Time Management Skills to Help You Stay Focused in the Days of WFH
As I sit down to focus on this blog, there are distractions everywhere. There are at least 25 unread emails in my inbox. Three un-listened-to voicemails. The dogs want to go out. Even my stomach is grumbling, starving for attention. There is literally no better time to talk about time management skills.
Having been diagnosed with ADHD in 2003, I have a particularly insightful view on how difficult it can be to manage time and stay focused. While my ADHD means that I may suffer a little more than most, it also means I have methods to better manage my days that could benefit anyone. After all, no one is immune to getting lost in the minutiae of multiple projects, juggling a seemingly impossible number of tasks, all while meeting seemingly impossible deadlines. This can be even more difficult in a WFH environment.
These days, the average worker sends or receives 129 emails per day, taking up an estimated 23% of their day? And when COVID came along, it brought the onslaught of video conference calls, adding a layer of distraction, not to mention anxiety. In fact, 76% of professionals say they now spend almost 1/3 of their day on camera, 38% of employees say they have experienced video call fatigue since the start of the pandemic, and 24% confirm they find virtual meetings inefficient and exhausting.
I’m exhausted just thinking about those numbers.
So, how can I stay focused and effective at running impeccable research projects despite all these challenges and daily distractions? Here are three tactics that I’ve found to work for me (and may work for you and your project, too):
1. I organize my day before my day starts
Information overload is real, so I use this tactic to manage my tasks and prevent internal turmoil that can come from feeling overwhelmed. I simply designate certain parts of my day to specific types of tasks. I’m a morning person, and so I save my deep, analytical thinking for that time of day.
2. I communicate and delegate
I ask myself if there are things I need to communicate to someone in order for them to get started on a task before I start on mine. This ensures there’s no time being wasted. When I sense that my list is piling up too high for me to meet a deadline or do my best work for, I delegate to a member of the extended research team. This can not only help me accomplish my daily tasks but can improve the outcome.
3. I give myself ‘brain breaks’
Sometimes we have to give ourselves a little grace when we’re dealing with the daily grind. When I’m feeling overwhelmed or I realize I’ve been staring at my computer for 8 hours straight, I take a break and employ stress management techniques.
There are lots of mindfulness and self-help techniques that you can employ to decompress a bit, like yoga or even using a meditation app like Calm.
My favorite form of stress relief is taking a walk with my two dogs, Howard and Fred. Fifteen to twenty minutes away from the computer and/or phone with a little fresh air and the unconditional love of my pets gives me just the boost I need to get back to focusing on the next task. And it wears the pups out, too.
Of course, one of the healthiest ways to give my brain a break is to move my body. Exercise increases blood flow to the brain, which is proven to reduce stress and anxiety and help with focus and alertness.
So, the next time you’re feeling overwhelmed, remember to step back, breathe and use one of the above techniques to regain your focus. I promise it will make you that much more effective, efficient and will lead to having a more meaningful and profitable impact on your client’s business.
The Worldwide Market Research team is always here to back you up. We see ourselves as a partner who will co-own every research project with you from start to finish. Bringing us in early will ensure a smoother-run study and more accurate results.
And now, a brain break…
Send us a line at firstname.lastname@example.org. We can’t wait to collaborate on your next study.