GLOBAL — The use of the word “productivity” has hit an all-time high, as many of us struggle to work home and strap in for the long haul. At times, it almost seems out of reach; its true meaning dulling over time.

But this idea of productivity can and needs to be defined, Google’s Productivity Expert, Laura Mae Martin explained.

“Defining productivity is the most important thing you can do before you set out on your journey of being productive,” Martin said. “Productivity isn’t always about checking things off your to-do list. But rather it’s about setting the right intention of what you would like to achieve and do well.”

“If you think about productivity as setting out to do something and doing it well, that could be considered a productive day if you complete the task. For instance, if I decide that I want to spend an hour with my daughter and do it, that to me, is considered having a productive moment.”

For those who are looking to form healthy habits, here are Martin’s productivity tips:

  • Set boundaries, both physically and mentally. When you’re working from home once a month or so, you may move around and work at different spots of the house. But this might not be ideal when you’re working over a long period of time as that might distract you from focusing.
  • Pick a dedicated spot in your house you ALWAYS work, pick spots that you NEVER work. Your brain needs a break in certain rooms and needs to learn to focus when in certain spots.
  • Make a plan; plan what you’re going to do the night before, hour by hour if you can. Don’t waste time “figuring out what to do”, especially if you’re operating without childcare and only have nap times, etc.
  • Take advantage of the time. Is there something you’ve been wanting to do for a while? A new training? Something that requires focus? Now is the time! It’s also a chance to figure out your natural productivity rhythms (For example, I work well in the morning and like taking a break after to work out, or that I’m more creative in the afternoon.)

Martin added that working from home shouldn’t mean “working all the time.”

“When you invite work into your home, think of it as a guest. If you are inviting a guest at home for a couple of months, which you’re essentially doing with work, you wouldn’t invite your guest into your bedroom or spend all day with your guest.”

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