While people who already had the opportunity to work from home knew what to expect, the current COVID pandemic has thrown many businesses into a whirlwind with many employees having to adjust to working from home (WFH).
WFH sounded like a dream to a lot of people. No makeup or need to shave, a quick three-second commute from your bed to the office, kitchen, or wherever you set up shop. However, WFH does pose its difficulties, especially when businesses had to ramp up to it so quickly during a time of stress and uncertainty. Add to that the lack of separation between work and home life, and productivity levels can take a beating.
Here, we offer five tips to help you be—and stay—productive while working from home.
1. Keep your routine
Without having to get ready and commute, you may be tempted to stay in bed as long as possible. However, doing so may actually cause you to feel more tired and sluggish throughout the day. Instead, try to wake up at the same time as you normally would. Use the extra time to give your mind and body time to wake up and prepare for your day ahead. Keep your normal bedtime routine as well.
2. Choose the right environment
Your environment plays a vital role in your productivity level. Don’t sit in bed or in front of the TV, and be sure to minimize distractions. The kitchen table may work if you are home alone, but if you are surrounded by family, you won’t be able to focus. If you don’t have an in-home office, find a space where you are comfortable and have enough room to spread out everything you will need; your laptop, notebook, planner, writing materials, files, etc.
3. Keep a task list
Having a list will help you stay organize and on track. At Market Mentors, we each strive to keep both a weekly list and daily list. This gives us the overall picture of what we need to accomplish during the week, and helps prioritize and guide our daily tasks so we make the most out of each day.
We also live by the motto “Eat the Frog,” which means getting the biggest or most important tasks out of the way first. It can be tempting to put off these daunting tasks, but to truly be productive, it is best to get them out of the way as soon as possible. You’ll feel accomplished, which will give you more energy for the rest of the day. Plus, how awesome does it feel to cross something off your to-do list? (Check out more of the rules we live by at Market Mentors!)
4. Use technology to your benefit
One of the great things about technology and WFH is all the resources that are now available. Use your calendar to schedule meetings, set reminders for yourself and block off time to focus on projects. Notify your coworkers when you will be temporarily unavailable so you can get projects done without interruptions.
Not being able to quickly get up and talk to someone can lead to misunderstandings. Call, email or text to get clarification and you’ll avoid wasting time going down the wrong path. Don’t be afraid to ask more questions to get all the information and details you need to get the job done right. The lack of face to face meetings can also cause teams to feel disconnected. Check out resources such as Zoom or Microsoft Teams and try schedule some team, and even client, meetings virtually.
5. Stay positive
A challenging time like this can take a toll on your physical and mental health. If you find yourself in a slump, your productivity levels will likely slump, too. Try to find the silver lining and shift your focus to things you can do now that you struggled to find time for before. Take brief breaks every 90 minutes or so to clear your head: hug your pet, check in on family, take a walk outside. Allow time for a lunch break, and do your best to eat healthy and stay hydrated. Most importantly, remember, you are not alone, and we will get through this. (Let us know if we can help!) Take some time to care of yourself, slow down and nourish your soul.