June 15, 2020
Working from home can be a blessing or a curse. It depends on the type of person one is and if they are capable of setting a schedule for themselves, even in the comfort of their own home. However, whether you enjoy working from home or not, there comes a time for everyone where the steam wears off and productivity is slim to none. So, what are some ways to be productive when it feels like there is no coming back?
It is normal to struggle with time management. Especially during quarantine and having our daily schedule turned into something that was unexpected. Wearing those comfy PJs all day makes you human during all of this. Who wouldn’t want to work in comfort? We all do. However, it can drag on your days and make it more difficult to be productive.
There are handfuls of tips and tricks that swarm the Internet just from typing “productivity tips” into the Google search engine bar. I spent some time looking through different types of articles and YouTube videos and wanted to share some of the top effective tips I came across. I decided to look into this due to personal struggles to redefine my daily routine. Due to the changes that came from COVID-19, I wanted to find ways that would help procrastinating behaviors. Working from home is a more relaxed environment where the day is managed by yourself. Being your own supervisor can be challenging when it’s time to put the phone away or to close out those miscellaneous tabs scrolling through Pinterest or Twitter.
Here are the top five tips on how to be productive when working from home. I have tested them out and I noticed that these tips were most helpful for me to fight procrastination.
When you are working, be sure to keep your area clean. It goes deeper than sitting at a neat and clean table or desk, but be sure that your desktop is also clean. I wasn’t too sure how much of an impact that having a clean desktop would make, but after watching ways to organize and change settings on my laptop, it got easier. Little distractions such as splattered folders and images that swarm over the screen can be mentally draining and overwhelming as we go to sit down and get work done. It gives your mind a change of scenery as well when you reorganize your desktop and change the background. Making small changes to the day can help redefine a day-to-day schedule that will help establish a routine to follow.
Try to avoid that dreadful cabin fever. Since you have been spending hours of your day sitting in your house while staring at a screen, it is important for your physical being to try and get outside as much as you can. This will help lower your stress as well as relax and clear your mind. Nature has a naturally soothing effect that will help to try and keep you calm, cool and collected. If you see it’s a sunny day out, get some vitamin D. We already need it to function properly, and it will help you be able to refocus once you come in to get back to the work grind. Schedule out 10-15 minute breaks throughout your day and go for a walk, stand or sit outside and try to take in the nature around you. While you are taking this break try to avoid using any devices. This will help with descrambling your brain and all those thoughts and ideas running constantly by creating this divide for 10-15 minutes throughout your day.
The night before a busy day where you will need to do more work than normal, write it out in a journal or on your phone. I came across this on a YouTube video done by julia k crist. She mentions this tip at 2:02 and explains her reasoning until 2:25. The gist of why she says this is helpful is because it helps calm your mind before you get ready to go to bed. Anxiety and worry can cloud our minds before bed and can make it difficult to want to even end the day when constant lists of what you need to do fill your mind. Write it out. Make a to-do list. May seem simple, but it helps organize your thoughts. When you feel organized in your head, then that will help you trickle it out into your work environment and make it easier to be productive.
Control your phone use. Get rid of your phone if you don’t need it for part of the day where you need to get work done. This tip is also from the YouTube video I mentioned in tip number 3. Having your phone next to you can make it tempting to want to scroll through social media after only doing a few minutes of hard work. This can set you behind schedule easily due to the distraction of your phone and texting, Snapchatting or checking Instagram by the minute on a constant cycle of repeat. Julia Crist recommends tossing the phone aside and placing it somewhere across the room or in another part of your house. This then makes it more difficult for your mind to wonder and be curious about what’s happening on your socials. When your phone is out of reaching distance, this makes it a whole physical movement. You need to get up and walk to another room all just to check your phone. This helps cut back on unnecessary screen time and will help your mental health on how to stay calm and productive.
Set a timer. My last tip is one that I have been using for years now and learned it from my mom. It can be helpful to either set a timer for only 15-20 minutes and then take short breaks. I notice that I am more productive when I have smaller increments of time to do something in. It causes you to use all of your focus on one thing rather than multitasking. Working on small projects piece by piece for 20 minutes at a time makes it easier when you have a day that will be filled with more work than usual, or even work in general. This tip also helps find a schedule for you to follow. It is also important when you are doing this you work from the same area. Working in the same area constantly psychologically tells your mind where you sit to get work accomplished. Finding your work spot helps everything come together constantly”and creates a more productive outlook on your day.
I hope you are able to use some, or even all of the tips I mentioned above to help curve those unproductive habits.
Jaclyn Krizanic is a senior studying Professional Writing and minoring in Graphic Design. Jaclyn plans to apply her knowledge and skill sets she has gained from her major into her current, future and professional work. Jaclyn loves to write poetry and inspires to publish a book of poems and short stories upon her graduation.