With COVID-19 among us, many Americans, and people around the world, are being asked to work from home for the upcoming weeks. While working remotely is a luxury many Americans are accustomed to, it’s uncharted waters for others.
The following four tips are suggestions on how to be most productive when taking your work from the office to your home.
- Create a work environment – If working remotely is new for you, your first step is to create an environment that is set up for productive work. Not only will this help you to be more productive while working at home, it will also help you to maintain a balance between work-life and home-life. That means getting off of your sofa and to a desk. If you don’t have a desk, try your kitchen counter or dining room table. Think about the tools you typically use while at the office and make sure they’re with you at your workspace. Your computer, pens and paper, a calculator, a printer, a cup of coffee, etc. Once you have created this space, try to isolate it to only being used for work.
- Avoid distractions – Distractions come in the form of your family’s group text thread, the television, kids running through the house, or a pile of laundry. Some distractions are easier to avoid than others, so keep your focus on the distractions that are in your control. Start by ensuring your work environment is as distraction-free as possible. Pick a room the kids never go in, turn off the television, and put your phone aside. Minimizing distractions helps signal to your brain that it’s time to work, not play.
- Write a to-do list – To help keep yourself on track with work, write down a list of the things you want to accomplish. Then, check them off as you go. This list will not only help to keep you focused, but it will also be a way to encourage yourself by seeing everything you have already finished. When you have your to-do list, set mini-goals that encompass the tasks you want to check off by a certain time. For example, maybe you want to check three things off your list before taking a break for lunch.
- Take breaks – There’s no denying that working from home can be challenging. Instead of fighting the urge to work a straight eight hours at home, allow yourself some breaks. Once you’ve checked off a few items on your to-do list, give yourself some time to check the news, reply to text messages, or FaceTime a friend. Once you’ve taken your break, get back to your to-do list. Check off a few more tasks, then go make a fresh pot of coffee, fold the pile of laundry, or watch a show with your kids. The key here is taking a break, then getting back to work. If getting back to work after a break is difficult for you, try a technique like the Pomorodo Technique, which implements the use of a timer.
Whether you’re experienced or unaccustomed to working from home, we hope these tips are helpful for you.