News: Insight

Working productively at home (I'm getting there!)

29 April 2020   (0 Comments)
Posted by: Jenny Booth
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Wednesday 29 April 2020


“If you’re wondering what day it is, it’s Blursday the Fortyteenth of Marprilay,” read a popular meme in week two of the Covid-19 lockdown.

 As the weeks have rolled on, some people have found their rhythm and been able to work productively at home. The majority of us, however, are still often challenged by remote working.


An instant poll of hundreds of participants in a recent webinar showed 63% of attendees found managing distractions difficult, while 62% said it was hard to stay focused.

The reason is no surprise. Familiar office cues to put your head down and get on with things - things like schedules, team meetings and check-ins with the boss - are just not the same. Many of the rewarding points of our day, such as socialising with colleagues over coffee and lunch, and going-home time, are missing altogether.

In their place have come the distractions and deadlines of being at home. While it’s not too difficult to ignore the laundry, having the kids in the house demanding lunch and help with home schooling while you’re trying to work is a major distraction.

So how do you stay productive at home? How do you keep up your focus and energy levels and prevent work tasks bleeding into family time, and vice versa?

In the webinar run by the Association of Professional Sales on March 31, Angie Vaux of OutsideIN Performance had many excellent suggestions (which APS members can check by watching the webinar recording on the APS site). My main takeaways were to take control of your day by making a good start, and to use productivity models to focus the mind.

A good start

Key here is getting up at your usual time. As the rest of the house sleeps in, you will have peace to crack the jobs that need concentration. I have been doing this since the webinar, and Angie was dead on about it. She suggests you use some of the extra time you’ve won, by not having to commute, to do something healthy: meditation, yoga, exercise, learning; and that you plan your day, including breaks. When I manage to do this, I feel calmer and the day goes better.

Productivity models

The simplest form of productivity model is a list. Angie suggests that you make a list in the morning that contains just six things to do. Write them down and then do them in order, ticking them off and not starting the second until you have finished the first.

Make sure you’re doing the jobs that need doing most by using an Eisenhower matrix to prioritise: divide a sheet of paper into four and put urgent tasks on the left and non-urgent on the right, important tasks at the top and unimportant at the bottom. Anything that is unimportant and non-urgent you can delete. Check in with your manager and team to make sure your priorities are still in sync with theirs; and use your experience of how lockdown days normally go, to plan the best times to get work done. The Association of Professional Sales is running a series of online masterclasses to keep sellers safe and selling during the Coronavirus crisis.

Click here to see our full programme of events, and book your place.

If you are member of the Association of Professional Sales, you can log on to your membership area to listen back to Angie Vaux's webinar.