It is an unprecedented time that we’re facing right now. The new social distancing measures in place are forcing us to rethink how we can be productive from home. If you’ve never worked remotely before, you’re not alone. Even more, the unchartered threat of COVID-19 has caused an increase in anxiety and stress for everyone. Maybe your company is having everyone work from home or maybe you’ve been laid off from the hospitality or service industry. Either way, the need to stay productive amidst the chaos of this pandemic is more imperative than ever before. Here are 6 strategies that you can start implementing today if you are working from home.
Stick to a routine
Less than a few weeks ago, our routines were generally unchanging. We woke up, got ourselves ready, and left the house at a certain time in order to get to work on time. Now that we’re forced to stay at home day after day, it’s easy to lose track of time. One of the most important things you can do right now is to maintain your morning routine and get ready each day like you are going to work.
Whether that’s curling your hair, shaving, wearing cologne, putting on pants – you get the idea. Being ready for the day will increase your level of confidence and positivity, making your energy contagious to everyone you virtually interact with. You’ll also be more focused because the act of getting ready will send a signal to your brain that you are ready for work.
Set aside time to plan ahead
Aside from your morning routine, begin planning out your days in advance. Whether it’s each night before you go to bed or once per week on Sundays, set aside small pockets of time that are dedicated to planning. During this time, turn off your notifications and tune out all other distractions. Focus on thinking into the future and what you should be doing each day in order to stay on top of things and accomplish your goals.
Also, make sure to organize your days with things other than work, like breaks, lunch, exercise, housework, time with your family, and self-care. The beauty of working from home is that you’re naturally more in control of your own work-life balance. The trick is to be deliberate and follow through with your plans.
Set a timer
Aside from utilizing your calendar, another way to help you keep track of time is to get in the habit of setting timers for yourself. Turn it into a game and give yourself a certain amount of time to accomplish things, like organizing a room, writing an email, or working out. See how much you can get done in a short period. Setting timers can also help you in setting boundaries with yourself and others. If you’re at home with your kids, you can use timers to help in keeping them entertained. Then, use that time to get something done yourself.
If you struggle with getting sucked into Facebook-scrolling or Netflix-binging, give yourself small amounts of time throughout the day for guilty pleasures. Setting timers will be your saving grace when it comes to creating balance and keeping yourself on track.
Mind your workspace
Designate a single area within your home to serve as your home base for work. Then, make a list of all of the technology and tools you usually use in the office or think about the things that will save you time. Perhaps it’s faster internet access, sticky notes, different coloured highlighters, or certain software applications. One universal way to increase your productivity is to add 1-2 monitors as an extension to your computer screen. This will save you a surprising amount of time, reducing your need to click back and forth between windows.
Also, make sure that your workspace gives you some level of separation from the distractions in your home. Keep your work area free from clutter and pick it up at the end of each day. Additionally, you can make your workspace more inviting with the help of candles, plants, and peaceful background music.
In order to be more productive, we can’t forget about our mental health. Being outside every day, even just for a short walk, can shift your awareness and reset your focus. You can also optimize the time spent attending to housework by listening to podcasts or audiobooks that inspire and interest you. Even if meditation isn’t for you, the act of closing your eyes and taking a single deep breath has amazing benefits.
To combat stress eating, make sure you have a lot of healthy snacks and a full glass of water readily accessible throughout the day. You can stay connected with friends and family by scheduling weekly video hangouts. Whatever you do, make sure you’re being kind to yourself, getting enough rest, and taking breaks to practice self-care.
Get creative with a side hustle
Unfortunately, millions of people have lost their job because it won’t allow them to work from home. Even if your situation seems hopeless, there are still plenty of opportunities that you can explore from home during the quarantine. Pat Flynn, founder of Smart Passive Income provides a ton of free content on how to make money online, as do many other entrepreneurs. Get yourself into a creative mindset and take inventory of your skills, hobbies, and interests. Then, think of ways you could start contributing to the online marketplace. You could start a monetized blog, find a product to sell, write an e-book, or offer up your services on a freelancing platform like Fiverr, iWriter, or Upwork. Exploring side hustles will give you a feeling of control, and even when life returns to normal, you’ll have found new ways of making money on the side.
Whatever situation you’re finding yourself in right now, make it your goal to master the art of working from home. With just a few deliberate adjustments, you can line yourself up to be more efficient and productive with your time at home. Working remote may not be easy at first, but these strategies will help make the transition easier. The important thing is to not give up, hope, and to always look for the silver lining.