2020 is getting off to a bizarre start, isn't it?
Lets not ignore the elephant in the room, I'm talking Covid-19.
I'm not going to dwell on it, but just remember to breathe, and turn the news off when it gets too much.
*breathe in* 1, 2, 3, 4 *breathe out*
Ok that's better.
One of the biggest changes to life since Covid-19 has been self isolation, social distancing and working from home. But if you've never worked from home before, how easy is it exactly?
It sounds like heaven; no rush hour, no fighting over the microwave at lunchtime, working in PJs, working whenever you want, sounds easy, yes?
As someone who is speaking from experience, working from home can be a difficult adjustment. I've been working from home for about two years (Andy longer), and even today I still have moments where I struggle to find motivation to get up and work.
You can wake up feeling super motivated, but the next thing you realise it's 3pm and you still haven't turned your laptop on.
Don't fret, it happens to everyone.
As the situation is unlikely to change in the upcoming weeks, I thought it would be useful to write this post for anyone struggling to adjust to working from home.
So here are 5 simple tips to improve productivity whilst working from home.
1. SET AN ALARM
Sounds simple enough, but when it's 8am and that alarm goes off, believe me when I say that the urge to snooze will be strong. Stay motivated and get out of bed. Otherwise it'll already be 1pm and half of the day will be wasted.
2. STICK TO A ROUTINE
When you work from home, it's easy to get distracted, so I've found it useful to design and stick to a routine. It doesn't have to be elaborate, just schedule meal times and work hours. That way you'll be able to maintain your productivity and actually work, rather than scroll Instagram memes all day.
3. WRITE A TO DO LIST
Who doesn't love a good list? I'll be honest, I wasn't a lister, but you're speaking to the converted.
I find it useful to write a to do list for the week, and delegate tasks for the week in my diary.
2020 has been the year I realised why calendars exist. I wasn't an organised person before I brought a diary, now I feel unstoppable! If you're not a lister, please try it. Your productivity will thank me.
To do lists have another benefit; you can cross the tasks off when you're done. Sometimes it's easy to feel like you haven't accomplished anything all day, especially when you haven't got a manager "looking over you" all day. So when you write a to do list and cross off completed tasks, it reminds you how much you've accomplished and keeps you motivated to continue.
4. DO NOT WORK IN BED
I cannot stress this enough, please don't work from your bed. I mean as a student, I wrote most of my essays from my own bed. So I know how it feels to give into the temptation.
But when you're working from home, it's not a good idea.
One, it's highly uncomfortable for your neck and back to sit up in bed for prolonged periods of time balancing a cup of tea and your laptop on your legs.
Two, it'll disrupt with your sleep, so when it comes to bedtime, you'll feel wide awake as your brain now associates bed with work. SAD FACE.
Try to set up a workspace; we use a spare room which we dedicate for work (and to store coats). The living room is for relaxing and playing games. The bedroom is for sleeping.
If you're not lucky enough to have a spare room, then find a suitable space in your home that you can designate for work. It could be the kitchen table, or set up a small table in the living room. Even a desk in your bedroom would be suitable. As long as that space is a designated work area, then it'll help you stay productive and motivated.
Don't feel like it has to be a gloomy place either, place some cute items around you to help lighten your mood. Plants are nice. Plushies are good. Pikachu's are best.
I have a Pikachu on my desk which helps me stay motivated; I mean, how can you not be motivated when this face is staring at you...
5. LEAVE DISTRACTIONS IN ANOTHER ROOM
That leads me to my final point, it is ridiculously easy to become distracted whilst working from home. Now I'm not talking about Pikachu here, I'm talking about your phone!
So my best advice is to put your phone on silent, or "do not disturb". It's too much of a distraction. Deciding on what work from home meme to post on Instagram is too tempting when you're actually supposed to be working.
If you're still distracted, then leave it in another room. Those memes can wait.
I want to feature this in a future post, but stay active. Just because you can't leave the house doesn't mean you can't get some exercise.
Not only will it be good for your body, but also your mind. Start the day with a short workout and your mental health will thank you.
The Nintendo Switch has a few amazing games which will get you moving, without leaving the house.
I regularly use Fitness Boxing & Ring Fit Adventure.
Fitness Boxing is a great way to get in shape whilst having fun. With a customisable workout and popular songs, it doesn't feel like exercise at all.
Ring Fit Adventure is truly amazing. You can play through a truly Nintendo magic story, create custom workouts, or play mini games.
Ring fit Adventure has so much to offer, I'd recommend it to everyone!
So that's it. I hope my tips for working from home have been helpful.
Stay safe and remember to wash those hands!