It’s no secret right now that many people are unsure about what will happen next, with the precautions against the Covid-19 virus. You might even, like many others, find yourself working from home for the first time in your career. So, I hear you ask, how can I stay on track when I’ve never been in this situation before?
The key to getting your work done is organisation and self-discipline. It’s hard to stay productive in a place where your brain isn’t programmed to work, but it’s certainly not impossible. I’ve listed some of my top tips below, to help you out.
1. Set a Schedule and Stick to it
When you go to work, you know what needs to be done, and when. Start at 9am, Lunch at 1pm, Daily Meeting at 3pm.. You need this same organisation when working from home, or you might find that procrastination takes over. Log in at your intended time and work through your to-do list the same way you usually would. If your change of scenery also means a change in duties, make sure you have a clear plan for the day ahead.
2. Get Up and Get Ready
It’s oh so tempting to work in your favourite pyjamas, but a lot of people find that their productivity is massively affected by this. Get up, have a shower, eat breakfast and get ready. It’s time to get into ‘work mode’. I am, however, a huge fan of putting my dressing down on once I’m ready. You can’t stay at home with no snuggliness.
3. Have a Designated Work Area
Set yourself up a workspace for the time you’ll be working from home. The idea of working on the sofa with your laptop might be nice, but it’s not very productive. You’ll get comfy, have a little rest and then BAM, concentration gone. If you don’t have a desk you can use, set up a working area at the kitchen table, or somewhere similar. You need to be able to associate your designated space with work.
4. Take Actual Breaks
Get up and move. You might feel like you need to keep your concentration, but it’s important to take regular breaks. The truth is, no matter how hard you work, you’re not going solidly when you’re at your place of work. Make sure you at least give yourself a lunch break, where you get up and away from your new workspace. It might even be nice to go for a walk outside (as long as it is currently permitted, of course).
5. Remove Distractions
This is possibly the most difficult thing when you’re spending time at home. It’s like sending a teenager to their room as punishment, but realising it’s where all their cool stuff is. The first thing you should do to eliminate distraction is turn off all unnecessary electronics. Sorry, but the TV’s gotta go. Switch it off and put your phone in a drawer. Think about what you have on your desk at work and try to mimic it at home. Finally, don’t even think about carrying out household chores during your working hours. I’ve experienced myself how distracting this is. Big no, no.
Of course, working from home is more difficult for some people than others. For example, some may have no distractions and the perfect setup, whereas others might have three children, a Labrador and a tonne of washing to contend with. We just have to do what we can and ask any other members of the household to try and support us. We’ll get through it together.
If you have any tips to add, leave a comment below. I’d love to hear them.
If you’re worried you might be displaying coronavirus symptoms, check out the latest advice at: nhs.uk/coronavirus