tendency to fill time instead of using it. Planning ahead means giving yourself clear timeframes, and clear expectations. The perfect recipe for productivity, not procrastination. 

To time-self be true. 

So, you’ve got your daily list, and you’ve planned your day – but are you sticking to it? If you struggle to manage your time, then get something else to manage it for you. Change the way you view your work. Instead of ‘I’ve got to do x now,’ try ‘I’m going to spend half an hour on x.’ Now, set a timer, and get on with it. It makes tasks seem less daunting, and it’s easier to bargain with your brain when you know exactly what you’re working with.

Eat your frogs first.

An age-old expression urging you to do the worst bits first. Move your least favourite tasks to the top of your to-do list. It takes a little extra motivation in the mornings, but once you’re done, you’re done! Free to get started on what you really love, and it’s only 10am!

Be kind. 

You can’t be productive if you’re burnt out. You’re going through a strange and stressful time at the moment. We all are. Cut yourself some slack, and be kind. Try and put a little light in every day. Whether it’s a good coffee, a good natter, or a good album, you deserve it, and you’ll be back to your old self in no time. Ready and oh-so-raring to take on the world, even if it is from your sofa.

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