Updated: May 19, 2021
During COVID-19, my world stopped. I had to figure out how to work from home. My school had shut down. This was brand new territory for me. I had been getting up to go to work for the last 9 years. Never really knowing what it meant to work from home. The shutdown was so abrupt that I, along with many other teachers, was left wondering how to teach our students away from each other. I had to figure out a new schedule. I had to learn how to make a work schedule in a completely new way.
Working from home was all new to me. But... I fell into it easily. Secretly, I had been doing a lot of writing and wanting to start my own business on the side. This opportunity had arisen and I was going to take it. At first, I struggled to find a good routine. After that initial struggle, I fell into a good work schedule with schooling from home and working on my business.
Why Did I Need A Work Schedule
I NEEDED to make a work schedule. Because if I didn't... my all-time favorite timewasters would take a hold of me. I would have wasted the time I had.
And this is honestly what happened. I got sucked in by my favorite show New Girl. Therefore, I would sit on that couch all-day wondering where the time had gone.
I needed a work schedule and I needed it fast. The key factors for me were motivation, productivity, and getting off the couch. I needed to do ALL of these things. So I worked on making a new work-from-home schedule.
As a result, my productivity went up, motivation increased, and I wasn't sitting on the couch for all hours of the day.
Here's what I did.
Create a Work Schedule With Your Top Priorities First
I journal every morning and evening. One of my journal prompts asked what my top 3 priorities for the day were. Unfortunately, I never took this seriously. I would just write some things in but never really follow what I was writing. Basically, writing to fill in space. No intention was going into what I was writing.
So, I started there. The next day, I wrote my top 3 priorities. I wrote them with intention and I actually did them. They were the first tasks that I did that day. It felt so good to get them done, too.
I did this for the rest of the week. After that, I started adding other tasks. Fun "tasks", too. I had done pretty well at getting my priorities finished and was feeling productive. In other words, I now had more time to get other tasks finished. Such as learn how to play the piano... something I had been wanting to do for a while.
Start your day by writing your top 3 priorities. Then, add other tasks from there. You'll find that you will start your day with your priorities and have some more time to do other things, too.
The brain connection with writing is fascinating. Write it out. I'm serious.
This may not seem as important. Or you may think that you will get less done because you're taking breaks. However, this is simply not the case.
It's hard to believe but you actually get MORE done. On average, your brain can stay focused for 20-30 minutes. After that, it needs a rest. When you don't rest your brain, you lose focus, your work gets sloppy, and you start working a little slower. Plus, you are easily distracted.
For example, my focus spot is 20 minutes. I do my best work when I focus for 20 minutes and give myself a break. If I go past 20 minutes, I will start to become distracted. It's like the dog from the movie Up. He's talking away and all a sudden he says "Squirrel."
Find your focus spot and work for that long. After that, give yourself a little break. It could be a short break where you are not doing your tasks but looking out the window for 2 minutes. Or it could be a break where you are sitting outside for 5 minutes. Just focus your eyes on something else.
It doesn't have to be a long time, as long as you are getting your brain away from those tasks to focus on something different for a few minutes.
Those few minutes can increase your productivity, your motivation, and help you do your best work.
Give yourself a break!
I don't mean ground yourself like you would a child for not following a rule you have given.
I mean getting outside. Go ahead and get rowdy by not wearing any shoes, too.
This is one of the most simple things you can add to a work schedule. Going outdoors is right at your fingertips. All you have to do is walk out the door.
There is something about fresh air, sunshine, and feeling connected to the universe that wakes us up and makes us FEEL freaking fantastic!
For example, when I was working from home or when I do work from home I like to take a break and let my dogs out for 10 minutes. They get to go outside and I get the benefits of feeling connected to the universe. It refocuses me and it gives me energy.
Grounding, aka going outside with bare feet, has been researched and proven to reduce stress, reduce pain, and improve sleep. All things that we need to strive for as humans! If you go outside with shoes on, that's okay. You will still be getting benefits from the fresh air and some much-needed Vitamin D3 which is a great mood stabilizer.
I encourage you to put grounding or going outside in your work schedule. Make it a part of your day. When I did this, I felt refreshed and ready to get back to the task. As a result, my productivity increased.
A Productive Work Schedule
As Frankie B. would say on Grace and Frankie, "Get crackin', toots."
Make a work schedule with these three things in mind and you will see an increase in productivity and motivation.
Brain Health Coach
Owner of SustainaBRAIN