So many of us have been faced with the social distancing that Coronavirus has brought into our lives and I realized very quickly that not a lot of us know how to work from home in a successful and productive way. While you are cooped up in this time of panic, I want you to know that you can STILL feel motivated to complete projects and I have quite a few tips to get you there. Let’s get STARTED.
TIP ONE: DESIGNATE YOUR WORKSPACE
A lot of us don’t have desks in our home but if you DO, you’re set. Get that sucker filled up with pens, paper and your laptop or computer. Make sure that when you are at this desk, you are WORKING. If you don’t have a desk, designate a spot at the kitchen table, pull out your card playing table or pull up a stool to the kitchen island and make that your workspace for the time being. When you sit down in that spot, you are in work mode.
We need to make sure we are setting boundaries that tell our bodies we are going to work. If you are in your bed working on your laptop, you are definitely not in a comfy position for long but it also makes you feel like you are in relax mode which tells your brain that you don’t need to concentrate. If you think you are the exception, I would bet money on your productivity at your desk vs. in your bed or on the couch. Set up a workspace and commit to it.
TIP TWO: START WITH A MORNING ROUTINE
This may sound a little weird but if you just roll out of bed in the morning and land at your desk, you’re not doing yourself justice. Wake up and come up with a routine that makes you happy. For me, this involves waking up, drinking water, brushing my hair, making my bed, sipping coffee while I work on a jigsaw puzzle and then once my coffee is gone, I sit down at my desk. I do this almost every single day and it has helped me TREMENDOUSLY to feel set up for the work day.
You should be doing everything you normally would if you were going to leave the house. Put on a bra, wear something comfy cute and feel like you’re READY to sit down and boss your projects around. By feeling confident in what you look like and feel like, you’re going to feel confident when you sit down and start working.
TIP THREE: MAKE A LIST OF TASKS
THE TO DO LIST. My favorite. Rank all the tasks you need to get done that week/month from most important to least important. What HAS to be done by Friday (or sooner) and what can wait? Once you have this list, make sure you break up overwhelming tasks. For example, if I have on my to do list “build website” I’m going to break it up into chunks like “search for website hosting, find domain name, choose design template, do home page” etc. By breaking up huge tasks into smaller, more manageable steps, you will accomplish your goal much faster and with much better quality.
I also add in personal tasks to my day because I find it works well for me to treat my personal life with the organization I treat my work life. So for example I might throw on there, schedule a hair cut. If this is going to make you feel off task or out of focus, don’t include personal items. I’ve gotten so used to it that it doesn’t shift my focus from work to home anymore and I like the mix up between work/home tasks. I feel like if I were to wait until my work day is done I would push off my personal tasks for years so by mixing it in, it feels like it’s a must.
TIP FOUR: CHUNK YOUR DAYS
Buckle the F up for this section.
Did you know our brain can only focus/concentrate up to 2 hours before we need at least a twenty minute break? By chunking out my days I increase productivity and give my brain a chance to focus on separate tasks so I can come back to projects with a fresh pair of eyes.
How to chunk your days:
MY EXAMPLE WEEK + DAY:
Here’s what my theme is for each day every single week, 365 days a year.
This is for a Wednesday theme.
For my Tuesday theme I STILL break it up even if its a simpler theme:
I REALLY try and be intuitive when I’m doing my daily tasks. If I’m on an editing day and I’m just NOT feeling it, I’ll switch to a task that lights me up or take a break and take Cedar for a walk. I wouldn’t recommend doing this in the beginning because you’re trying to build up consistency but you shouldn’t be FORCING your brain to complete tasks if you know you are emotionally/creatively/mentally spent. LISTEN to your body. It also helps to just BREATHE and take a really deep breath before starting the next task. Make sure to take care of yourself! (That’s a whole other subject).
TIP FIVE: SIGNAL THE END OF THE WORK DAY
How are you going to tell your brain you’re done? For me, a lot of times it’s working out and showering. I have said that I use the shower as a metaphor for literally washing the work day off of me and transitioning my thoughts from blog posts to dog food brands.
Other ideas could be having your own dance party for a song you love, making a specific drink you like, going for a walk, stepping outside and taking three deep breaths.. ANYTHING to tell yourself you’re done and you can switch back into home life.
TIP SIX: YOUR THOUGHTS SHOULD MATCH YOUR PHYSICAL PRESENCE
If you are sitting on the couch after work and thinking about the emails you didn’t get to send, figure out a way to bring yourself back to the present moment. This is something I really struggled with when I first started a business. It was really hard for me to turn off my brain when I stepped away from my desk. You have to train yourself to think about work AT work and think about home at home.
In order to switch back to presence, my favorite trick is to name five things I can see, five things I am currently touching and five noises I can currently hear. By the end of me naming these things, I am back in my body. Another trick is to breathe in and out six times and only focus on your breath coming into and leaving your body.
TIP SEVEN: YOU DID MORE THAN ENOUGH TODAY
No matter the to do list, you don’t have to accomplish every single task today. If something was not completed that is OKAY. Just add it to your to do list for the next themed day. It is not a big deal if it takes you a shorter or longer amount of time to do something- as long as your productively working towards it.
I’ve said that I’m the girl that wants to build Rome in a day but you have to learn when to stop so you don’t burnout. Let the task go and come back to it with fresh eyes the next time.
DID THIS HELP YOU?! Share it with a friend, we all need support and love in the times we’re in. Let’s help each other out!
Thank you so much for reading this post by AMP. You are seen, you are loved, you are enough. Til next time,