Working from home can be convenient. The commute is nonexistent, you can throw in a load of laundry on your break, and you can practice social distancing to avoid becoming sick with the coronavirus. Working from home can also come with challenges. Throwing in a load of laundry can turn into folding another load, then the dishes need to be done, the floor needs to be swept, and before you know it, you’ve lost an hour to housework.
Here are a few tips to help you stay productive and sane during your time out of the office:
- Structure your day as if you were still going to the office. This will help put you in the same mindset to get work done. If you normally get up, shower, have a cup of coffee, get dressed, and then leave for the office, follow that same pattern at home.
- Designate a work area. If you can find a place in your home and dedicate that space to doing work, it will help you mentally separate work from being at home. Otherwise, you might slip into a state of constantly working and not getting in enough downtime to relax and recharge.
- Log out of social media accounts. It can be easy to sign into Facebook to quickly check something, and then lose time endlessly scrolling while not even realizing it. To mitigate that risk, log out of every account and remove any browser shortcuts to your social media accounts. You can also set timers on your mobile device to deactivate the channels after you’ve used them for a set amount of time, or you can delete the apps altogether.
- Set focus timers. If you have a project that needs a lot of detailed attention and you’re having trouble focusing, try setting timers and dedicate your complete attention during that time. Close your email and instant message accounts to focus solely on the task at hand (make sure to notify your team if they are expecting immediate responses from you). There are free apps that can help as well, such as Flora which will grow a virtual tree every time you meet your goal.
- Plan your day. Take a few minutes to establish priorities for the day and plan for the best schedule to complete them. Visualizing a productive day can help you set expectations and successfully follow-through.
- Take breaks. Designating a few minutes to step away can help you feel refreshed and ready for more. Try taking a stroll around the block or stepping into another room to do some stretching.
- Figure out what works best for you. Some people swear by having the TV on. Others feel more productive with specific types of music or complete silence. Some like to stand, some like to sit, some like to alternate. Some like to prepare their lunch ahead of time and some like to make a fresh meal every day. What works for others won’t necessarily work for you and vice versa. Take time to reflect on what works and what doesn’t, then recalibrate from there.