In my last few articles, I have written about different ways to start being more productive every day. But what if a pandemic comes along and we’re forced to work from home (I’m looking at you, COVID-19)?
Most of us are not used to working from home, so it feels like everything is disrupting our productivity. After all, you are in your personal space, not a professional environment.
So how can we maintain our productivity levels, even when working from home?
- Define your work space. Set aside some space, whether it is a separate room or an area away from traffic. Remove any distractors from the work space and only keep relevant work tools. That way, when you enter the space, you will subconsciously get into work mode. Your brain will switch from “I am at home” to “I am at work.”
- Plan your day. Having set goals for the day will help you minimize distractions and encourage you to stay on task. Moreover, this will reveal areas in your schedule where you are unavailable. For example, if you know you have a doctor’s appointment for an hour in the middle of the day, you can plan to add an hour somewhere else in your week, if not that day.
- Set regular hours and stick to the schedule. Pretend like you are physically going to work and utilize the same hours you normally would.
- Don’t stay in your pajamas. Have some coffee and breakfast, take a shower, and then make a to-do list for the day to get started. If you feel fresh, you will start the day that way too.
- Block excess noise. Use noise canceling earbuds or headphones to block a barking dog, ambient noise, or even chatter from family members. This really helped me focus even more than usual, especially when taking tests and working on high-yield projects! If you don’t have noise-canceling earbuds or headphones, ear plugs or cheap earbuds also work — the main goal is to eliminate as much noise as possible.
- Know when to stop. Set limits for the amount of time you will work and do not go back to work when you’ve finished! If you have a great idea, write it on a note and save it for the next day. Don’t sneak back to “check an email or two” because you will never feel the work-life separation.
- Avoid cabin fever. Don’t be locked in the room or your house all the time. Get some fresh air to relax and clear your mind after every hour or two of working. This will re-boost your creativity, energy, and productivity. For example, for every two hours of work, I take 15-20 minutes off.
Working from home can be hard, especially when there is a pandemic looming over our heads. Don’t be too hard on yourself if you cannot seem to get everything done on your to-do list. However, try to take opportunities to help out your co-workers or peers at school because all of us could use a hand to get through these unprecedented times.
Which tip is your favorite and why? Let me know by leaving a comment down below!