The coronavirus pandemic has drastically changed the way people live and work around the world, and likely will continue to do so for quite some time. For many of us, this has meant a transition to working from home, which can be quite difficult. Whether you’ve gotten to like remote work or can’t wait to get back to the office, you’ve probably had to struggle to stay productive at times. Take a moment to read through these ten tips for staying productive at home – and then get back to work!
- Pick a schedule and stick to it
One of the benefits of working remotely is the ability to set your own schedule, but this can easily devolve into only working when you feel like it. Feel free to create a work schedule around your own habits and responsibilities, such as taking your kids to school or going for a morning run. Then, follow this schedule every day, pretending that you are at work during these times. Ask your friends and family to avoid contacting you during “at work” hours, and the same goes for your coworkers during your “off work” hours. A good distinction between your work and private life should help you feel more balanced and be more productive.
- Use a website blocker for distracting sites
When your boss isn’t around to keep you on task, it can be especially tempting to drift off to social media sites, check the news for the hundredth time, or start online shopping for things you don’t need. That’s why you need to use a website blocker such as Freedom or Limit to prevent this from happening! Programs like these run as apps or browser extensions to block tempting sites during set times, or only allow you to access them for a limited amount of time each day. You can sync your settings across devices, so your phone or tablet doesn’t become a distraction either.
- Track how you spend your time
You might feel like you spend your whole day in front of the computer, but how much of that time have you actually been working? By using a program like Clockify to track your working hours, you can get a better sense of how much time you spend on each task. Clockify allows you to run timers in your web browser for different projects, which can then be turned into timesheets to share with your employer.
- Keep in contact with your coworkers
Just because your office mates are no longer around the corner doesn’t mean you have to spend the day in silence! Get comfortable with scheduling frequent video calls to check in about success and failures, and try out instant messaging apps to answer quick questions. Having daily interactions with people face-to-face can help you feel a little more connected and on track.
- Plan out breaks and fun activities every day
Some people struggle to find motivation to work from home, but others have the opposite problem: working too much! If you fall into this category, make sure that you schedule breaks for yourself at least every few hours, and have something fun to look forward to every day. This can be a virtual fitness class, a call with a friend, or a walk outside; anything to change your focus. If you overwork yourself, you can quickly shift into dreading your work. Be proactive and stay balanced!
- Eat at normal times
While you may be able to sleep in a little longer without a commute, make sure to eat breakfast before you start working, and plan out a specific lunch break. If you just keep working until you get hungry, you might resort to just snacking or eating something quick and unhealthy. If you are used to packing a lunch for yourself, you can keep this routine and have a picnic outside! Establishing healthy eating patterns will help keep you productive and avoid frequent trips to the kitchen.
- Block out distracting noises
If you have to work around kids or obnoxious neighbors, noise can be one of the most distracting parts of working from home. Luckily, this is an easy fix: get yourself a cheap pair of noise canceling headphones. You can also try listening to music as an alternative. Calming classical music has been shown to improve concentration, as well as video game and movie soundtracks.
- Maintain a clean and comfortable workspace
Pick a workspace for yourself where you can comfortably sit throughout the day, preferably with some natural light and room to stretch out. Once you have a setup you like, make sure to keep it clean and clear of clutter so it stays an inviting workspace. Avoid working from your bed or couch: you’ll find it harder to stay productive or feel like you have a place to take a break.
- Get up and move around
In a normal office you may get up frequently to talk to coworkers, use the printer, or attend meetings. These small movements can help keep you feeling refreshed and prevent stiffness. At home, you can schedule yourself some movement breaks to stretch and walk around for these same benefits. Try getting up every time you finish a task, or taking a little longer to move around when you go for a drink or to use the bathroom.
- Be patient with yourself
Working from home is no easy task! Due to the unprecedented circumstances that we find ourselves in, we’ve all had to make changes to keep our communities safe and healthy. It may take a while for you to feel completely comfortable with remote work, and that’s okay. Like any new skill, you can keep on practicing being productive at home until it becomes a habit. Be patient with yourself and reach out for help if you need it.
We hope these tips have helped you discover some more ways to stay productive while working at home during this crisis. Here at GatherBoard, we are working remotely and are here to help communities stay connected in whatever ways they can. Happy GatherBoarding!