How to trick yourself into being productive when you really don’t feel like it

Post on October 19, 2020

2020 has been tough on all of us. And working from home, while fun at first, is now probably taking its toll. If you haven’t yet got to the stage where you find yourself sitting in your pyjamas, completely zoned out, while your WhatsApp pings at you, don’t worry… It’s coming.

Still, life goes on. Your to-do list isn’t going anywhere and you need to find a way to pull it together and get productive. That’s no easy feat, but the workbuddy team has found a few things that work some magic:

1. Make your list appear doable

Part of the reason you don’t feel like working is because you don’t get the satisfaction of leaving the office (and your list) behind at the end of the day. At home, the list stays with you always. 

It’s time to make your list appear more doable. If your brain sees a light at the end of the tunnel, it will up its gear and get you there faster.

As the experts advise, choose 3 main tasks from your list to prioritise each day. Just 3. Allow yourself to feel satisfied and accomplished when these 3 tasks are complete. Everything else is a bonus. 

Use an app to trick your brain into staying focused

A dangerous suggestion, we know. Apps like Facebook and Instagram are cleverly designed to suck hours out of our day before we realise it. But the good news is, other developers have cleverly designed apps that help us stay productive.

Use the Freedom app to block all distracting websites and apps from your laptop and phone while you work. You can even set a “locked mode” that prevents you from ending a blocked session when your willpower weakens. It’s kind of like having your mum standing over you until you FINISH THAT HOMEWORK. 

We also like the Flora app, which gamifies the art of staying focused. When you set yourself a task, it plants a virtual seed for you. The seed grows into a tree the longer you focus on the task at hand. As soon as you get distracted by Facebook or other social media apps, the plant dies. It really works! (Don’t kill the trees)!

Create an inviting space to lure yourself in

We’re not saying your workspace should be beautiful enough to be featured in a design magazine. We prefer Marie Kondo’s approach: create a space that improves your wellbeing, your way. Sort through everything on your desk, picking each item up one by one and asking yourself: “Is this item helpful to me? Does it make me happy?” If the answer’s a double no, let it go. The result will be a workspace you WANT to be in.

If you don’t have a private workspace at home and the office is too loud and crowded, try booking yourself into a co-working space instead. You get a professional space, with all the hygiene and social-distancing rules taken care of, great Wi-Fi for all those Zoom calls, and best of all, you get to be around other working adults and feel human again. Before long, you’ll find yourself subconsciously looking forward to these “outings”. Kind of like a staycation but for work.

With a workbuddy pass, you have access to 35 classy co-working spaces all around the city. Go for the one nearest home to avoid the commute, or switch it up and try a different one every week. And because everyone needs more reasons to smile in 2020, you get your first week completely free

Make the home distractions work in your favour

When you sit down in front of your laptop, all set to get started, but your mind is more interested in your chores than work, what do you do? You martial arts it: instead of fighting it, flow with it. Physical movement is a great way to refresh your brain between tasks that require concentration like reading, writing, negotiating, figuring out a problem, etc. So, instead of trying to resist the temptation to wash the dishes (you know you’ve reached a new low when the dishes seem “tempting”), weave it into your work schedule. Set little goals: “As soon as I finish these 5 emails, I’ll wash the dishes.” Or, “Once I’ve written the structure for this report, I’ll put the laundry in.”

As lame as it sounds, home chores can end up feeling like rewards for small productivity wins. Harness the distractions to your advantage!

Good luck. You’ve got this!

The workbuddy team

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