The COVID-19 pandemic caught us all flat-footed and forced many governments to institute stay at home orders, curfews and even total lockdowns. These measures, although geared towards saving lives, have forced millions of businesses to close either temporarily or permanently, and many others to adopt work-from-home strategies.
While the whole working from home thing is new to most people, it has for many years been a reality for many people, particularly those dealing with chronic diseases such as autoimmune arthritis. Freelancers in various fields too are familiar with remote work.
As it were, working from your house is not exactly an easy thing, as you are typically in a comfort zone, not to mention the number of distractions you are susceptible to – smartphone, television, your kids and/or spouse, etc. To maintain your productivity while doing remote work, you need to establish and follow certain ‘rules’ at all times. Here are a couple of effective tips for working from home:
Establish a Workspace
Remember all the times you used to come home from work, tired to the core, and just slump over to your couch with a sigh? Well, over time, your brain came to view the couch (and your bed, of course) as a relaxation point.
Consequently, it will be very difficult to get into ‘work mode’ when sitted on your couch or bed, as your body and mind will automatically switch into leisure mode within minutes of you switching on your laptop. Hence, you need to set up a workspace, complete with a chair and desk, in a quiet, well-lit room and ideally far from the TV and other noise. That way, you can train your brain to focus as soon as you enter the room and relax, as usual, when you’re on the couch.
Dress For Work
Working from home means you get to wear whatever you want – or nothing at all – whenever you want. However, overly comfortable clothes, and pajamas will inhibit your productivity to a certain extent. Wearing your usual work clothes, or most of it, before going to your workstation, will on the other hand, help your brain to switch to ready-for-work mode and thereby keep you focused.
Take Regular Breathers
It is recommended to take breaks of up to 30 minutes after every couple of hours of work to stretch your body and get your brain refocused. During your breaks, you can take a brisk walk, grab a coffee, talk with your spouse, read a book, check your phone, or whatever else that gets you calm.
It may not be as practical in the current situation, but you should always aspire to get outside your house at least once every day, whether to take a walk, buy groceries, or just basking in the sun – it keeps you grounded and sane.
Don’t Jump Straight Into Work
Unless you can’t control it, don’t start working less than 30 minutes after waking up. Your brain is not fully alert by then, and you are likely to gloss over important details or make lots of mistakes. Instead, try to wake up at least an hour and a half before start time and have your breakfast and probably a couple of stretches, to get your day started. You can also use this time to prepare everything you need for work that day.
Don’t Be Too Hard on Yourself
I know it’s hard to not pressure yourself when you have strict deadlines to meet, but you need to learn to cut yourself some slack whenever you fail to meet your targets. Comfort yourself with the fact that these times are hard for everyone of us and that your worth is more than just a measure of your productivity.