With most of us on lockdown during quarantine, many are either choosing or needing to work from home. In this post, I’m outlining 5 key tips to help you stay productive and effective during this time.
1. Decide on an achievable routine
Routine is essential to working successfully and productively from home. A routine is something that is usually dictated by your workplace, so the responsibility now falls on you. It’s time to decide on and allocate set times for work, breaks and recreational activities.
One key tip is to make sure your routine is achievable and realistic. It’s nice to think that, now you work from home, you will exercise twice a day, work 8 hours solidly and be more productive than ever before. If this is achievable, then great, but know that it is ok to work up to your most productive self with in incremental steps. A good achievable schedule is better than an outstanding but unrealistic schedule. Tip 2 (below) will also help you form your routine.
2. Establish priorities
When you work from home, especially if spouses and children are also there, new priorities and tasks show up. You suddenly have an opportunity to do odd jobs, cook more and spend quality time with family members. Finding the right balance is essential, and so making a list of priorities is the best way to do this.
The ‘Urgent/Important’ Matrix is a simple way of plotting the tasks you want to accomplish during the day, both professional and personal. This will, in turn, help structure your day and inform your routine.
3. Dress appropriately
Getting dressed is vital to maintaining productivity. If you’re used to wearing a suit and tie, it may not be 100% necessary to put your full work atire on, but getting out of your “chill wear” or pyjamas is essential. We associate certain clothes with certain activities, and this will influence the way we perform different tasks. In the same way that you wouldn’t exercise in jeans, you should avoid working in your usual casual wear.
4. Get moving
The quarantine rules that limit the amount of time we can spend outside makes this even more important. While I would usually advise getting out of your home every couple of hours, this may not be possible where you live. So the alternative is to take breaks and stretch your legs, even just by walking around your living space. This will help ease stress, which in turn is beneficial to your mood and leads to increased productivity.
5. Limit distractions
If you’re now using a home computer or a laptop to do your work, there is a chance you could get distracted with personal files, streaming a TV show while working or browsing social media. While these activities are appropriate during your breaks, it’s important to keep them out of your work time.
There are various ways to do this. You can turn the internet off, if your work does not require it. Put your phone into Do Not Disturb mode or switch it off. Or you could simply sign out of your accounts, giving yourself an extra step when it comes to accessing a non-work related website. Even small steps like this can make a big difference.
Hopefully these tips will help you maintain or even boost your productivity during these shaky and uncertain times.
Remember to stay home and stay safe!