These days college isn’t the only place you need to dive in to projects face first. Getting down and dirty with attention marathons are common now with computer based careers. In the new Global Economy knowledge work has been booming since the early 21st century. According to Practices for Engaging the 21st Century Workforce, its impact has left most of us with desk jobs making 61% less than the medium household income ten years earlier. Ouch. Now we are all struggling to keep up with the job market changes by being linchpins. Working remotely has presented some interesting challenges this year that I’ve learned to kill with these strategies below.
TIME TO STEP UP YOUR GAME
Tea & Coffee – Mmm. Not only delicious but gets you to rock star status. I brew my own fresh ground coffee at the house and drink it black to avoid sugar crash. When strapping the rocket propulsion of coffee to your back it helps to include your new best friend, green tea. Throw back a cup to enjoy L-theanine. Ever heard of it? The caffeine in coffee has a tendency to give about anyone the jitters until your green tea comes to the rescue. Sipping tea throughout the afternoon keeps you relaxed and happy.
Exercise – Figured you’d turn up your nose at this one but the critics don’t lie. Falling in love with my Apple Watch was a huge help in providing a platform to measure progress. It is a reminder when my activity levels are lower than usual which inevitably affect productivity. Use your Fitbit or (cringe) some archaic method to keep a record of active calorie burn. Accountability helped me to maintain 45 minutes of cardio per day to hack my brain’s tendency to go sedentary. Sitting at a computer for hours at a time destroys will power. PS: Tracking fitness figures on a spreadsheet helped keep me motivated even for a previous non-believer.1-3-5 Task Strategy – A lot of GTD experts recommend writing in a task diary to keep track of things you’d like to get done during the week. This helps keep focus on the big picture if you can stick to it. Months ago I ran across an iPhone app that sports the 1-3-5 Method. Almost instantly I deleted the app because it was more effective for me to write it down on a sticky every day. You’ll be an expert in no time: choose 1 big task to crush, 3 medium ones and 5 minuscule. Make sure the big one is a massive high level gorilla. It’s easy to lose track of time during the day, feel mega productive and have nothing to show for. Break the cycle.
Pomodoro Technique – A good friend of mine became addicted to the digital ticking sound this thing makes. He says, “It reminds me there’s work to finish. If anyone or anything interrupts me; I reset it religiously and give them a dirty look.” It’s powerful when you have to punish yourself with another 25 minutes of work. By taking 5 minutes breaks between mini crush sessions it helps me sustain long bouts of work when I need it most. Eat the frog first thing in the morning by tackling the most disgusting task on your list with this timer.
Meditation – This helps most in small bursts for me since I’m not a big meditation nut. When focus starts to wane mid-day I do simple breathing exercises like ones you can find on Headspace or guided meditations from The Power Of Now. Take short breaks from whipping your play starved mind into submission. When boot camp isn’t working to focus I step away from my work; everyone tells you this but have you tried it?
Diet – Listing this last because for most including me finds this least enjoyable. In the absence of exercise the introduction of good fat to your diet will act as great brain fuel. I cook with coconut oil and sprinkle meals with MCT, nuts and vegetables. Stay away from the whites: sugar, salt, dairy and flour. Later in the evening bananas help by adding tryptophan to my sleepy noggin. My meals are small and frequent. Working from home increased my health because these habits are easier to maintain. Don’t be hard on yourself if you can’t perfect it. Give it your best shot.