We’re less than a week into our country’s 15-day quarantine, and everyone is feeling it. Some of us have lost our jobs, some of us have struggled to work from home, and some of us have had to juggle homeschooling and work. As I mentioned in yesterday’s COVID-19 Glad Game post, there are a lot of things to be thankful for, including a home to be quarantined in right now. Those of us who work from home regularly know that it can be challenging, but I’m about to reveal my very best work-from-home secrets to help you be more productive. And I’m giving away something amazing in this post, too, so keep reading!
1. Create a Separate Space
I know it sounds so cozy to work from your couch or from the comfort of your own bed, but that’s your regular relaxing space. As such, your body is automatically going to go into “resting” mode. You’ll be less productive, but also your relaxing space will become your working space, and that will make relaxing more difficult when you need it as well. So find a separate place to be your “home office” while we ride this out. Whether that’s your kitchen table, a desk you’ve been using as storage space, or the playroom up in the attic, find a place to designate as your home workspace.
2. Create a Routine
Just like washing my face, brushing my teeth, and taking out my contacts all signal that it’s time for me to go to bed, my body gets signaled that it’s time to work when I have my coffee, workout, shower, eat breakfast, and sit with my laptop. So get up at your normal time as if you were going to the office, take a shower, make a pot of coffee, and get going! We are creatures of habit, so create an intentional “work signal” habit that works for you!
3. Turn on some Music
Pandora, Spotify, Apple Music, iHeart Radio, and more have all made music available anywhere, anytime, for any mood! Get excited to start work each day by putting on some of your favorites. Yesterday I cranked up the 80s music on Spotify, the day before I listened to the Frozen II soundtrack, and the day before that it was the Vitamin String Quartet! I tend to work optimally with instrumental tunes, so give that a try if you can’t stop yourself from singing along to Whitney Houston’s new Higher Love! Think instrumental sounds boring? Think again! Every John Williams movie soundtrack will get you going, whether it’s themes from Star Wars, Indiana Jones, Memoirs of a Geisha, Harry Potter, or Home Alone (for the Christmas junkies)!
4. Get Dressed
I know it sounds so nice to work in your pajamas, but from my experience, getting dressed in actual clothes and doing something real with my hair (real=not a ponytail) makes me feel more like it’s time for work. Give it a try if you’re having a hard time getting anything done in those sweats and a messy bun!
5. Set Your Office Hours
When I think I have all the time in the world, I get very little done. Instead of accomplishing so much more with my 24 hours in a day, I find myself stressing over all the work I should be doing. I think a lot of us are that way. It helps when I give myself a timeframe, and my productivity ends up going through the roof! When you create separate times for work, laundry, play, etc., you’ll probably find that those things are less like chores and more like accomplishments. Set a timer so that you start work on time and also stop work on time. You’ll get more done, and since you won’t be thinking about work all the time, you’ll be happier, too!
6. Turn Off the TV
I know there are new developments and changes happening all the time right now, but wallowing in the muck all day long is terrible for your mental health, and it will not make your work day better! So turn off the news and you do you. Need the background noise? Turn on Netflix, Prime, Hulu, or Disney Plus and put on your favorite sit-com. You’ll have no commercial breaks and no “breaking news” updates, just the fun! Current events are overrated.
7. Move Your Body
You heard me right! You’ll be more productive if you take a few minutes away from your work space every hour. Set a timer to signal that it’s time to go for a walk, play with your kids, or do a few fitness-related reps—ten pushups, ten squats, and ten crunches per hour will get your blood flowing! We are more productive when we keep our bodies moving. I actually do my most creative thinking when I’m moving!
8. Give Yourself a Vice
Keep the coffee coming! Make the big pot of tea! Treat yourself to a brownie! Give yourself permission to indulge a little, within reason. We’re all navigating this new “normal” for a little while, and we need to have a little fun with it. I normally stop all caffeine at 10:00am, but I’ve been indulging in rebellion and having coffee at noon! Reward yourself with something you like while we’re all doing things differently for a little while.
9. Make a Top 3 To Do List
If you’re feeling overwhelmed with everything you need to do and everything that’s going on, sit down with yourself and a pad of paper, and write down the three most important tasks you need to complete today. Just three! You can handle three things, right? Of course you can! Don’t let yourself get swept up in trying to do everything at once. Focus on the most important things, and you’ll be surprised at how much more accomplished you’ll feel at the end of the day.
10. Be Patient with Your Working-from-home Co-workers
People are different, and when you throw us out of our daily routine, we react differently. Maybe your coworker works best at night, so they’re taking advantage of that and only working in the wee hours. Don’t let yourself get frustrated with they don’t respond to your 8:00am e-mail by 8:30am. You’ll only be setting yourself up for disappointment. Be a little more patient, do what you can do, and we’ll all get through it together!
A Gift for You!
Happy home working, folks! Thank you so much for reading, and thank you for supporting my blog. Bloggers, creatives, and small businesses are all taking some pretty big hits right now. My views are down 70% this week, and it’s more than a little discouraging. Please share this post on your social media, e-mail it to your whole office, or just leave a comment to let me know you liked the post!
In an effort to support other small businesses like myself, I am giving away one of Marie Mae Company’s new gift sets! Marie Mae is an office supply company that donates an hour of business training to victims of human trafficking with every purchase. Every item they sell is ethically made, and their business training school is helping women when they need it most! Here’s how you can win:
Just do those two things, and I will put your name in a drawing to win one of Marie Mae’s Comfort Gift Sets that includes a bag of ethically-grown coffee from a women-owned and operated farm, an American-made candle from a woman-owned company here in the U.S., and a beautiful notebook to help you stay organized and on-task! Want more than one entry? Share it on both Facebook and Instagram! I will choose a winner at 9:00am Friday, March 20!
We’re all in this together!
Want more? Check out my Health and Wellness Page for all my posts about COVID-19 and how we’ll all get through this together!
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