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7 habits to refresh your focus, stay motivated and battle burnout



No one could have predicted everything that happened in 2020. However, one thing we can all agree on is that the only way out is through overcoming these challenges.

We pivoted quickly when plans changed, and we innovated by adapting the way we work. We also had to practice patience in order to learn from the unknown. Now, many people in the workplace are approaching almost 10months of work from home life— so it’s reasonable to expect some fatigue and lack of motivation. 

We could all use some new tactics to re-energize us and give us a boost. So we connected with our team members across the Sprout organization to learn what new habits they’ve picked up to stay focused, motivated and battle burnout. 

Read on to uncover our team’s proven practices to refresh your focus.

1. Practice mindfulness and take time to walk away from your screen

It’s easy to spend more than half our day in the same place, with the same view, sometimes doing the same thing. Taking a moment to step away from the screen and practice mindfulness helps us refocus and provides many other mental health benefits. This is what Noah Navas, a Customer Development Account Executive across the pond in the Dublin office, had to share on the subject:  

“I keep motivated by looking into additional projects and challenges I can take on, whether that’s reading, swimming in the Irish sea, at work, through additional professional training, workouts/runs, or getting creative with different ways to catch up with people during lockdown. It fills my day and I find more solace when I’m depleted, knowing that I made little achievements after each one.

However, the most helpful change I’ve made is taking breaks to be present. Meditating, coffee-walks and dance breakouts are some of my favorites ways to take time away from my screen.” 

2. Play positive background tunes to jam to

Some days are busier than others, especially when you are cranking away or have a deadline approaching. How do you turn up the dial on your work productivity and make a busy day more enjoyable? Jamie Dalton, Strategic Services Consultant, shared some advice that might just do the trick.

“It’s normal to feel work from home fatigue after more than eight months of working out of your ‘home office’. There are a few things I do to stay motivated and energized, but finding the right music for the day is the most fun. When I’m not in customer meetings, I put on my favorite tunes to stay focused. Having an upbeat playlist and new tunes to jam to makes my day and work more enjoyable.”

If you’re interested in work from home tunes for your day check out Working From Here: A Sprout Social Playlist, a playlist designed to keep you focused, energized and engaged—no matter where you’re working from. 

3. Become 1% better each day and leverage that momentum

Making tiny adjustments today in your work, relationships, hobbies, and personal life will add up to something more significant if you keep at it. Motivation and momentum work hand-in-hand for Ben Lawrence, Enterprise Account Executive. 

When I lose focus or motivation, I’m usually getting stuck or wasting energy. I build momentum by experimenting with a variety of things outside of work; for example; running, painting, fly-fishing, fantasy football, gardening…I’m starting to sound like my dad. The small improvements here give me overall momentum. Taking a step forward (sometimes literally) each day helps me build momentum and motivation.

I’m inspired by the people around me: mentors, leaders, peers, friends, artists, podcast hosts, athletes. It’s important for me to spend time with people who I can bounce ideas off of and talk to in order to gain perspective, insight, inspiration and motivation.”

Practicing the art of continuous improvement can change the trajectory of your life. If you chose to make daily choices to get 1% better each day in a month your life will be different. 

4. Get back into an active routine 

It is no secret that being active has a plethora of positive benefits on our mind and body. But it’s much harder to be physically motivated when you are spending double the time in the same vicinity of your favorite comfortable couch. Creating consistency with your exercise routine can be a challenge but offers many rewards. Joe Huber, Customer Community Strategist, shared a similar sentiment. 

A huge loss for me was access to the gym at work. We have so many great amenities in the Sprout office that encourage us to be healthy. Working out helps keep my energy levels more focused. Since working from home, I have found a new way to stay consistent with my workouts and that’s helped keep me motivated and feeling clearer.

5. Utilize your tools and resources 

The tools we use to do our jobs day to day can also foster focus and motivation. Olivia Jepson, Social Media Specialist, offered some focus providing tips inside the Sprout Social platform itself. 

While I’m working from home, I try to be creative and recreate my office rituals. I find that when I’m able to step away for a brief period of time I am able to stay productive, creative and motivated. I spend a fair amount of time inside Sprout as well and found these three tips are great for allowing me to stay focused, productive and not overwhelmed. 

  1. Focus mode in the Smart Inbox/collapsing filters is a great way for me to stay on track and not get distracted by other tabs and tasks. Shown below is an example of using filters to focus on one platform at a time.
  2. Chatbots are a great way to save time for the inquiries I receive on a regular basis and also gain general context around what our audience needs before I respond to them.
  3. The mobile app is great for staying connected and focused on the go. I never feel like I’m stranded if I’m away from my computer and I need to complete a task, respond to a message or publish something timely. It’s easy to get your work done without adding another task to a long to-do list.

Interested in learning more about our all-in-one social media management tool? Request a demo and take a tour.

6. Try a established methods: The Pomodoro method

Why not give an established and proven time management method a try? Developed in the late 1980s, this method uses time-blocking to increase productivity. To give it a shot, you’ll do focused work  for 25 minutes and follow that with  a five minute break. Aisha Quas, Communications Specialist, shared how this works for her.

“The Pomodoro method is incredibly helpful when trying to stay focused on a single task. The idea is that you only give yourself a certain amount of time to work on one thing and by the end you see how much you were able to accomplish in that span of time. This is especially helpful for repetitive tasks that seem to drag on. Time-boxing work into a digestible time-frame can trick the mind into focus mode—you’d be surprised how much you can get done in 25 minutes vs. an hour!”

7. Sprinkle in some refresh days

With the disruption to the travel industry and the need to stay home, it’s easy to let vacation days be forgotten. However, it is more important now than ever to incorporate some refresh days into your schedule. Whether you decide to explore a new local area or just take the day off to slip away from your screen, these days offer a much needed break. Liz Dotson, Agency Customer Success Manager, has been finding a perfect balance between work and adventure.

This summer I was really lucky to have the opportunity to explore a large amount of the Midwest. We took short weekend trips to Michigan and Wisconsin, enjoying the fresh air and nature but also not venturing too far from home. It was nice to escape my apartment and the city to be around fewer people and switch the dial on my thinking. A few days here and there also did not disrupt my momentum at work but rather accelerated it—I always felt better and motivated to get back into it.

In short,  the stress of preparing for PTO shouldn’t overshadow your ability to recharge and enjoy a vacation. In the wake of the pandemic, remote workers need more help than ever when it comes to disconnecting and creating space for time off. If you are looking for a smooth transition into some PTO check out 10 simple steps for a smoother work vacation (with template)

Practice self-care this holiday season

With the holiday season upon us, be sure to take care of yourself. Whether that means diving into a new hobby, taking some much deserved time away from work, practicing mindfulness, or diving into productivity, do what you need to feel refreshed. Give yourself permission to try on something new.

 

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