Work Fewer Hours

Are you working too much? When working from home, many people are working more hours than before. The hardest hit are those who already worked a lot.

There are some people who get paid by the hour and need to work a lot of hours to make ends meet. But too many people are simply putting in a lot of hours without actually creating value for anyone. You can always spend extra time on a report, attend another status meeting or put more illustrations into your PowerPoint presentation.

Track how many hours you work this week. Next week, work one hour less. You will find that knowing you have less time will focus your attention. You will get just as much done.

Create Your Own Sound

Create your own sound. I don’t mean you have to gather a few friends and create an indie band, though that can certainly be rewarding for some people. But the sounds around you affect your mental state. Most of us don’t live in the countryside where you only heard birdsong and the buzzing of bees. Working from home, we are free of the hellish soundscape of the open plan office, but we often live in urban surroundings. We have traffic noise, neighbors, barking dogs, and maybe even our partner speaking too loudly on a Zoom call.

You are unconsciously listening and processing all of these sounds. That takes energy that could be used for something more useful. To get more done, personally and professionally, create your own sound surroundings. If possible, avoid headphones. Consider a small indoor fountain to create the soothing sound of running water. There are “white noise machines” that emit a constant low-volume noise that masks other noises in your environment. Or you can play instrumental music at low volume through your computer speakers or a separate speaker connected to your phone.

Sound affects your mood and your productivity. Don’t just accept the sound the world pushes upon you. Create your own sound like you create your own life.