As part of recent upheaval caused by the coronavirus pandemic, millions of Americans have been sent home from work with laptops in hand and instructions to remotely tend to their usual workload. For some not used to working from home, this can be a lot harder than it sounds. If you find yourself struggling to complete your workload from home during the outbreak, here are a few tips on how to stay focused, on-task and productive as you work from home.
Create a workstation. Propping up your pillows and working in bed can sound like a good idea until you find yourself nodding off in front of your computer screen. To keep your brain focused and in “working mode,” it’s best to designate one area of your home to serve as your workstation as you wait out the outbreak. Keep the area clean and stocked with all the supplies you may need during your work hours.
Set your hours. A major boon of working from home is choosing your own hours—but this can backfire quickly. Lack of a proper schedule is the biggest enemy of the procrastinator. To keep from finding yourself with a huge amount of work to complete in an impossibly short amount of time, set up working hours and stick to them. If there are children home with you, work around their routine by scheduling your work hours during naptime or late at night when they’re asleep.
Collaborate. For most of us, home is where we unwind and kick off our shoes after a long day of work. Keeping focused and staying on task when working in your own comfortable surroundings can be super-challenging. Bring home some of the motivational work atmosphere by collaborating with your colleagues as much as possible. Utilize video conferencing to swap ideas, plan long-term projects and communicate on platforms like Slack, which is created just for this purpose.
Get rid of all distractions. It can be hard to keep your mind on work when each beep of the phone brings more updates about the spread of the coronavirus. If you can, hide or shut off your phone during your work hours. If that’s not possible, consider turning off your notifications and social media apps. You can also use an app, like ColdTurkey, which makes it easy to minimize distractible apps and websites on your phone.