With the spread of COVID-19, everything seems to be shutting down. The NBA suspends all games, restaurants are closed for a few weeks, and naturally, offices are closing down too. What this means is that most people in the affected countries are switching to work-from-home arrangements.
Pros: Prevents the spread of the virus.
Cons: Almost nobody is used to this work style.
We put together this blog to try and give you some of the tips that we’re using to stay more productive while working from home. You could think, who are we to tell you how to live your life at home? And you’d be entirely right. We are not experts, just workers going through the same thing and sharing what works for us. Live how you will, nobody can tell you otherwise under your own roof. We’re just sharing some of our tips on how we are remaining productive during your remote work days.
Let’s dive in.
As tempted as you might be to roll out of bed and open up your laptop, you won’t be “in the zone”. Treat your morning as if you were getting up to go the office so that you can focus. This means brushing your teeth despite not being able to smell through a webcam and wearing pants despite only filming from the chest up. Treat your home like an office if you want to work like you’re in the office.
Your brain makes associations to save you time. You get hungry when you see food you like, sunlight means it’s time to wakeup, and your bed makes you sleepy. As comfy as your bed is, it is not the place for work. Likewise with the couch. You need to have a designated area in your home that you do your work in so you aren’t weighed down by your psychological association. Clear that area of all distractions, and keep it tidy so you can be effective. This tip helps you at the end of the day too. At the end of the workday when you leave that workspace, you’ll be more relaxed and separated from your work so it doesn’t feel like you’re just living at the office.
Working aimlessly on a bunch of tasks is never a great idea, but when working from home its even worse of an idea. With so many distractions around you, the best thing you can do for yourself is layout the tasks you need to get done in a list. Make it realistic, but also not easy to achieve so that you push yourself all day. Also keep in mind when your peak hours of productivity are, so you can utilize it most effectively.
I know this goes against what we just said about avoiding distractions, but it’s a very important step for productivity. When you’re not at the office, you don’t have the urge to take walks to the break room for coffee or engage in office banter, so force yourself to take a 5 minute break every now and then. Perhaps try downloading a Pomodoro Technique timer to space out your breaks effectively.
Distractions are very real things that are sometimes hard to resist. Make it as hard as possible to get distracted by leaving your cell phone in another room. If you need to actually make calls, designate an hour to make those calls in, use your phone then, and put it back after. The less around your workspace to distract you, the better and more productive you’ll be.
We don’t know how long this work from home arrangement is going to last. We don’t have massive conferences or team excursions to look forward to so it’s on us to take care of ourselves and stay motivated. Best way? Routines. Set morning and night routines so that you’re well rested and ready to go every morning.
Lots of time inside can have some pretty negative side effects. The cause? Lack of Vitamin D, a.k.a The Sun. Science has proven the positive effects that sunlight can have, so let’s not ignore science. Open a window, lift up the blinds, and bask in that early springtime sunlight. If possible in your neighbourhood, maybe try and go for a walk during your lunch break. You’ll be surprised how much brighter the sun can make your days (pun fully intended).
Hopefully of these 7 tips you found at least one that appeals to you and you feel like implementing. This work from home arrangement could be around for a while, so let’s try and build better work habits and routines now, so that they help us out later.
Until next time, wash your hands for 20 seconds every time, cover your mouth when you cough or sneeze, and please try social distancing. The work from home era is upon us now.
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