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Want A Productive Day But End Up Wasting It? Here Are 3 Obstacles You Need To Remove

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Want A Productive Day But End Up Wasting It? Here Are 3 Obstacles You Need To Remove

Remember all those times you wanted to get back in shape and you told yourself, “I’ll start Monday”?

Sunday night rolls around, you set your alarm, it goes off in the AM, it’s earlier than you would normally get up so you find yourself mindlessly scrolling through your social media and the next thing you know, two hours have passed by and now you have no desire to go to the gym. The day comes to a close and you find yourself wondering at what point in the day your desire to be productive dwindled away.

Sound familiar? Well, there can be quite a few contributing factors that can affect your productivity and end up wasting the day away.

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3 Obstacles You Need To Remove for A More Productive Day

1. Optimism

You have a day off from work coming up so you plan ahead all the things you want to get done that day with the intention of tackling them all. The day comes and you realize that one of the things on your list is taking much longer to get done than you had anticipated, and you realize that there just aren’t enough hours in a day to get it all finished.

Being optimistic is a great quality to have, however, it will really get in the way sometimes when you’re trying to get a laundry list of tasks done in a short 24-time window.

2. Distractions

When you have a task to complete but there is no one around to check up on your progress or put pressure on you, probably you’ll end up procrastinating and allowing yourself to become distracted. You get distracted by the computer or your phone checking social media and sending texts back and forth you aren’t getting anything done. Pay attention to the people that you are surrounded by as well as your distractions. These play a big part in whatever environment you are in.

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3. Being overwhelmed

You wake up ready to take on the day and crush your tasks. You sit down to eat your breakfast and suddenly you start thinking about all the things you need to do that need to be done that day. Suddenly, your anxiety sets in and you’re extremely overwhelmed. You feel that you just won’t get everything done, and you start feeling discouraged. So as the day progresses, you start losing your motivation to get anything done that all you have to show for yourself is a half-completed task in one hand and a glass of wine in the other.

Whether you want to admit it to yourself or not, we have all done these things at one point or another. You are probably wondering what you can do to help overcome some of these issues, and it really can be quite simple.

3 Ways to Overcome these Obstacles

1. Shorten your to-do list

Realize and accept that you only have 24 hours in a day. It sounds like a lot, but when you have a million things to do it isn’t. Then also realize that you are a human being and not superman/woman. Think about what needs to be done and what you want to get done. By doing this, you’re surely going to cut that list in half.

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2. Start a routine

Once you get yourself into a routine, you’ll be surprised at how much easier it is for you to stay on task. For example, if you want to get back in shape, get yourself in a good morning routine to get ready for your trip to the gym. Instead of checking your phone when you wake up, get up and take a big stretch, walk to the bathroom and brush your teeth, wash your face, and change into your gym clothes.

Make yourself some breakfast and head out the door. Doing this every single day will eventually become a habit to the point where if you missed something in your routine, something would just feel off.

3. Put your phone down

Put down those cell phones! More often than not, our phones can be one of the biggest reasons we lose our motivation because they are so distracting.

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You wake up in the morning and one of the first things you do is pick up your phone and check your social media apps instead of getting up right away and getting things done. You get caught up in the motion of checking the same apps, refreshing, and scrolling. It happens.

When it’s time to get something done and you know you need to focus, put your phone out of reach so you don’t get the itch to pick it up. Leave it in your car, your purse, at home. When you start doing this you’ll begin to realize how much more you can get done when you aren’t constantly being distracted by what’s happening on your phone.

Featured photo credit: https://www.understood.org via understood.org

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Erica Wagner

Erica is a passionate writer who shares inspiring ideas and lifestyle tips on Lifehack.

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Published on September 21, 2021

How Remote Work Affects Your Productivity And Wellbeing (Backed By Data)

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How Remote Work Affects Your Productivity And Wellbeing (Backed By Data)

The internet is flooded with articles about remote work and its benefits or drawbacks. But in reality, the remote work experience is so subjective that it’s impossible to draw general conclusions and issue one-size-fits-all advice about it. However, one thing that’s universal and rock-solid is data. Data-backed findings and research about remote work productivity give us a clear picture of how our workdays have changed and how work from home affects us—because data doesn’t lie.

In this article, we’ll look at three decisive findings from a recent data study and two survey reports concerning remote work productivity and worker well-being.

1. We Take Less Frequent Breaks

Your home can be a peaceful or a distracting place depending on your living and family conditions. While some of us might find it hard to focus amidst the sounds of our everyday life, other people will tell you that the peace and quiet while working from home (WFH) is a major productivity booster. Then there are those who find it hard to take proper breaks at home and switch off at the end of the workday.

