Now, I’m not really working from home in the same sense as many people are. I have a few online shifts coming up next week, but I don’t have regular shifts, so it definitely isn’t the same as navigating a full-time job! That said, I still have a few tips and tricks for staying productive at home, and getting everything done.
First off, make a to-do list. Include as much as you want! You might want to include things like “shower” and “have breakfast”, or you may want to summarise this as “get ready”, or you might want to keep it to exclusively work chores. That’s fine, as long as it works best for you. I find it easiest to break down bigger tasks so I can see my progress, and to make things more achievable, but that’s just me.
Next, prioritise your to-do list. This might be by re-ordering it, or by colour coding, or by putting ! or !!! next to tasks to signify their importance. One useful way of prioritising tasks I’ve seen is to sort them into a 4×4 grid. Top left square: important and urgent. Top right: important, not urgent. Bottom left: not important, urgent. Bottom right: not important, not urgent. Now you have an idea of which tasks need to be done first, based on your prioritising.
Find a space to do your work. Ideally, this is a desk, but not everybody has a desk at home. You could use a dining table! I saw a video clip demonstrating how to make dining tables more comfortable to work at (they’re a different height to desks usually). Tips include: raise your laptop (maybe stack books and put it on top), support your back with cushions, and get a USB keyboard. The keyboard tip is so that when you raise your laptop to eye level, you don’t have to reach up to type. This hopefully makes it more like the experience of sitting at a desk looking at a PC monitor.
Figure out what order of tasks works best for you. You prefer to break yourself in gently? You like to throw yourself in to a big task right away? You do you!
Take breaks! Ideally, you schedule these. Either set a time at which you’ll take a break, or decide to take a break after finishing a certain task on your list. Make sure you actually take a break during these times. Try to get away from your work space, get a cup of tea, eat, reply to your mum’s text.
Try to be flexible with yourself. Working from home is very different to working in an office or similar environment. It’s OK if you don’t finish a task you planned to. It’s OK if you’re struggling to stay focused. If you beat yourself up about little slipups, you’ll find it harder to stay positive and in the right mindset for working.
Stay connected with your colleagues, or people in a similar field. Chatting to other people in a similar position about how you’re coping can be really useful. They might have some tips specific to your work that could be really useful! They might be able to offer to help you out if you’re struggling with a specific task! Or, they can just be there to listen and support you. Social distancing doesn’t mean you can’t reach out virtually to others.
The final one is get in the mindset for work. This means different things to different people. It could be about having a designated work space, or having a cup of coffee by your computer. It could be putting smart clothes on, or having your watch on. Whatever it is to help you feel prepared for a day of work, do it! Even if it takes a little while to get yourself ready, it’s worth taking that time to make sure you’re in the right headspace.