Work from Home during Coronavirus: Why Writing Things Down Can Help You Be More Productive Now Than Ever

Writing Things Down During Coronavirus Helps Boost Productivity

This time is full of uncertainty, and with most of us stuck at home, it can get very tricky to stay focused and reach your goals. Somehow even on our best days, tasks seem to take more time than usual. 

But why, you might ask?

Turns out most people make the mistake of not writing our goals down, and thus their mind is not prepared to take on what’s coming their way.

We have written about why planning on paper is better than using digital calendars or notes before, but this week we break down the topic of why you should rediscover the productive order and peace by writing things down.

So buckle up, grab your pen and planner, and check out these 5 reasons writing things down can help you be more productive!

1. You’re more likely to actually check to-dos off your list

It’s now more important than ever to try and establish what is and what’s not worth doing . When you have to focus on work from home where your kids and puppies are distracting you, your to-dos and goals should be very clear. 

But most of us are used to not actually writing the to-dos down, we rather just think about them. In that case they are merely thoughts that run through your head and are gone the moment your Slack chat notification bell rings.

That’s why it’s important to actually write the to-dos down, so you could reevaluate them, sort them and maybe even realise something is not worth your time.

Here are some tips on how to create a good to-do list:

  • "Eat the frog first" – always start with the hardest task.

Choose one thing that you must do but are not so keen on doing and start your day by dealing with exactly that. This way you ensure everything you do afterwards brings you more joy and satisfaction.

  • Set a limited number of items on your list and stick with it.

We advise a set number of 1 Most Important Task, which can be followed by a maximum of 4 more tasks per day. There is no point in having too many items on your to-do list, as it’s a bulletproof way to never check everything off your list. 

  • Use the Eisenhower Matrix to categorize tasks by importance and urgency.
Use the world renowned decision matrix to become aware of what needs your attention and what is actually just a distraction. Find out more about it and get your free Eisenhower PDF template here.
 
  • Prepare the list in advance.

Best time to prepare for the next day is just before bedtime, so you sleep better and don’t have to start your morning with making decisions on what to do.

If you’d like to find out why your to-do list is not working for you, check out the article on  7 Most Common To-Do List Mistakes and How To Fix Them.

 

2. You discover your real goals and ambitions

So you have a to-do list in place and are excited to finally get on with your day. What this does is actually creating head-space for new realizations. To-dos are steps you take towards your goals, and can even showcase your ambitions you’ve been surpressing.

Now is the best time to reevaluate your ambitions and establish goals you want to achieve. 

 

Here are some great ways to steer your thoughts toward discovering your real ambitions during Coronavirus:

  • Let yourself dream through visualisation.
Imagine no time or money constraints are presented to you within the next year. Where would you want to be and what would you like to be doing? Write this dream down in your planner and try to look at it daily. This will most likely reveal your true passion, your true goal and your true being.
  • Based on what you discovered in the previous step, break it down into smaller, actionable steps.
Using the Don’t Break The Chain method, try and break things down into smaller, more manageable steps you could take. And the simply write down the one thing you could do daily to get closer to achieving that goal in one year. You can also use Office hero Planner’s Monthly view where you can easily track your progress.
 

3. You feel more in control

Nothing fuels your productivity more than the feeling of control. Once you have a grasp of what you must accomplish daily and monthly, you will sense the power over your distractions, power over your excuses and power over lack of resources.

Here’s how you can feel more in control of your daily life by writing things down:

  • Plan your day ahead.
Plan your next day the evening before. This will create a great momentum in the morning, because you will have a sense of accomplishment already by just looking at the prepared to-do list, and avoid decision fatigue in the morning.
  • Evaluate how your day went.
Writing down how the day went can help you prepare for the next day, be more realistic about your tasks and gain more understanding of what and how can influence your plans – all things that create great sense of control and early achievement.
  • Take notes during the day
It is important you have a space accessible to you at all times for writing things down. You never know what your next great idea could be, and it’s been proven by several studies that taking notes helps promote creativity.
 

4. Your stress levels are lower

When things are written down, it means  you thought about them and had to spend time with your thoughts to organize them in a way that makes sense to become written words. According to research, this process is amazing at lowering your stress levels purely because your sense of control is higher and it brings peace to your mental state.

Here are some great ways to lower your stress levels while stranded at home:

  • Write down affirmations.
As cheesy as this sounds, even one word written down that brings you inspiration can motivate you to get through rough times. Think of some words that are meaningful to you and write them down to stay in front of you throughout the day. You can also use a planner with daily motivational quotes, and highlight the ones that resonate with you the most.
  • Doodle or draw something.
Notice how children get happy way quicker than us adults, and tend to be less stressed? Studies show that doodling or drawing something are great ways to rediscover the child within – the creative part of you that sometimes gets forgotten. This is a great way to relax, reduce stress levels and just allow your mind to unwind without the pressures of “the real adult world”.
 

5. Your personal and work life are rebalanced

By writing stuff down and prioritizing tasks and goals, you optimize your workload and thus improve your work-life balance. It’s always been tough to weigh between private life and work life, and now the lines can get more blurred than ever before.

But worry not, as by writing things down you can clearly set these two apart, and see the distinction between them more clearly.

Here are some great ways to recover your work-life balance when working from home:

  • Write down the exact time you will stop working (and stick to it).
While most of us know the working hours we should stick to, it gets hard not to overwork. That’s why it’s important to actually mark the “workday” ending time and prepare yourself to turn off all notifications related to work after that.
  • Plan your “non-work” tasks as well.
So you have a to-do list for work, but how about setting a clear agenda for your private life? You do know that if you’ll wing it at work you’ll most likely get fired. So why not try the same approach in your private life? Try and intentionally set plans for yourself and your loved ones. Try “no phone calls after 6PM” written down in your daily schedule, thank us later.
 

Some final words

Even if working from home is not a new turf for you, a new approach to it could never hurt. And what better way to take back control over your life than with a clear plan written down in front of you that gives you peace of mind that nothing is missing from the bigger picture.

 
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