Working on the weekends can be tough. Your family and friends have invited you to join their plans but you must spend a few hours at the computer to meet an urgent deadline. Work can be fun if you enjoy it; a real pain if you don’t.
If you’re working from home and trying to ignore distractions, try these tips to stay productive, regardless of the day of the week.
1 Set Goals
Before you begin your workday, set your goals. Ask yourself, what MUST be done today, and what COULD be done today if you have the time.
Work backward, calculating how many hours you plan to work and estimate how many hours you need for the critical tasks. If you still have time left, add the tasks that would be nice to complete.
For example, if you are required to work X hours, estimate how long it will take you to complete the mandatory tasks. Then decide what tasks you could work on if you still have some time left.
After prioritizing these tasks, complete the most urgent or difficult one first. Make a checklist of your tasks for the day, and cross off each task as you complete it. It’s a great feeling to see your list shrink as your workday progresses.
If you’re a freelancer or business owner, your goal for Saturday or Sunday might be to catch up on less important tasks. It’s a peaceful time to clear out some paperwork or catch up on the accounting you didn’t have time for during the week.
2 Time Blocking
Okay, you’ve decided on a list of what you want to complete by the end of your work day. Next, you want to block time for working productively.
Estimate how much time it tasks to complete a task. Then focus on working in short spurts. You might want to set a timer to mark when 15 to 30 minutes have passed. Or, you might want to work in long time blocks of one hour, although shorter periods are better for focused concentration.
After a short block of time has passed, take a brief break. Stretch, walk around or sip on your favorite work beverage. If you work in long time blocks, take a longer break.
Set boundaries for communication and socialization, especially if you live with others. Have a way to signal to family or roommates when it’s your office hours. For example, close your home office door. When it’s break time, open the door so they know that’s their time to speak with you or spend time with you.
If you have coworkers who also work, even on the weekends, you can also time block. If answering messages and emails distracts you from your task, wait until your task is complete before answering messages. If you don’t have time to complete a work request, tell your coworker when you will be completing the task.
Most importantly, when it is time to work, use that block of time productively. Focus on your work and turn off all distractions. Listen to music if it helps to keep you focused. Tell your furry coworker friend they can work next to you as long as they don’t sit on the keyboard (which cats sometimes do).
3 Prioritize Health
Time blocking can greatly increase your productivity. Just as important to your productivity is including habits to improve your mental and physical health.
Working on the weekend can already be challenging if everyone you know has time off on the weekend. This type of work schedule can affect your mental health if you want to break free and join whatever your family is doing.
But since you’re committed to the work day, commit yourself to setting boundaries. Decide on blocks of time when you can have a quick chat with your family during a work break. Make plans for later in the day so you’ll have something to look forward to.
If you live alone, chat with your friends during your work breaks. Take advantage of support systems that you find on social media.
People who freelance or run a business reach out to online communities so they can share their challenges and struggles. This network is especially important if your friends aren’t business owners and constantly ask why you’re working on the weekend.
In addition to social support, look after your body. When you work from home, it’s easy to hunch over a computer and stare at a screen for hours. It’s not healthy for your back or eyes.
During a break, stretch, get a cup of tea or coffee, and walk around. Take in your surroundings. Chat with your plant, cat, bird, or dog about what you’re working on. Sometimes you’ll have a breakthrough while you brainstorm, and you’ll work out what was stumping you about your work task.
If you’re working from home this weekend, you can improve your focus and productivity with careful planning. First, set your goals, then use time blocking to ensure that you achieve them. Third, remember to take breaks and rest to keep your body and mind healthy.
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