Happy National Work From Home Day! Don’t worry, I didn’t know it was a holiday either. Isn’t it fun how most of us are working from home during this crazy time? It has been quite an adjustment for me, personally. If you have been working at home, how are you doing?
There are good days and bad days, for sure. Sometimes I am on fire and get loads of work done. Other days I find myself dragging and extremely unmotivated. I hope I’m not alone in this!
Because of the holiday, I wanted to do some research. How can I increase my productivity while working from home? I would love to take you with me as I learn new ways to combat the struggles of working at home.
Address Your Environment
Sure, working from your couch might work for a couple of weeks. However, I learned that over time you might begin to struggle with “environmental fatigue.” A Forbes article says that this fatigue can show up “if the place you choose to work lacks the functional and esthetic requirements of an office.”
You might be more effective in a different room, facing another direction, or using different products. I’m not saying you have to rearrange your entire house, but maybe putting together a little office space would be helpful!
The article also mentioned not to “downplay the importance of beautifying a space.” I know I never really noticed how clean and tidy my workplace was until I started working in my messy apartment. Having a clutter-free workspace can really increase productivity. Take the time to clean up and brighten up the environment you’re working in. It will make a big difference.
Stick to a Schedule
Working from home comes with a lot more distractions than working at an office. It also takes a lot of self-motivation and accountability. One of the key ways to make sure it goes smoothly is to create a schedule and stick to it.
PC Magazine said,
Having clear guidelines for when to work and when to call it a day helps many remote workers maintain work-life balance. That said, one of the benefits of remote work is flexibility, and sometimes you need to extend your day or start early to accommodate someone else’s time zone. When you do, be sure to wrap up earlier than usual or sleep in a bit the next morning to make up for it.
Having a routine/schedule is scientifically proven to improve your productivity during the COVID-19 lockdown. It reduces stress, boosts self-esteem, and overall allows our bodies to function better. I know it will improve your ability to work from home!
If you have other humans living in your home, setting boundaries is crucial. These people need to know what they can and cannot do while you’re working. Of course, they can interrupt for certain exceptions, but make sure they know that your work is important to you.
It’s also necessary to set boundaries with others not inside your home. For example, make sure your mom knows that she can’t call you any hour of the day. Just because you’re at home doesn’t necessarily mean you’re available.
Trust me, you will see a difference between the days you work in your pajamas and the days you get dressed up. Don’t get me wrong, I love a good pajama day and they totally happen around here. However, when you really need to focus, this tip will help!
An article by The Muse said,
‘Don’t underestimate the power of putting on clothes suitable for public viewing. It makes you feel human [and] confident and helps draw the line between being at work and being at home,’ says Heather Yurovsky, Muse career coach and the founder of Shatter & Shine. ‘Feeling human’ might seem like an odd thing to have to actively think of, but it’s especially important at a time like this, when the breakdown of your everyday routines might make you feel cut off from your ‘normal’ life and the ‘real’ world.
In this category, I would also like to mention the importance of simply taking care of yourself during this time. Take a shower, put on some makeup, exercise, etc. It’s okay to spend time on yourself! It will help you feel better and work harder.
Communication is Key
So much seems unstable right now. There are so many unknowns in life. Working from home can bring up a lot of questions, too. The best way to combat this is to overcommunicate.
Make sure your coworkers know exactly when you’re available. Ask questions often. Check with your boss to make sure you’re accomplishing the necessary tasks. Being certain that you’re on the same page as everyone can eliminate a lot of stress.
What About Kids?
I don’t have children, but I can imagine the extra pressure they would bring to the table in this situation. It’s normal to feel overwhelmed. Working and taking care of kids full time is a daunting and nearly impossible task!
Fast Company put out a great podcast and article on this subject. Their tips were similar to what’s already on this list (have a schedule, establish rules, etc.) but they did mention the importance of downtime with your kids. They said,
With so many people losing their jobs or being furloughed, you might feel added pressure to ‘prove your worth’ by working around the clock, especially if the only quiet time is after the kids go to bed. But this is a marathon, not a sprint, so pace yourself and make some breaks for yourself each day.
Every single article I read said to take breaks. Your brain simply can’t work all day every day! Stand up, get a glass of water, or step outside for some fresh air. When you return to your work, you’ll feel refreshed and ready to go.
Going along with this, make sure to still take those sick/vacation days. Just because you’re at home does not mean you can work non-stop. Everyone needs a day off here and there. Don’t feel bad about it!
A Forbes article said,
You need to build in time to take a step back from at least some part of this experience. You probably can’t make the newly created burdens of homeschooling or needing to provide remote care to family and friends disappear, so checking out of work for a few days or a week is the easiest way to reduce your cognitive and emotional load. Don’t underestimate the power of giving yourself the space to rest even if it can’t be as much of a vacation as you would like.
Ask For Help
Lastly, please don’t be afraid to reach out for help. Even the Savior asked for help carrying His cross. We can allow others to fulfill their baptismal covenant by allowing them to serve us. It’s okay to have weaknesses.
Life is difficult right now. Reach out to your boss or coworkers if you need assistance with some work. Talk to a family member or friend if you need to get rid of the kids for a day. You deserve it!
Don’t overwork yourself. This is an unprecedented time and it’s okay to take it slow. Be forgiving and patient as you adjust to this new normal. We’re all in this together.
Before I go, I have to prove that you’re not alone in this. Check out a couple of these hilarious fail videos! They’re sure to get you smiling.
— Microsoft (@Microsoft) May 7, 2020
Work from home they said, it’ll be fine they said. pic.twitter.com/e2eK6IH6r5
— Jessica Lang (@jessdlang) March 28, 2020
How do you stay productive while working from home? I would love to hear your ideas in the comments below!