Most of us are working from home to quarantine during the current COVID-19 pandemic. Being in the comfort of your own home might sound like the dream job, but it can also be extremely difficult to stay focused throughout the day. Here’s how to stay productive during this time.
1. Wake up early
Try to keep your routine disruptions to a minimal. Part of this is to still wake up and start at the same time you would usually start working. If work starts at 8am on a normal day at the office, wake up and make sure you are ready to work from 8am.
2. Avoid the pj’s
We know it’s tempting to just stay in those comfy pj’s, especially now with winter coming closer and some areas already getting chillier in the mornings. This is a bad idea, however, according to Northwestern University. Trick your mind and body into thinking you’re still at work by putting on clothes that you wouldn’t be embarrassed to wear at the office. If you dress professionally, there is also less chance of being caught off-guard when someone decides to video call you.
3. Don’t work from your bed/ lying on the couch
But the bed is sooooo comfy…
Well, sadly it’s not a productive space. It’s also never good to mix business with pleasure so try to keep your bed as the ‘comfy safe zone’ as it was meant to be. It’s also very tempting to take a blankie and lie on the couch – laptops just make it way too easy! Sit up straight and work from a proper office chair (or something equivalent you can find in your house).
4. Set up a designated office space
If it looks and feels like an office, your brain will act like it’s the office and get cracking with work. We understand it is sometimes difficult to make a home office if you do not have space and fancy equipment. In actual fact, all you need is a desk, a chair, sufficient lighting and make sure it is somewhere quiet where nobody can bother you.
5. Communication is key
Just like any human relationship, communication is key. Try to keep in touch with your colleagues and supervisors to make sure you are still on the right track – also for your own sanity! Working in a silo can get you on the wrong path and it is also reassuring that you are doing what you need to be doing – at the right pace. Get your team to make use of conference calling through programs such as; Zoom, WhatsApp conference call, Microsoft Teams, Google Duo, Whereby, FaceTime if you have Apple and of course, Skype.
6. Structure and Diarising
Structure will be your best friend when working-from-home. Plan your day by setting aside certain hours and timeframes for tasks. For example, from 8-9am you can catch up on any emails you missed the previous day. Write it out and try to stick by it as much as possible.
Diarising has two aspects to it. Diarise your to-do list and what you need to do for the day. Then it could also be keeping a diary of what you have achieved. So, at the end of each day – at the same time you would usually leave work so for example, 5pm – write out in a book what you have achieved. Write down everything you did and then end it off with listing tasks you were unable to complete.
7. Make sure you have a stable, fast internet connection
Nobody wants to work with lagging internet and bad connections when trying to be productive. Ensure your internet line is reliable by going for something like our frickin’ fast fibre or if you don’t have fibre in your area yet, our Fixed LTE does the trick! Definitely ditch the ADSL if you plan on getting anything done over the internet as these lines are pretty slow and could cause some issues.
A few bonus pointers for the Parents
Try to get all their energy out in the morning:
Have an hour or two set aside in the morning to play and spend some time with your youngsters. By the time you get to work, they will be ready for a nap or just a little calmer to give you some quiet time.
Make a ‘do-not-disturb’ zone:
This will give you time and space where you can work and not be side-tracked.
If they are old enough, give them specific activities to complete, such as painting a picture, finishing a puzzle piece or building something out of LEGO blocks. Tell them they have to sit down and give them a timeframe to complete it by. This will keep them occupied and give you time to finish up a few important work tasks.