But what does data say about remote work productivity? Do we work more or less in a remote setting?

Let’s take a step back to pre-pandemic times (2014, to be exact) when a time tracking application called DeskTime discovered that 10% of most productive people work for 52 minutes and then take a break for 17 minutes.

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Recently, the same time tracking app repeated that study to reveal working and breaking patterns during the pandemic. They found that remote work has caused an increase in time worked, with the most productive people now working for 112 minutes and breaking for 26 minutes.[1]

Now, this may seem rather innocent at first—so what if we work for extended periods of time as long as we also take longer breaks? But let’s take a closer look at this proportion.

While breaks have become only nine minutes longer, work sprints have more than doubled. That’s nearly two hours of work, meaning that the most hard-working people only take three to four breaks per 8-hour workday. This discovery makes us question if working from home (WFH) really is as good a thing for our well-being as we thought it was. In addition, in the WFH format, breaks are no longer a treat but rather a time to squeeze in a chore or help children with schoolwork.

Online meetings are among the main reasons for less frequent breaks. Pre-pandemic meetings meant going to another room, stretching your legs, and giving your eyes a rest from the computer. In a remote setting, all meetings happen on screen, sometimes back-to-back, which could be one of the main factors explaining the longer work hours recorded.

2. We Face a Higher Risk of Burnout

At first, many were optimistic about remote work’s benefits in terms of work-life balance as we save time on commuting and have more time to spend with family—at least in theory. But for many people, this was quickly counterbalanced by a struggle to separate their work and personal lives. Buffer’s 2021 survey for the State of Remote Work report found that the biggest struggle of remote workers is not being able to unplug, with collaboration difficulties and loneliness sharing second place.[2]

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Buffer’s respondents were also asked if they are working more or less since their shift to remote work, and 45 percent admitted to working more. Forty-two percent said they are working the same amount, while 13 percent responded that they are working less.

Longer work hours and fewer quality breaks can dramatically affect our health, as long-term sitting and computer use can cause eye strain, mental fatigue, and other issues. These, in turn, can lead to more severe consequences, such as burnout and heart disease.

Let’s have a closer look at the connection between burnout and remote work.

McKinsey’s report about the Future of work states that 49% of people say they’re feeling some symptoms of burnout.[3] And that may be an understatement since employees experiencing burnout are less likely to respond to survey requests and may have even left the workforce.

From the viewpoint of the employer, remote workers may seem like they are more productive and working longer hours. However, managers must be aware of the risks associated with increased employee anxiety. Otherwise, the productivity gains won’t be long-lasting. It’s no secret that prolonged anxiety can reduce job satisfaction, decrease work performance, and negatively affect interpersonal relationships with colleagues.[4]

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3. Despite everything, We Love Remote Work

An overwhelming majority—97 percent—of Buffer report’s survey respondents say they would like to continue working remotely to some extent. The two main benefits mentioned by the respondents are the ability to have a flexible schedule and the flexibility to work from anywhere.

McKinsey’s report found that more than half of employees would like their workplace to adopt a more flexible hybrid virtual-working model, with some days of work on-premises and some days working remotely. To be more exact, more than half of employees report that they would like at least three work-from-home days a week once the pandemic is over.

Companies will increasingly be forced to find ways to satisfy these workforce demands while implementing policies to minimize the risks associated with overworking and burnout. Smart companies will embrace this new trend and realize that adopting hybrid models can also be a win for them—for example, for accessing talent in different locations and at a lower cost.

Remote Work: Blessing or Plight?

Understandably, workers worldwide are tempted to keep the good work-life aspects that have come out of the pandemic—professional flexibility, fewer commutes, and extra time with family. But with the once strict boundaries between work and life fading, we must remain cautious. We try to squeeze in house chores during breaks. We do online meetings from the kitchen or the same couch we watch TV shows from, and many of us report difficulties switching off after work.

So, how do we keep our private and professional lives from hopelessly blending together?

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The answer is that we try to replicate the physical and virtual boundaries that come naturally in an office setting. This doesn’t only mean having a dedicated workspace but also tracking your work time and stopping when your working hours are finished. In addition, it means working breaks into your schedule because watercooler chats don’t just naturally happen at home.

If necessary, we need to introduce new rituals that resemble a normal office day—for example, going for a walk around the block in the morning to simulate “arriving at work.” Remote work is here to stay. If we want to enjoy the advantages it offers, then we need to learn how to cope with the personal challenges that come with it.

Learn how to stay productive while working remotely with these tips: How to Work From Home: 10 Tips to Stay Productive

Featured photo credit: Jenny Ueberberg via unsplash.com

Reference

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