Are you struggeling working or studying from home during Coronavirus lockdown ? Emma-Jane has got you covered! Try her tips and find out how you can still be productive and enjoy your time in the home office
This weekend my social media has been filled with people enjoying time with their families at home and taking full advantage of the Coronavirus lock down as a time to hygge.
But for those of us working or studying from home, it’s now Monday and it’s time for us to get to work.
And if you have never worked from home before. Or you are having to do this with the entire family at home; it can be a real challenge to crack on with a normal work life whilst being at the ‘home office’.
The challenge is that this time at home feels subtly like a holiday break. We are all taking the advantage to wake up a little later and move a little slower. Being at home, especially if you are in isolation, is relaxing. And to be honest who wouldn’t rather be on holiday at home, than working from home!
Yet when all of this is over, work and school is still going to be there. And trust me those first few weeks back are going to be hectic. It’s just like coming back from a summer break. We are all going to be playing catch up from the lockdown time. And that my dears is a whole lot of stress waiting for us.
So how can you be productive during the coronavirus lockdown and prevent the pile up of work for when we all return to normal?
There are ways to deliver results, avoid going stir-crazy and work or study effectively from the ‘home office’.
Here are my tips and tricks to working and studying from the ‘home office’ built on my years of experience of running a company from my home office.
Stick to a normal schedule
If you normally start work at 8:00 then that’s when you start work at the ‘home office’. The same with study. And choose the same end of day time. You will need to jump back into that rhythm as soon as we get the green light to come back to work. It will be a shock to the system if you don’t keep it up. This is also especially important for your kids. Kids need structure to stop them going stir crazy. Keep up the school morning rhythm as much as possible.
Make a work space
One of the things I have learnt from running a business at home is you need a place ‘to go to work’. Just because you don’t have a room for it doesn’t mean you can’t do this. If your workspace has to be a laptop on a chest of drawers in your bedroom then so be it. Make your workspace as professional as you can. Would your desk be cluttered at work. No. Then apply that rule to your home workspace. If you can try and keep your workspace where you cannot see much of your house. This will stop you thinking about all the other things that you need to do or want to do that are not work.
Get dressed for work
Ohhh the idea of working from bed in your PJs does seem so appealing doesn’t it! However, the bottom line is that working from your PJ’s is not going to boost your productivity. In fact it’s more likely to damage it. In dressing for work, we are affirming to ourselves a commitment to actually do the work. Think about it. We put on our clothes to work every day. When we come home we usually change into something casual. It’s a mental shift between work and home. And when working from home you need this shift more than ever. So if you normally shave, shave. If you normally style your hair, do that. Keep your appearance when working as smart as you normally would if you were in contact with other people. Looking professional when you work applies your mind to the job at hand and will keep you in the work mindset. It is also a great signal for other people in the house that you are ‘at work’.
Systemise your work day
Being at home is hella distracting. I still get distracted even though I have been doing this for years. The way I get around it is to make a weekly schedule on a monday morning with all my tasks planned out. And I do this for my personal life too. I use my calendar, my monthly to do plan and an app called TO-DOIST for this. TO doist is a tool that I am totally dependent on. Every morning I check in with my to-doist before my emails.Then I open my mails and check to see if there is anything important that has come in that I need to add to that list. After which I plan out my day prioritising the tasks that have to be done that day. Then I crack on.
Create simple systems
But the kids are home! How the heck can I work! I get it. Even for those of us used to working from home, having the kids out of school and day care can be a new sensation. One way to deal with it is share the care in a structured schedule. So you take the morning shift, your partner in the afternoon. It will help you and your colleagues to know when they can rely on you being available. Another good trick is to have something to hang on the door when in Skype meetings or whilst working on projects that need extra focus. We have a system at home where I have a sign on the door when I am not to be interrupted. Visual systems are great for kids and easy to remember and understand. Also having a low audio time on TVs etc so that everyone respects each other’s space helps a lot. And take a household lunch break. We are all used to eating with friends and colleagues. So to boost energy sit down together for that meal. It is bonus family time and wil boost your energy the same way it does at work. If you are alone then why not organise a lunch break with a colleague over skype?
Watch out for the Social Media trap!
At work we check our social media less than when we are home. At home we allow ourselves to look more- IT’S A TRAP! We all know how social media wastes our time. During this working from home period make it important to give yourself the same boundaries at the home office as you would at work or school.
When we go to work we leave the house. Even if you work in the office or sit in a classroom we move more at work than at home. Our bodies need this movement. And believe me your kids will be feeling the need to move more than you. Give yourself movement breaks. Go for a lunchtime walk in the garden, throw a frisbee with the kids or go for a quick cycle. Start to do 10 mins morning yoga before work. This is great for the kids to join in with. There are some great online games for getting your kids moving. Join in with them and give yourself the dopamine motion boost you need.
Here are some great links for ideas for kids that you adults can join in too:
Did you know there’s such a thing as indoor air quality—known as IAQ in environmental studies circles? Not only is it a real thing, poor air quality inside of your house is one of the top five environmental health concerns and can have health major impacts- ekk! That’s the last thing we need right now. Opening the windows also lets the outdoor microbiome mingle with your indoor one, diversifying the good bacteria in your home to help strengthen your immune system. A fresh boost of new air in the home will help with concentration levels and improve your mood too. So open your windows at least once a day for a minimum of 15 mins and let yourself feel refreshed.
Working from home is definitely one of the most relaxing ways to work if you can keep your productivity up. And by following these tips you will hopefully have less stress when returning to normal life.
Now I want to hear from you! What has been helping you to have a ‘normal’ work day under lockdown?
Share your stories below and inspire us all here or come over to the Re:Root Your Life Personal Development Community and share your stories with us all
Wherever you are don’t forget the most important thing is to enjoy your journey !