The world has changed drastically in the past few weeks. It can feel a bit scary and uncertain, but it’s important to remember that we’re all in this together. One of the ways that life has changed for lots of folks, is that many of us are now working from home.
Maybe at first this sounded like a dream scenario: finally being able to do work while on your couch in your PJs. But after a few days (weeks) in, you might be feeling more unproductive than ever (and on top of that, when was the last time I showered?).
Some of us are learning pretty quickly that working from home can be a bit of a slog. Since it looks like we all might be at home on our couches for a bit longer, now’s as good a time as any to figure out how to make the most of this new normal. Here are some tips and tricks for how to be productive while working from home.
1. Time Management
When working from home, it can be really easy to lose track of time. You roll out of bed, grab your computer, check your email, scroll through twitter, and before you know it it’s late afternoon. It’s important to structure your work time into the day in a way that feels natural.
Do you have a zoom call to make that day? Mark it in your calendar like you would normally. Try to get up an hour before work so that you can have a morning routine before you settle in to work. Schedule your break times. When 5pm hits, log off. Sticking to a schedule fosters productivity and will help your days feel more manageable.
2. Find Your Space
This can be tricky if you live in a small apartment and/or have roommates (or kids), but as much as you’re able, find a space that is designated for work. If you have an office, use it! If the only space that’s yours is your bedroom, make a schedule with your roommates to take turns in communal spaces for work related activities.
Try to avoid working in bed if you can (keep your bed as your sacred rest space). You can even rearrange your room or your whole apartment! Figure out how to make your space work for you.
3. Take Breaks
One of the things that makes working from home tough is that there aren’t as many built in breaks as you might normally have if you were in your office. You can’t stop at a coworker’s desk to chat for 5 minutes while on your way to refill your coffee cup. Schedule some breaks into your day to help break up the long hours.
Go take a walk around the block, do a quick yoga flow or some jumping jacks, take 5 minutes to play with your dog, or go grab a snack from the kitchen. And don’t forget to take a lunch break! Make it a full hour break for lunch where you shut your computer and do something not work related. Taking breaks throughout the day is better for your productivity and your mental health.
4. Use Those Resources
Schedule in a yoga class after work (via hundreds of yoga studios on Facebook and Instagram lives) or take a class to help you grow in your field. In addition, there are tons of videos and learning portals offering work from home tips and tools. The internet is better than ever for boosting your productivity.
5. Go easy on yourself
If you’re struggling to be productive while social distancing, you’re not alone. Don’t beat yourself up about it. This is a scary time, and in addition to all the new adjustments we’re having to make to our daily lives, there’s also the anxiety of the world outside our homes.
Don’t feel pressure to over perform. Take care of yourself. Do what you can. Remember that you’re not alone, and we’re all in this together.
Managing your new work life can feel daunting, but you’ve got this! Be kind to yourself and to those around you. As we wade into this new territory, remember that even though we might be alone in our respective apartments, we’re all in this together.
Elizabeth Endara is a writer, advocate, doula, yoga teacher and cat mom based in NYC. She loves Great British Bake-Off, Eastern Europe, snug coffee shops and writing about her feelings. She is the co-founder of a feminist blog called Release the Women and you can follow her work on Instagram @elizabetheendara.