Hey, hey! I see you over there, sitting on your couch trying to get your work done, feeling unsuccessful in your attempt. Probably missing your buzzing office with coworkers glore. If you are anything like me, you’re probably struggling finding some “normal” in this craziness! There’s some words you’d like to say to COVID-19. It can be so easy to fall into the idea that this is a “break.” A time to hideout from the world, binge netflix and sit on your couch all day doing nothing. Working from home isn’t glamorous or easy. It’s difficult working from your comfy space surround with distractions everywhere you look. You have good intentions, totally planning on sitting down and checking off everything on your agenda. But, everywhere you look, you’re faced with a million little things that needed to be done… yesterday! Trust me, I’ve been there (I still am) and I wanted to share a few of the little hacks I’ve implemented to stay productive and focused. So, here we go!
1. Create a routine
The mental association you make with going to the office shouldn’t have to change just because your location changed. If you had a routine before, try to stick to it. Set the alarm, make (or go get – #supportlocal) your coffee, get dressed, do your makeup. When working from home, you are your own manager. So when it’s time to start working, make sure you are sitting at your desk or kitchen table, ready to start your day. Without things like in-person meetings to break up your day, you can quickly lose focus. To help with this, make a plan the night before. Schedule out your day strategically and prioritize tasks. Multitasking DOESN’T WORK! Every time you switch tasks (aka. quickly checking your email while editing) it takes your brain TWENTY FIVE MINUTES to lock back into that task again. Yes, you read that right. Twenty. Five. Minutes. Everytime you refresh your emails, check your insta, answer that phone call… you waste another twenty five minutes. Having a routine to START your day is just as important has having one to END your day, too. Set a time to stop working (ex. 5:30pm put that dang computer away!), don’t answer anymore calls or texts, make some dinner, do the house tasks that were staring at you all day. But don’t do anymore work!
side note* if you have kids, you can try designating specific work hours between you and your SO. Example, one of you works before lunch, while the other one watches the kids or helps them with their school work. After lunch, you flip!
2. Designate a “workspace”
If you’ve got a home office that’s GREAT! But, I know that not everyone has an office or dedicated workspace. But this isn’t the time to snuggle up on the couch or pull out your laptop without even getting out of bed. Working from your comfy cozy sleepy place will NOT make you want to be productive. You’ll be tempted to slack and let your work fall to the wayside. Plus, your brain will begin to associate those places with work, so when it is time to relax it won’t know how. That said, whever you are working should be an area that brings you pease. For me, I’ve spent time (even this week) working hard to create a pleasing spot dedicated to work. It’s cozy, warm, and organized. Your surrounding influences you. If there is clutter all over, you’re going to be subconsiously affected. For some, it can be hard to find a spot, especially if there are multiple people or kids in your home. (We’ll talk about them next…) Just be sure that your workspace FUELS you to stay focused and get your ‘ish done!
3. Set boundaries
Okay, this one can be difficult if you have a house full of people, especially children. Having boundaries will help you stay in “work mode” throughout the day (or during your set work hours). Kindly remind them that just because you are home, doesn’t mean you are on vacation. You still have to clock in and work, just like you would if self-quarentine wasn’t happening.
Shut your phone off. Okay.. so you don’t have to ACTUALLY turn it off – completely. Put it on silent, do not disturm, airplane more or leave it in the other room. Whatever you need to do to remove the temptation of checking that notification or getting sucked into the endless scrolling. Maybe you need to turn off Netflix until after dinner, not watch the news, or set a timer to signal when you can get up from your workspace.
If you don’t set your boundaries and STICK TO THEM, you’ll get off task and before you know it, twenty minutes have going by. Leaving you distracted and spending another twenty five minutes trying to refocus. But you’re struggling, so you open your social media, looking for some inspo. Pretty soon you’ve wasted another twenty minutes… see the pattern? It’s vicious and it attacks your productivity. This goes for that twenty minute episode of the Office, too. (ps. this is me preaching to the choir. I am so SO guilty of this.) But when I intentionally set aside my phone, I find that I’m able to complete whatever task I need to accomplish. Try it! You’ll be so much more productive and thank yourself.
4. Take a break
When you’re hustlin’ away, you can only go so long before you find yourself hitting a wall and haven’t made any progress for who knows how long. You’re no longer being efficient in completing tasks, which is a disservice to your clients/boss/self. Rather than just sitting on your butt all day, not moving except for bathroom breaks and lunch, trying to force something (which probably ain’t gonna happen), give your brain some time to rest. Get up and move, go grab a glass of water or refill your coffee. Take ten minutes and take your eyes off the screen, get up, stretch your back and legs, and try to get outside to walk around the block. When you come back, you’ll be refreshed and ready to jump back into your tasks with fresh perspective.
5. Set goals
A lot of times we can become so focused on just trying to keep up with our daily tasks that we lose sight of the long term goal. Especially, when you can’t switch up your routine by heading to your favorite coffee shop. This can be a dangerous thing. You will be more productive if you set daily, weekly, and monthly goals, AND create a game plan to achieve those goals. If you have a difficult time setting goals, try working backwards. Say you have a monthly goal you want to achieve at work or in your business. First you need to give a deadline to have it accomplished by and then start to break it down. Determine the “big picture” steps that you need to reach that deadline. Assign these steps as your weekly goals, then break them down even more into smaller tasks. These are your daily goals. Make sense? Suddenly your large, overwhelming goal becomes managable because you’ve identified the end date, each of the steps, and created your to do list for each day. Don’t get caught up in the lie that you can’t achieve your seemingly impossible goal – you can always break it down into small, achievable steps.
6. Mindfulness matters
While it may feel like everything is spinning out of control, there is something that you CAN control – your perspective. It’s going to be SUPER easy to fall into a rhythm of waking up, turning on the news, and remembering how much you hate your current situation (or maybe you don’t). That’s your choice. Instead, you can fill yourself with truth and peace, and being intentional with your time, so you don’t just sit and wallow. But, also so you don’t full all of your time up with distractions that you aren’t able to process what you’re going through. There are a couple things you can do to help with this. When you wake up, don’t get on social media or check the news. Rather, take some time to journal five things that you are thankful for. I like to take some time to read my Bible and listen to worship music. If you start to get overwhelmed throughout the day, take a walk or do some yoga. If nothing else, just stop and breathe.
BONUS* Give yourself some grace
This is a really big transition. If you feel irratable, restricted, frustrated – maybe, even a little sad – THAT’S OKAY! Try to soak up some Vitamin C, if you can, and get some fresh air if that’s how you’re feeling. Remember, we’re all in this together, you aren’t alone and this isn’t forever. You’ll be back to sipping iced coffee from your office SOON!
Okay, so that was a lot, right?! Maybe you feel like you’ve got a handle on some things, but are over your head in others? Start with making a list of everything that you feel like you are crushing. Be honest with yourself – it’s probably a longer list than you were expecting! Then take some time to think about how you can increase your efforts in the not-so-hot areas. Choose just one or two to begin with and become more intentional with your efforts. Don’t try to change everything at the same time. You’ll just end up doing things halfway, give up because “it isn’t working,” and return to your old, ineffective habits. Make this a long term goal and work it with the tips from above! 😉
I hope this post was helpful to you!! If it was, please share it! If you have any questions, please reach out to me!!
You can leave a comment below or shoot me DM me on Instagram!
Grab a drink, pop in your headphones, and get focused!