7 Productivity Hacks for Working From Home During COVID-19
The mere thought of working from home often elicits fantasies of leisurely mornings, afternoon workouts, delicious home-cooked lunches, and the ever so enviable joy of no commute.
While these assumptions aren’t necessarily incorrect (the no commute joy is real), they leave out the other realities of working from home that require some major adjustment. Like accidentally wearing the same sweatshirt three days in a row because hey, the “office” dress code is as casual as it gets in your living room. Or working longer hours because you can’t seem to separate work from your personal life. Or suddenly realizing that it’s been four days since you left the house and talked to another human being (which, right now, sounds like a drop in the bucket, we know).
The point is, while working from home certainly has its perks, it requires discipline and intention to maintain a productive and healthy work/life balance. And since we know you might be already on the brink of losing your sanity (we understand), we’re sharing five productivity hacks to not only help you tackle your to-do list, but also keep your mental health in tip-top shape.
Create “Bonus Time”
Yes, one of the perks of working from home is that you might have a little more flexibility with your schedule, but try to resist the urge to hit the “snooze” button until 49 seconds before you have to sign on for work. Use what would have been your “commute” time as “bonus” time to ease into your day. Listen to the radio or a podcast, brew some delicious coffee, or complete a work task without the concern of having to answer emails or respond to your coworkers on Slack immediately.
Forget Multitasking—Batch Your Tasks Instead
It’s incredibly easy to get sidetracked when working from home. One moment you’re answering emails or hopping on a conference call, and the next, you’re wearing rubber gloves while scrubbing your shower. Sound familiar? We recommend scheduling out your day with dedicated time blocks for each similar task to preserve as much of your mental energy as possible. This means that you set a dedicated time to respond to emails, work on a specific project, have meetings, and do housework, rather than jump in and out of each task haphazardly throughout the day.
Change Out Of Your Pajamas
For some people, getting dressed in full work garb might make them more productive, while for others, that time may be better spent somewhere else. Whether it’s a clean pair of yoga pants or a full-on suit, simply changing out of the clothes you slept in will help get you into a more productive frame of mind, and make you feel more put-together. Find the approach that works best for you.
Designate a Real Workspace—Even if it’s just your Dining Table
We fully understand the temptation to work from bed, and we’d be lying if we said we never did it. (We’re only human.) Still, not only will assigning a specific area in your home as your “office” boost your productivity, but it also helps you leave work behind at the end of the day. Resist the urge to capitalize on being able to take your laptop into every room of the house, and set some solid boundaries so you can truly feel like you’ve left the “office” after work is over.
Take Advantage of the Perks
Love working by candlelight? Be our guest. Wanna play Christmas music in April? Have at it. One of the best parts of working from home is having control over your environment, so take full advantage and make your surroundings as enjoyable as you possibly can. The world (erm, house) is your oyster.
Breathe Fresh Air
We know that options are limited in the current state of the world, but whether it’s a few minutes sitting on your fire escape or a (socially distanced) walk around the block, don’t forget to get outside for any length of time you can. You’d be surprised at how much better your headspace will be just from feeling the breeze hit your skin.
Create Designated Times for Social Media
The fact that you’re now (very likely) alone most of the day probably means that you’re scrolling on Instagram more than ever. We know that’s certainly been the case for us. It’s important not to feel isolated, but we can’t pretend that social media isn’t a huge time suck or hindrance to our productivity. Instead, carve out specific, guilt-free pockets of time in your day to scroll and “like” and comment with reckless abandon.
Working from home may not be the fantasy that we all imagined it would be, but it’s certainly possible to create a healthy and productive routine with just a little extra intention and mindfulness throughout the day. Remember, we’re all in this together.