Working Hard or Hardly Working? Tips for Working Remotely
Due to the new government quarantine mandates, working from home is a new concept for which not everyone is best prepared. According to the US Census, before the COVID-19 crisis, only about 5% of Americans were working remotely. Now, that number is closer to 30%. Aside from working through technology glitches with new remote software, many people are at a loss when it comes to how best to maximize productivity while ensuring work doesn't monopolize their lives. There's a careful balancing act between working too hard and hardly working. I've had the opportunity to work remotely for quite some time prior to the crisis and below are some tips and tricks that myself, along with other colleagues, rely on to maintain our sanity and productivity.
MINDSET: I know everyone jokes about showing up to video conference calls in just a bathrobe while still wiping the sleep out of their eyes, but the simple act of showering first thing in the morning and dressing in comfortable clothing can mentally shifts your focus. It's an instant pick-me-up that signifies it's time to log-in and get moving. I shower and get dressed (in cozy leggings and oversized tops) every day.
WORKSPACE: A dedicated place in your home reserved for work is your best bet when it comes to optimizing productivity. It helps keep you organized and maintain boundaries in your personal work life. For small spaces, perhaps a kitchen counter or corner table will suffice. For me, I've dedicated a corner of my bedroom for my “office,” which includes a desk, chair, printer, and double monitors. Whatever you do, avoid planting yourself on your couch in front of the tv-you can ruin your concept of “leisure” time.
STRUCTURE: Just because you're working from home doesn't mean you should abandon your alarm clock. Wake up at a decent time, review your day's tasks, and identify three goals to accomplish. Build these goals into your day's calendar to ensure you stay on task and provide a roadmap for when you later get distracted. More often than not, my goals include a daily workout and completing a certain number of items on my To-Do List. Also, have solid start and end times to your day--this will help you avoid 12-hour workdays, which is easy to do when you don't have office distractions reminding you of how late it's getting.
BREAKS: Everyone's body has its rhythm of productivity--perhaps you're most alert in the mornings and face a mid-afternoon slump? Or maybe you're sluggish in the mornings, but hit your stride right after lunch? Whatever your flow is, build breaks into your day where you start slowing down and need a mental break. I'm strongest during mornings, so I generally work straight through until lunch-after that my afternoons become break-heavy. When possible, take your break outside to let the sun shine fully on your face-just 15 minutes in the sun can lessen anxiety and stress, leaving you feeling refreshed and focused.
HYDRATION: There is not enough that can be said about staying hydrated, especially during the COVID-19 crisis. Being hydrated boosts energy, enhances complexion, ensures organs are running optimally, and improves focus. Keeping a glass of water nearby helps keep it top of mind for me-as soon as I empty my glass, I force myself to pause at work so I can refill my glass.”