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How to survive work in the home office : Survival guide 2021

Sometimes it is simply a matter of survival – for example when working from home with a flood of tasks and distractions. The author Anitra Eggler is very familiar with this: She has written a ” Home Office Survival Guide” in which she gives tips on how to work effectively, successfully and relaxed from home. It is particularly about  time and self-management , Productivity, motivation  and  digital communication .

For Eggler, the decisive factor is first of all the ability to motivate yourself . In the ideal state, you enjoy what you do – and go to bed in the evening satisfied and with a smile. “Everyone longs for this ideal state, but only a few experience it,” says the expert. “Most people experience work stress instead – and depending on the family, emotional and spatial situation, this stress in the home office is greater than ever before.”

Find out what type of home office you are

Eggler offers a free test on its website that reveals which  home office type you are. “The result helps to create the best possible working and living conditions for working from home,” says the author. “That is the basis for motivation”.

However, the subject of self-management is just as important in order to be really productive. “Daily, strict routines provide security and encourage creativity,” says Eggler. “What sounds unsexy can be interpreted creatively in the home office, for example with the daily bubble bath during lunch break or starting the day with incense sticks and piano music.”

Routines play a major role in the home office

A  morning routine , an  evening routine and also a planning routine for task management are important. Eggler advises doing the most unpleasant task in the morning first. “Don’t start the day with WhatsApp for emails,” she says. “So you start reactively and with 70,000 revolutions into the digital hamster wheel.” Depending on the room situation, it can also help to switch off the office in a suitcase in the evening. “That is the clean desk interpreted creatively.”

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A decisive success factor in the home office is also the topic of  communication , in order to achieve good results with other people virtually remotely. “This is exactly where things are wrong,” says Eggler. “We are experiencing a flood of e-mails instead of qualitative content, there would be availability and permanent distraction instead of concentrated work and ‘instant pressure’ instead of time to think Retrieving emails times a day and communicating accordingly so that you can concentrate on one thing. “That means, to put it simply, pull the plug, do one thing for 20 minutes, then a maximum of one cat video”, says the author.

Communication should be fun too

It is also important to choose the right communication tool for the occasion. “The written language is the source of most emotional misunderstandings,” says Eggler. “What is humor for one person is bullying for another.” Her tip: Whenever things get emotional, for example because of criticism or feedback, you should choose the most personal communication channel. “Every phone call saves a chain of escalating emails and every video call is more personal than hundreds of voicemails that are sent back and forth,” says the communications expert.

It is also important that fun is  not neglected when communicating. “Having fun is a decisive  motivating factor, ” says Eggler. When everything is digital, the fun is often neglected or only takes place in the form of private social media checks. “Here it is important to create space for formats that are solely aimed at general enjoyment,” says Eggler. “I am thinking of very mundane things like: houseplant of the week, video background of the day or a common morning sport in the zoom call.”

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Away with apps that are supposed to increase productivity

Many people who notice that productivity is not going well at home also rely on an app to increase their productivity. Eggler thinks this is a lot of nonsense. “The problem with  productivity apps is that they are incredibly time consuming,” she says. You have to configure them, feed them with data and evaluate the data smartly. “Before that, it takes forever to find the right app,” says the expert, who says she has tried every imaginable productivity app over the past 20 years.

“You can’t outsource creativity to an app,” says Eggler. “It comes from within. Apps are occupational therapy and often part of procrastination . Nobody is more productive because they use an app, they just feel more productive, ”says the author. “It’s like buying books and never reading them.” According to Eggler, on the other hand, it works better if you manage to work an hour three times a day without distraction and with concentration.

Distractions from and thinking about digital detox

Many people are also very susceptible to distractions of  all kinds at work . In the home office, where there is no social control by work colleagues, the problem often gets worse. Many have forgotten how to switch off in a permanent digital distraction . Eggler therefore recommends activating the do not disturb mode on the mobile phone in the evening at the latest and starting the day with an hour of off time and not taking the mobile phone to bed with you. You should also switch off permanent distraction in the form of push notifications and beeps and negotiate your own availability with customers, colleagues and family.

If you notice that you are only on the move digitally and stumble from one distraction to the next, it is worth thinking about a digital detox . In the first step, we should question what actually makes us happy and what is good for us. “Does it make me happy to fall asleep in Insta zombie mode with the phone on my face?” Asks Eggler.

 In a second step, you see how well you can actually switch off. “Can you manage to survive an hour or two without a cell phone – or do you get horrible withdrawal symptoms? Most people do,” says the expert, who is also very familiar with digital detox. Then it helps just to consistently create mobile-free times and focus on what makes you happy – and maybe try something completely new in everyday life – for example a new sport.

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