Updated: Apr 10, 2020
If you’re like most of us, this COVID-19 pandemic has you in self-quarantine. Self-quarantine also means working from home and, if you’re also like most of us, you’ll be working from home for the first time. Here are some basic tips that will help you ease the stress and get into the work mood, whether you live alone or are part of a family.
Wake up every day at the same time and start your “working” days with a morning routine. This will help avoid having any feelings of restlessness. Once you’re up, go for a walk to help you fully wake up and replace your “commute” to work. Go back home and make yourself some coffee as you would in your office. If you don’t drink coffee, appoint a certain action that will let you know that it’s time to get to work. Create a routine that will guide you towards your designated work-space. Just make sure that it’s strictly your work-space versus your living-space. If you don’t have enough room in your house to dedicate a whole room, dedicate a certain desk for work use. For example, when your computer is on the desk and connected to an outlet, it means it’s work time. Do something so that you can differentiate when it’s personal time versus work time and that can assist in switching your mindset to work mode.
Move Your Body
Move (even if it’s just for a bit)! Make the most of your new COVID-19 routine. Create a habit that signals the start and end of your work day. In the morning you could take your dogs out for a walk and in the evening you could take an online yoga class. Get up every hour and do a few stretches and a few breathing exercises as well. You can also walk around your home (or outside your home) while on a conference call. The point we want to make is: don’t become sedentary. Exercise actually does make you smarter.
Always take a shower before starting your work duties. Brush your hair or even put a little make-up on as if you were going to the office. Pretend like you are going into the office. Dressing up will make you feel better and will give you the confidence and motivation that you need to get to work. This way you will also be prepared for sudden and unplanned Skype or Zoom meetings. Wearing pajamas or sweatpants to work can be a bad strategy. Actually getting ready for “work” can be more powerful than setting a time to get started. As Karl Lagerfeld once said, “Sweatpants are a sign of defeat. You lost control of your life so you bought some sweatpants.”
Set a Goal
Another stupendous idea for you is work on your next raise! While this week or next month might not be optimal for your company, it couldn’t hurt to be prepared. Having this goal in mind is a great way to boost your productivity. One of our career coaches can also help you write that promotion letter to your boss.
If you are a parent working from home and in self-quarantine, your frustration level may be high. This is going to be a real adjustment for the whole family. It will be best to establish some rules right away. If you have children who live with you or came home from school, you need to have clear rules of what they can do during your working hours. Be sure to sit the family down and explain clear expectations. If you have small children, there may be a trial and error phase that you may want to just expect. If they are young and love running around the house exceedingly making noise (with someone other than you giving care), order some top noise cancelling earphones. They will be of use to you even after all of this is over. Explain to them, and other people that live with you, how that your new office is currently going to be in a certain room and they have to knock if they need anything. A neat tip is to actually print out a sign that you can post on the door that says something along the lines of, “Office Hours from 10am-3pm.” Just because you’re home doesn’t mean they can count on you for domestic labor at all times. Setting ground rules will maintain your productivity.
Take your lunch break as you would on a normal work day at your office. Don’t underestimate how these breaks can help you and don’t short-change yourself when applying them. You can use apps such as Time Out for Mac that can help you from over-straining yourself. For instance, it has “normal breaks” that can last anywhere from 10 min to an hour for your lunch break and also “micro breaks” that last 15 seconds to remind you to relax. You can configure your breaks to how often or for how long you need them. Moreover, we know how social humans can be so it’s important to have some social contact during the work day. Use apps such as Facetime or Zoom to talk on a regular basis with friends or family. The good thing is that most of us are in the same position at the moment due to COVID-19 and we all need a laugh throughout the day. Make a list of people who are also in self-quarantine that you can call (just don’t go through the whole list in one day). Besides having a conversation see if you can help out in any way. An article from Psychology Today states how helping others produces Oxytocin which boosts positive physical and mental effects on your body. Doesn’t matter what you do during your breaks, just make sure it’s not related to work or the crisis.
Do Some Soul Searching
Follow Newton’s law of inertia. If you’re in motion, you’ll stay in motion. We get it. There will be some days where you don’t feel like doing more than you need to. But, for those other days, get mileage out of your productivity. If you get work done early or if you just feel you have the momentum to complete anything that comes your way, now is the chance to do something for you. Some ideas are to organize your closet, your pantry, or your life! These long days are the days in which you can think about what you’re doing in life and if it’s the path you want to stay on. Get resume help to perfect your resume and your LinkedIn. You never know who’s looking at your profile or what opportunities can come from a platform such as LinkedIn. Search for a career coach near you. A career coach can help you if you’re flat-out stuck with what you want in life, provide resume help or interview coaching, and other useful career tips.
This is a strange time for all of us but it’s up to us if we make the most of it. Whether you live alone or have a full family, working from home can become aggravating. We hope these tips can help keep some of the strain off. If you decide on progressing in your career let us know so we can help you take that step.