Archive for April, 2016

Top 10 Ways to Be More Productive When Working from Home – Week 2

Working out of your own home. It’s the modern workers dream. But as anyone who has tried it can tell you, working in your pyjama’s isn’t as great as you’d imagine – productivity-wise at least.

If you’re someone who does work from home, this Focus is for you. Here are a few more ways to increase your productivity at home:

 

Block All Disturbances

The temptation to procrastinate or spend all day looking at cat GIFs is very strong when no one’s looking over your shoulder. Carve out space and time dedicated just to working.

Create a Focused Work Environment

The best tool for any worker: An environment that lets you focus. For many, that will be a dedicated room with a door (to shut out family members and also close at the end of the day). Also important: the right lighting, desk setup, and noise control.

Switch Up Your Office Location

Sometimes the best way to work remotely to not work from home. Tap into the creative buzz at a coffee shop or find some camaraderie at a coworking space. Perhaps play “Workstation Popcorn” to boost your focus and take advantage of your ability to work from anywhere.

Force Yourself to Stop Working

Slacking off might be the biggest fear you and your manager will have before you start working from home. For many of us, though, the biggest problem is overworking and burning out. Make stopping work easier on yourself with little tricks like setting an alarm for the end of the day, setting appointments at the end of the day, and making a pact with yourself to protect your downtime.

Create a Routine and Set Boundaries

I’ve been working from home for over 15 years. I’ve had my productivity highs and lows. The best thing I’ve ever done for my productivity? Scheduling my days and weeks around my energy. Daily rituals and a morning routine help too.

 

And that folks is how you stay productive at home! For a recap of these 10 methods, check out Lifehacker.com.

Catch up on your favorite Friday Focus in our Archives page!

Top 10 Ways to Be More Productive When Working from Home – Week 1

Working out of your own home. It’s the modern workers dream. But as anyone who has tried it can tell you, working in your pyjama’s isn’t as great as you’d imagine – productivity-wise at least.

If you’re someone who does work from home, this Focus is for you. Here are a few ways to be more productive at home:

 

Get Dressed

Sure, getting to work in your PJs is one of the big benefits to working on your own, but it doesn’t help you get into a work frame of mind. You don’t have to wear a suit or anything formal, but at least wear pants (or a skirt).

“Commute” to Your Home Office

On a similar note, get out of the house for a little bit before you start the day. A fake commute—even if it’s just a walk around the block—can be part of a small ritual that jump starts your day.

Take Mini Exercise Breaks

You need coffee breaks as much as the in-office person does. Kill two birds with one stone by incorporating mini workouts throughout the day. It’ll help you think straighter, boost your mood and productivity, and make sure you get enough exercise.

Get the Right Tools for Your Job

Telecommuters need particular tools to stay connected to office colleagues. These include enterprise web conferencing tools, document collaboration suites, and screen sharing tools. Your IT department will likely suggest specific ones you need.

Keep Your Family from Disturbing You

Ah, family members. The people you love who won’t leave you alone when you most need to work. It’s hard for significant others and kids to realize you’re in work mode when you’re at home, but you can train them. Give kids a learning station to keep them busy and establish some ground rules with your partner.

 

But wait, there’s more! We’ve got a few more ways that you can increase your productivity at home. Stay tuned!

We got these from Lifehacker.com, your one-stop shop for hacking your life to make it better and easier. You can visit them for more on this and beyond.

Catch up on your favorite Friday Focus in our Archives page!

The Global Economy in March

Global markets saw a shift in sentiment last month, with many achieving bull-market status during the month. Much of the excitement came after the US Federal Reserve (Fed) scaled back its expectations for further rate hikes this year, while leaving rates unchanged in March. The Fed now expects two hikes this year, as opposed to the four expected in December.

The news saw investors returning to Southeast Asian markets, with Malaysia being crowned as the market with the longest bull-run in the World. The S&P500 rallied to its highest levels this year. Although, not everyone is convinced the stock rally will continue. Technical analysts at UBS warn that the markets top and its subsequent drop are not far off. However, in contrast to the Asian market performance, stocks in Japan and Europe saw declines. Analysts say that a strengthening Yen and Euro are hurting company profits and raising questions on the effectiveness of Central Bank stimulus.

Stocks were not the only beneficiaries of a dovish Fed, as many emerging market currencies saw their best monthly gains in 18 years in March. However, the Indian Rupee remained Asia’s worst performing currency, as investor optimism receded following a slower-than-expected pace of reforms, a slump in exports and expectations of a stronger dollar. Analysts expect the Rupee to depreciate further by the end of the year. Yet others say investing in India will offer the best returns, predicting strength in the Rupee, as capital flows improve following the Indian government’s commitment to budgetary discipline.

Commodity markets also rallied last month, with gold prices seeing their best quarterly gains since the third quarter of 1990. Analysts see further upside potential for the yellow metal. Oil prices were not so fortunate, reversing gains in late March, as expectations for a production freeze started to wane, following Iran’s refusal to comply. Saudi Arabia stated that its compliance is dependent on Iran. Analysts at Barclays, however, believe that many commodities are at risk of steep declines, as their gains are not grounded in fundamentals.

Meanwhile, Saudi Arabia is planning for the post-oil era. The Kingdom revealed plans for a $2 trillion Megafund to shift the country away from oil and into investment.

The Akrasia Effect: What to Do About It

Last week, we showed you why people procrastinate. This week we’re going to give you the Akrasia Antidote.

Here are three ways to beat procrastination:

 

Strategy 1: Design your future actions.

Commitment devices are strategies that help improve your behavior by either increasing the obstacles or costs of bad behaviors or reducing the effort required for good behaviors. You can curb your future eating habits by purchasing food in individual packages rather than in the bulk size. You can stop wasting time on your phone by deleting games or social media apps.

The circumstances differ, but the message is the same: commitment devices can help you design your future actions.

Strategy 2: Reduce the friction of starting.

The guilt and frustration of procrastinating is usually worse than the pain of doing the work. So why do we still procrastinate? Because it’s not being in the work that is hard, it’s starting the work. Once you begin, it’s often less painful to do the work. This is why it is often more important to build the habit of getting started when you’re beginning a new behavior than it is to worry about whether or not you are successful at the new habit.

Put all of your effort and energy into building a ritual and make it as easy as possible to get started. Don’t worry about the results until you’ve mastered the art of showing up.

Strategy 3: Utilize implementation intentions.

An implementation intention is when you state your intention to implement a particular behavior at a specific time in the future. For example, “I will exercise for at least 30 minutes on [DATE] in [PLACE] at [TIME].”

 

And that is how you beat procrastination! You can visit James Clear’s webpage for a recap on everything about Akrasia.

Catch up on your favorite Friday Focus in our Archives page!