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Be Productive in Bursts

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Be Productive in Bursts

We have a finite number of hours in the day and those hours are increasingly being used up in our everyday life. With large chunks of the workforce working from home (WFH) permanently or alternating between WFH and going to the office, our daily distractions at work have increased significantly.

Most of us are aware that it is impossible to ignore the knocking on your home office door by your 3 year old, or the scream of an upset child. This along with all the other things that happen at home is taking up a significant part of your 8 to 10 hour work day and can lead to a decrease in productivity, which we know will not impress your boss.

On top of this, many of us thrive from being in a team, the encouragement, education, and fun you experience in a workplace with a team of like minded individuals help you in your daily activities and motivation. Whereas when you are at home, video catch-ups just don’t give the same results. You need to take more breaks to refresh, or the many distractions have to be attended to.

That is why I strongly believe in people working in shorter bursts. Working is no longer a marathon, but a series of sprints to get to the finish line.

Since the significant increase in WFH, statistics are showing that workers are spreading out their responsibilities throughout the day to ensure they can get the job done while managing their home life. This is partly because of the distractions at home, but also because your colleagues and clients assume you have your work computer with you at all times and are working outside of office hours anyway, so they have no hesitation in setting meetings, calling you, etc during these times.

So instead of trying to work your normal office hours and then being accommodating with these out of office hours requests, you will be happy and just as productive (if not more so) if you break up your tasks into shorter time frames.

This is what I suggest:

  • Sort through your daily, weekly or monthly tasks allocating the required time to complete each task.

  • Using your calendar, block out 15 to 45 minute sections for each specific task. If a task will take longer than this, schedule multiple blocks but remember to keep breaks between them.

  • At the start of each task, make sure you are completely focused and are able to work undisturbed for the allotted time.

  • When you have finished, spend some time before the next task doing work that is simple or not that important to give your brain a rest. Or you could walk out of your office for a little bit and tell your family that you love them.

Some bosses won’t like this idea, but if your output is the same and you are available when your colleagues or customers try to contact you, then eventually they will see the logic. In actual fact your productivity will likely increase, so your boss will be happy.