Productivity Tip: Your Bed is NOT an Office
The world has turned upside down from the Coronavirus, and companies are scrambling to adapt to a “new normal.” For many of us, that means working from home.
There’s no shortage of entertaining memes about spending your day sans pants or drinking wine at lunch, but being at home instead of the office isn’t all fun and games. It can be tough to stay focused, especially if you’re trying to homeschool your kids, or you have a partner who’s also working remotely during the quarantine. If you’re struggling to be (and stay) productive, these 10 tips are for you!
1. Designate a working area – not your bed!
Just like with your regular 9-to-5, you have a workspace. It might be a cubicle, office, or workstation, but regardless of your setup, you have a place to call your own. The same rule should apply to your home office. Whether it’s a dining room table, a spare bedroom, or the garage, set up a space that has everything you need to focus. Avoid the temptation of working in your bed. Yes, it’s comfy, but it’s also an enormous distraction. Also, if you do things in your bed besides sleep (and that other thing), you might find that it’s hard to sleep when it’s time to turn out the lights. The reason is that you’ve conditioned yourself to associate your bed with other activities, and it can be a challenge to turn off your mind.
2. Stick to a routine.
When you don’t have a boss holding you accountable every minute of the day, you might find yourself drifting aimlessly. To ensure your work doesn’t slide, map out a daily routine and stick to it. Determine what hours you’ll start and end your day. Schedule breaks, lunches, and family time as necessary.
3. Time block.
Once you’ve designed a routine, make sure you schedule uninterrupted blocks of working time that allow you the capacity to tackle larger projects. If you’re homeschooling your kids, you’ll also need to schedule their learning time. One of our favorite hacks is to outline your day the night before. List the items on your to-do list and prioritize them. Don’t forget to add your meetings to the schedule! Estimate the amount of time each takes to do each task or commitment, and then begin placing them in hourly time blocks. Aim for a 10-minute break to stretch your legs every 50 minutes or so.
4. Use earbuds when it’s noisy.
If you’ve got other people in the house with you, wearing earbuds to tune out the noise will help you stay focused.Earbuds with a microphone are also helpful for video chats. The people in your virtual meeting will be able to hear you better without background noise and obnoxious echoes.
5. Establish ground rules.
Make sure everyone in your home understands your routine and preferences.Explain what behavior and interruptions are acceptable, as well as any other rules you’d like your family members to follow. By making yourself clear early, you can maintain some semblance of a normal routine without becoming resentful or blowing a fuse.
6. Take advantage of some of the benefits.
Working from home has its perks. You can throw a load of laundry in the machine at 10 am, or you can vacuum between conference calls. Have you always wanted to try a recipe that required hours to make and required close supervision? Go ahead and make that loaf of bread from scratch! Without having to deal with a commute and office chitchat, you can be more productive and take some time for you.
7. Don’t forget to socialize.
Working from home can be lonely. To avoid feeling isolated, take a few minutes a day to catch up with colleagues. We recommend picking up the phone and having a voice or video chat, not just text or email.
8. Get out of the house.
Just because we’re quarantined doesn’t mean we can’t get some fresh air. Take a walk around the block at lunch, or schedule a run in the morning or at sunset. Sitting too many hours in one spot isn’t good for you, and it can be harder to remember to move when you don’t have to get up and check with a coworker about something.
9. Set expectations, but give yourself a break.
This situation is unprecedented, so it’s normal to take some time to adjust. Set goals for how many hours you want to work each day and what you plan to accomplish, but cut yourself some slack if you fall short. Every day is a new day and a chance to improve.
10. Ask for help if you need it.
Everyone on your team is going through pretty much the same thing, and if you’re feeling overwhelmed, depressed, or another emotion, there’s a good chance that your coworkers or boss will understand. Don’t be afraid to reach out and ask for help. Whether it’s delegating a project or sharing a concern, don’t keep it bottled up inside.
Do you have any tips for working from home? Let us know in the comments!