I’m not going to lie to you, I kinda feel like I need the below tips as much as anyone else does right now. Focusing on work lately has been such a struggle. But, I’ve been working from home once a week for years now and even though I’ve obviously never experienced a pandemic like this, I do go through times when working from home and focusing has been hard, so I thought putting together a post like this would be helpful. Especially for anyone who has never worked from home before and is having a hard time adjusting.
I want this post to really feel relevant to the current situation and not just so general, so while a lot of the tips are applicable all the time, half of them are really focused on how to get through things right now. And if you have anything to add, PLEASE share in the comments! I’d love to know how you’re balancing life right now while also getting work done.
Taking things day by day.
This has been huge for me. I easily start to overthink things so instead of spiralling and thinking about how long we’re going to have to stay isolated/practice social distancing, I try to just think about what’s happening today and what I can do right now. It helps me keep things in perspective.
In my experience, whether you’re working from home temporarily or it’s your new permanent situation, having some kind of routine is key to getting the most out of your day. I know for a lot of you, your routine has been turned completely upside down so if you’re struggling right now, try to focus on giving your day some structure. Maybe try using the extra hour each morning that you would spend commuting to the office to work out or cook that breakfast you don’t usually have time for. It’s easy to spend that extra time sleeping in the morning but why not use the time to your fullest capacity and do something that lets you feel accomplished.
If you’ve been about here for a while, you’re probably not a stranger to the brain dumps. This is pretty much how I start my day every day. Brain dumping helps me determine my to-do list and set up my priorities for the day. Speaking of priorities, I have a whole post on How to prioritize your priorities (because I’ve found doing so can be easier said than done). But anyway, if you haven’t done a brain dump before, do it – even more so if you’re new to working from home. It will help clear your mind and get rid of some of those feelings of overwhelm. If you’ve never done it before, here’s a post with instructions.
Alright, so after I brain dump (write my daily to-do list), I start trying to check things off. I typically try to start with some of the smallest tasks on my list – especially right now. For example, making my bed is one of the first things on my list usually. This way no matter what else happens that day, at least I got that done. It’s just a morale booster if you ask me. Also, drinking water! That’s another small thing that I like to do right away in the morning.
Next, I’ll do quick, easy daily things like checking my email and touching base with coworkers before I really dive in. Once I get started with those smaller things, the rest of my day feels a lot more approachable. If you’re struggling to stay focused, I’ve heard productivity time cubes can be really helpful. I’ve never tried one but I’m tempted to test it out. Anything that helps me get my work done and manage my time is worth it to me.
Checking in on co-workers.
Since I can’t physically meet with my coworkers, I try and check in with most of them daily to make sure they’re getting through everything OK. People are in a weird place mentally right now and I think checking in goes a long way, so shoot a quick text or email to anyone you would usually see at the office. I guarantee they’ll appreciate it. We have a group lunch once a week online and catch up too.
Look for joy.
This one is especially important for me personally right now. Not that my work doesn’t give me joy, but I think it’s important to find something each day right now that makes you happy. For me, it’s dancing or going on walks with Tyson and Winston. Those are the moments when I forget about everything else and just let myself have fun. As a result, I feel less overwhelmed, which helps be able to get work done.
Everyone is handling this new reality differently so I think the more grace we extend to one another the better off we’ll all be. Try to be as flexible as you can with deadlines and projects. Even though it is possible to be productive while working from home (and I hope some of my other tips help with this) a lot of people are doing it for the first time (and with their spouse and kids at home!) so try not to judge if things are pushed back or meetings have to be rescheduled.
Quick news and food breaks.
TBH I think breaks are one of the most important components of any workday. I’ve found I’m much for productive when I give myself a few 20-minute breaks throughout the day and a full hour around lunchtime. You can get out and walk during this time, make something yummy to eat, check the news, tend to your garden, prep dinner or just take a nap if that’s what you need. The biggest thing here is to not feel guilty about giving yourself this time. You need it and you deserve it, trust me!
Anything that helps balance.
It’s important during a time like this to not only give yourself grace but to make sure you’re taking care of yourself mentally and physically. Finding balance in life is hard enough when we’re not in the middle of a health pandemic so anything that usually helps you find that balance, definitely be sure you’re doing it now. For me, I’ve started to take CBD oil as well as melanin in the evening.
I feel like maybe these tips are a little different than the usual ones I’ve been seeing other people give, but that was kinda the point. I hope I’ve given you some actionable ideas that will really help you approach your day and be productive! And like I said above, please share if you have any other tips that have worked for you!
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