COVID has placed a lot of people in a new position: one where they’re working from home for the first time. If you’re in that boat it’s a bit stressful, but things still need to get done so you’ll have to buckle down and maintain productivity. If you’re looking for some hot leads? We’ve got ‘em, read on and get things done despite the temporary departure from the norm.
1. Stick with a Routine
Ask any freelancer: a work routine is vital to making sure everything gets done.
On the other hand, what your routine looks like? That’s up to you. You may want to get up at noon, watch TV, and work in your underwear. Or you might wake up at the crack of dawn, eat breakfast, get dressed, and get to it.
Regardless of what your schedule actually looks like, the key is this: you need to make sure that you stick to it. Varying from it, either with more or less work time, is going to end badly. Too little work and you’re risking your job, too much and you may experience burnout within your own home!
2. Try Working in Intervals
One thing that many at-home workers have learned over the year is that attention waxes and wanes over the course of the day. If you can’t focus then even the easiest task will become almost impossible.
The key is to leave some in the tank when you recharge.
So, what’s the easiest way to do that?
Work and rest in exact intervals. One of the most common is 90 minutes of work, then 30 minutes of whatever you’d like. If you can live through that 2-hour cycle five times a day, then you’ll have fit in eight hours of work while staying at your best.
Of course, you can experiment to find the perfect sequence for your brain but 90:30 is a good starting point for the majority of us.
Intervals split up work throughout the day, and if you leave a project while still actively working on it then you’re not going to burn out as quickly when you leave and come back during the day.
3. Create an Office Space
There’s a big fiction about people working from home. The majority of us don’t lounge around in our underwear during the workday, instead, we have a strictly designated space for our work and often even get dressed like we normally would.
Creating an office space in your home isn’t just necessary, it’s also a psychological method. Your brain will associate one specific place with work, so you’re less likely to let your mind (and browser) wander when you sit down.
Since this is likely a temporary measure you don’t need to refit a whole room, but even a specific dining chair is often enough.
You also need to make others who are home with you aware that you’re not to be bothered when “in the office” except for emergencies. Otherwise, someone with nothing to do may convince you to do the same.
Separating the areas you live and work isn’t foolproof, but it’s one of the best methods to remain productive no matter what so give it a try.
4. Avoid Distractions
There are a lot more distractions at home than in the office. At least for the most part, your mileage may vary depending on the office culture at your work.
Regardless, you need to find ways to avoid getting distracted. In most cases that simply means not opening any games or social media while you’re working, but in other cases it may just be a problem around the home.
Is the dog a bother? Might want to put him outside for a few hours.
Are you still visiting distracting programs or sites while working? Try a program that restricts what’s done.
If the handyman is coming by then figure out your tip beforehand. That sort of thing.
Try to head things off before they happen by setting boundaries and practicing the above tips. Still, when something comes up then you’ll want to avoid getting distracted for too long, otherwise, your work may suffer!
5. Work Around Outside Noise
Outside noises can be hard to avoid.
But they can also be a major drag on your productivity. Chances are you aren’t the only one who’s home and weathering out the coronavirus, so you’ll need to be proactive.
Noise-canceling headphones are great for those who are dealing with particularly loud neighbors. You can also just play loud music, use earplugs for no music, or find a loud white-noise generator.
The important thing is that you’re able to stay in that work bubble so that you’ll be able to relax when you’ve left, knowing you did an amazing job.
Keeping Productive At Home
Quarantine isn’t the best feeling in the world, but we’re all doing our part during this pandemic. If you buckle down and follow the above tips when you’re\ getting to work, then you stand a much better chance of remaining productive while working from home. It’s not ideal, but we’ve all got to play our part.