Chaos is the enemy of productivity. And yet, there are times when you just can't avoid the disruption. Your company is moving to another state, or the top leadership at your company is going through a major transition. It's chaos all day every day. Even in the midst of the storm, there are a few ways to keep your sanity. These technique can help you finish projects even when the chaos invades.
1. Gravitate to what works
In times of stress and change, the best thing you can do to get some stability is to go back to what worked in the past. For me, that's going to a cafe in my town that is quiet and well-suited to writing. For you, it might mean renting an office and installing a stable Internet connection. You have a place, a time, a mindset, and even people who have helped you stay on task. Go back to what worked before and you will likely find some new stability.
2. Learn to separate life changes from work
Life happens. But that doesn't mean it has to interrupt your work. You have to teach yourself how to deal with changes in life and make sure you keep on task at work. That might seem cold, but the biggest realization to make is that it's just work. Does finishing up that business report compare to your wife having a baby? Not really. So, it's OK to see work as less important and separate from your real life and something that just needs to exist on its own.
3. String your trips together
If at all possible, try to do one trip that accomplishes multiple objectives or travel to a few places in a row and get it over with. When you go on a trip, you switch to a different mode of thinking, one that is focused on getting to the new destination. Paul Theroux, one of my favorite travel writers, has said that travel is as much about the departure as the arrival. But it all takes time and energy, so spend it all in one week or even a ten-day period. Then, get back at it.
4. At least work out the tech kinks
A lack of stability is often the result of changes at work or in life, and they might be unavoidable. There is something you can still control, though. Make sure, even in the midst of the changes and uncertainty, that you have gear that's in working order. To get things working, it might mean taking a trip to Best Buy and purchasing a new laptop. Like, today. One of the easiest ways to get some stability is to just use gear that is fully functional, fast, and reliable.
5. Listen to your inner voice
I believe it is the correct human response to want to have stability. We all want to live in peace. Few of us like instability. Because of that inner desire, it is sometimes good to just sit for a few minutes and really get your head around this idea of still working hard and staying productive. It is partly a mindset, even if your company is being sold, your kids are going to college, or your bank account is a mess. It requires effort to return to a productive mindset. When you do, you can grab onto that inner voice and stay on task. You can cut through the noise.