The pandemic has caused us to practice new norms such as self-quarantine and social distancing. And along with these implementations is the fact that we have to do the majority of our activities at home.
Instead of going to the workplace or school every day, we now have to do our jobs or studies at home. But because our homes are meant for rest, breaks, and leisure, how can we be as productive as if we are at the office or classroom?
Here are 5 tips on how to make pandemic productive.
Set a Schedule and Stick to It
Just because you are wearing pajamas and your dog is by your side doesn’t mean that you can ditch your usual day-to-day routine. One of the best things to boost your productivity at home is by simply sticking to a consistent schedule.
What makes working or studying at home much more difficult is because there are so many distractions around us. And not to mention, it’s easy to ignore a task if you don’t feel like you’re limited with time. Try your best to be your own supervisor at home and make sure that you are doing what you have to do at that specific time.
On a Sunday night or when you’re about to go to sleep, list all the things that you need to get accomplished for the next day. List them in such a way that the most important is at the top. Some people are more productive in the morning, so maybe you can start your morning busy and then you can use the time later in the day for not-so urgent tasks. But hey, if you think you work better at 10 am or 10 pm, work your schedule around these times instead.
It will also be less likely for you to procrastinate or ignore a task if you set a schedule. Just act as if you are truly going to work and that you don’t want to run late. You might not need to beat the clock and avoid the traffic, but that doesn’t mean that you can spend a huge amount of your time lounging. Some people find themselves more inspired to work or study if they shower and dress as if they’re going out. You might even enjoy your Zoom calls if you dress nicely…even with a pajama on the bottom, wink.
Stay Inspired and Choose a Specific Work Area
Similar to making a schedule and choosing a timeframe to be productive, the environment also plays a significant role when it comes to productivity at home. Our homes are meant to be cozy, so it’s tempting to avoid the tasks and just cram later on. However, this isn’t a good practice for work and studying.
You might think that lying on the couch with the laptop in your lap is enough since you are technically working. But you’re on the couch close to the TV and maybe your phone. Next time, you will see yourself standing up and going to the kitchen for a snack break that will take you hours. And before you know it, you already feel tired to work on your assignment or duty.
Choose a place in your home that will prevent you from getting distracted. Personally, working outside in the shed in my backyard makes me feel more inspired and productive. I’ve set up an outdoor office, decorated “my view” with plants and some landscape lighting like the ones here, and I asked family to never disturb me from 1 pm to 7 pm.
Having a dedicated spot that compels me to work without other distractions makes working enjoyable but also productive. I work outside because we don’t have a spare room to turn into an office, and the bedroom just makes me want to sleep. I also enjoy the fresh air in the backyard, and working there doesn’t make me feel as “caged,” especially in the pandemic.
Segregate Tasks and Don’t Put Too Much on Your Plate
Another common work-at-home productivity killer is when you put too many tasks on your plate. Besides making a schedule, it’s important that you also segregate your tasks. If it’s possible, cut a difficult job into two or three smaller doable tasks. Choose the most difficult one first, and then you can do the easier tasks later on.
Some duties are doable even on “autopilot” mode, so do them during the time of the day where you know you’ll feel lazier. For example, reading emails is easier and can be done while you do other things (e.g., cooking.) You are making the most out of your time when you multitask compared to having to do these easy tasks alongside the difficult ones.
You’ll also find yourself doing things at a better standard because you aren’t pressured with the lack of time. After all, doing tasks half-heartedly will just lead you to redo them later on and lose the patience to be productive.
Some tasks don’t require your full concentration, while others do. Some tasks will also take a longer time to do, so you might have to tweak your schedule so they’ll get more time. Therefore, you don’t need to equally distribute your time for the whole day for each task.
Have Breaks and Rest When Needed
Tip number four is usually overlooked because it seems like the opposite of what we’re trying to achieve. However, productivity in the pandemic also requires you to be well-rested physically and mentally. Overworking never leads to productivity, and you’ll just wind up being uninspired to perform. Therefore, you also have to allocate breaks and make sure you are well-rested each day.
Schedule breaks throughout the day. For example, you can work for 50 minutes and then spend 10 minutes relaxing. Some people can work for one hour or 2 hours straight, but you might end up not working as efficiently during the last few minutes. On the other hand, if you have breaks scattered throughout your work schedule, you will be reenergized to perform better in the next hour or 50 minutes.
At the same time, do not rob yourself of good night’s sleep. Make sure that you are getting at least 7 to 9 hours of sleep every night. You might think that checking your phone in bed is not affecting your sleep routine, but it is. Allocate an hour to just lie in bed and maybe listen to white noise. And of course, it’s also vital that you always stick to a consistent sleep routine.
Be Proud and Forgiving to Yourself
Lastly, stay motivated by rewarding yourself after a productive day. It can be an extra time to surf the web or an added budget to indulge in your cravings. And of course, it’s important that you’re also proud of yourself after executing the tasks at hand.
But even if you did make some shortcomings, do not be too harsh on yourself because there’s always next time.
The pandemic is truly one of the most challenging times worldwide. So in order to make the most of our time while at home, it’s essential that we stay productive. It can be difficult to pull off, but it isn’t impossible.
Make sure to practice these 5 tips and stay safe at home.