The pandemic has significantly changed our mode of work by forcing some people to work remotely. With uncertainty surrounding when it’s safe to return to the office, finding a way to successfully work at home is important and necessary. If you’re having difficulty adjusting to this switch, here are a few ways to remain productive while at home:
Start the day off right and end it well.
Since breakfast is the most important meal of the day, make time for it. Change your clothes, even if it’s another pair of sweatpants. This will shift your mindset into thinking you’re getting ready for the day. If you have time for it, add something else that makes you feel refreshed like yoga or a quick chore. The goal is to have a routine you can stick to instead of just rolling out of bed and working right away. Also, don’t forget to set a time to get off work. If you don’t have a structured work schedule to abide by, it’ll start to feel like you never stop working.
Have a dedicated and organized space to work.
Since you’re confined to your home, you should make sure your work doesn’t start to creep in other spaces. For example, working on your bed will ruin the association of a bed being a place to relax and sleep. Instead, you’ll see it as an office and work stressors can be attached to it. Having a designated workspace that’s clutter free is crucial to doing work with less distractions and more motivation.
Make a to-do list.
This way, you can manage your projects by prioritizing your work and setting goals for what you need to accomplish. You’ll have a general view of what your day will look like and you can schedule your work around any meetings. Lists also hold you accountable, which can be extremely helpful when you’re at home for most of the day.
If it’s possible, work on “easy” and “hard” projects.
This might be out of your control, but working on too many hard projects will most likely lead to burnout. No matter what you do to stay productive, if you’re constantly working on difficult projects each day, the burn out will creep up. If you’re facing this type of situation, either mix up your daily projects, try talking to someone to improve your workload, or consider taking a day off to recharge.
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Don’t stay in one place for too long.
Studies have shown that taking a short walk elevates your mood and gets the creative juices flowing. You should also take a short break to have snacks or drink some water. And just like breakfast, don’t skip lunch. You need this food for brain power, otherwise you’ll run out of energy before the end of the day.
Put away your phone or set it to “do not disturb.” You can always check it during a break, but don’t give yourself easy access to it. Set boundaries with your roommates/kids/partners and maybe even invest in noise cancelling headphones. Consider getting a whiteboard (or something similar) to write down your schedule so they can refer to it. It’s a bit harder to set boundaries with kids so here are some ideas on how to balance parenting while working from home.
Noise can be nice.
If you’re someone who needs music to work, go for it! Or you can play an ambient sound like a coffee shop or ocean waves. If it’s not distracting, don’t think it’s wrong to have some sort of background noise. Unless working in silence is your thing, that’s fine too!
All in all, structure is key to being productive at home. Having a routine will give you a sense of control which is much needed during the pandemic. I hope a few of these tips will make your work days easier to manage, but don’t be afraid to seek help if you’re feeling overwhelmed by this adjustment. Stay safe and take care!