Faced with one of the biggest shifts in our work lives, how can we mindfully maintain productivity in our new work environment?
For many, working from the comfort of your own home is a dream come true. You imagine the magnificence of extended sleeping hours and the freedom to incorporate self-care activities into any time of the day. Sounds amazing, right? It is, until it’s time to sit in front of your PC and actually work.
The downside of having a few extra hours to spare (especially the hours we normally use to get to office and back), is that we may succumb to the temptation of comfort – the comfort to binge-watch your favorite show or even upgrade your cooking skills; absolutely anything that has no connection to your ‘real job’. The challenge is to transition your mentality into work mode which may require more effort than anticipated. Perhaps it’s a lot harder to have discipline when nobody’s physically there to remind you of your perennial to-do list.
So, how do you ensure that you remain focused on the task at hand while working remotely? Here are some tips to help kick-start and maintain your productivity in your new work environment:
First things first, establish a morning routine: Set your alarm and get up and pretend as if you’re actually going to the office. Take a shower, it helps increase your blood flow and leaves you feeling energized. Don’t get back into your sleepwear. If you’re still feeling sluggish, try a quick workout or meditation routine to wake up your brain. Drink lots of water, it also helps.
Location is everything: Find a comfortable spot in your home that you can dedicate to your work. Your space should cater to your needs and allow for you to do your work without infringing on other areas of your home, especially if you live with other people. Try and pick an area that has a good source of light – whether natural or artificial. According to Lux Review, good lighting not only allows for pleasant working conditions but also plays a significant role in your health and wellbeing.
Clean space, clear mind: Once you have found your spot, it is important to remove all clutter that reminds you of home chores or entertainment not in line with your tasks. It’s a lot easier to work productively in a well-organized environment as the opportunity for distraction is decreased. A clean space also comes with psychological benefits such as less stress and anxiety which is good for your overall happiness. Who wants to be stressed more when there’s already so much going on in the world?
Get those sticky notes out: Plan for your day ahead of time. The environment may have changed but the expectations are still the same! Put each goal you have for the day on paper. This will allow you to keep track of your workload so you don’t get overwhelmed. Having a schedule allows you to maintain your professionalism. For creatives, this will help so you don’t get carried away with one task.
Phone a friend: Being an employee in the time of Covid-19 means the social benefits of working in an office have been temporarily stripped away. So, it is important to check in with your colleagues and friends, just so you stay sane and feel less isolated. It also assists in keeping you cheerful and motivated to do your work. Be careful to not overdo it as that might distract you.
Take a break: As you would take a lunch break at work, do so at home too. Take a walk around the house, get some fresh air or spend a bit of time with the people you live with. You can also apply the Pomodoro Technique; a cyclical system in which tasks are separated into 25-minute segments, divided by five-minute breaks (with a longer one around midday). This way, you will feel less guilty about wanting a second away from your computer screen.
Don’t forget to log off: Having a structured and productive work day also means knowing when to stop. You should definitely set boundaries for yourself so you don’t interfere with your work-life balance. Log off, refresh and restart tomorrow!