Coronavirus cases continue to pass hundreds of thousands globally. Some countries around the world have already started to enforce new lockdown restrictions. Others have begun to enact border checkpoints and deploy their armies to assist with the outbreak.
Major international and local businesses have already taken the decision to enforce remote working policies in order to limit the spread of the virus and safeguard their employees, their families and their communities. It is highly likely that you have been asked to work from home during the coronavirus pandemic to help slow the spread of the virus.
While working from home has its own advantages including zero commuting hours, the ability to work in your pyjamas, and flexibility over your schedule; it also has its own challenges. The home environment has numerous distractions that can make it easy to procrastinate and not get your work done. Are you struggling to stay on task some days? Wondering how you can be productive while working from home? These proven strategies can help you reduce procrastination, stay productive and avoid distractions that can hinder your working day.
It is easy to establish daily routines, but it’s just as easy to fall out of them. You want to make daily routines and stick to them. This will help you to build productivity habits over time. One of the best strategies to stay productive and focused is to re-establish your daily routine and make it simple and refined. Set an alarm and have a consistent morning and evening habit or ritual. It may help to convince yourself that you’re going to work for several hours during the day to get yourself in the mood for work.
The first step is to make a list of your daily tasks. Do not worry about organizing the list at this point. Start by simply jotting down the list. Ask yourself this question: What time of the day do I perform tasks best? Most people have high energy levels in the morning. As such, you should schedule the activities that require the most work at this time. Dedicate your midday hours for repetitive tasks like answering emails, attending meetings, organizing upcoming activities, setting appointments, and running errands.
Make sure to stick to your routine, even if your days become too busy with tasks and things to do. It is crucial to establish a realistic routine; so rather than focusing mainly on getting the work done, make sure to leave some time for other activities, such as running, coffee, reading and showering as part of your routine. Taking regular breaks during work, preferably after every hour, will help to improve your concentration and boost your productivity levels. Productivity techniques, such as Pomodoro Technique, breaks your working day into 25-minute chunks. Each chunk is followed by a five-minute break.
Don’t forget to log your progress using a journal or a calendar. It is essential to prepare for the next day, review your day and see how well you’ve done over the course of a month.
You can now swap public transport and offices for web conferencing to stay connected with work colleagues and collaborate with your team members, even when they’re miles apart. Not only do video conferencing tools allow you to have instant 1-on-1 video meetings and real-time collaboration with screen sharing, but they’re really helpful when it comes to managing project-specific communications and host company-wide webinars to distribute important updates. Some of these products are available online, including Google Hangouts, Skype for Business, Zoom and Microsoft Teams. Some of these tools may even be included in your existing software suites. In addition, products like Dropbox and Google Drive are handy for keeping files in one online destination.
Apart from web conferencing tools, stay connected on your company’s social platforms to maintain positivity and keep up a normal routine with your co-workers. Use collaboration tools like Slack to connect with individuals, departments or project teams and improve communication with others.
Regular exercise is a good way to manage and lower stress levels and improve your immune system in a time like this. Remember that working from home shouldn't mean you stay cooped up indoors all day. So what can you do to keep fit and healthy while heeding the new advice about staying at home?
There are plenty of exercises you can do at home with minimal equipment to get a full body workout. Some exercises include running up and down stairs, standing up and moving around, doing squats, and eating meals away from your workstation. With a lot of children being home from school, this is also a great time to introduce them to regular exercise and get them involved. Find 30 minutes in the day to set aside for exercise.
The best exercise is one that you can do regularly and consistently. Accept that home workouts will become your new norm for a little while. If you’re not in a quarantine, try to leave the house once a day. Check out YouTube for different exercises, such as air squats, push-ups, or even dance and yoga videos. Try to follow Instagram accounts of people who regularly exercise. Meditation and relaxation techniques are especially important in a time like this.
Finally, if you are overwhelmed by what is happening and feel pressured to be more creative or productive, try seeking support from your friends or work colleagues. You need to realize that these are unprecedented times, so it is really natural to feel a sense of anxiety and be wondering what the next few weeks and months have in store for you.
While the coronavirus will alter the way you live, it doesn’t have to decrease your productivity. These are challenging times, but investing your energies in your productivity will help you remain focused, motivated and put you in the best possible position when this phase ends.