The Coronavirus pandemic has brought most of the the world to a halt with offices closing and workers directed to work remotely at home.
For some couples, this is the first time sharing the “office” – be it a home-office nook or possibly the dining room table – with their spouse.
The added stress of needing to get work done in a new environment with the distraction of a loved one can be daunting.
Feel accomplished at the end of a productive work day by implementing these three simple steps before you start work.
Set Work Goals
Temptation to procrastinate rather than get work done triples when working from home with no colleagues or supervisors, especially if this is the first time working independently.
If you’re not careful, Reddit and Facebook’s short-term, dopamine-driven, feedback loops can crush not just your own productivity but also that of your at-home co-worker.
To avoid wasted hours, before getting out the laptop to commence your workday communicate with your partner about what work you need to do, including any urgent deadlines.
At the least, your partner won’t share that cat meme with you and break your concentration, even it they’re struggling to stay focused.
At best, you’ll both end up in that magic state of flow which Tim Urban describes as where you’re so blissfully immersed in the task that you lose track of time.
One major difference working from home is there are fewer natural breaks.
In the office your day is often punctuated by morning-tea breaks, lunch breaks and meetings.
If you don’t have children to distract your attention, your workday can seem almost too clear, which can be almost as debilitating.
We find the best way to stay focused on a task is to work for no more than 45 – 50 minutes in each hour.
This leaves you with 10 – 15 minutes break to grab a snack, have a water-cooler chat, or briefly satisfy your social media urges on a different device.
Note, the different device is important as it creates a physical tell that you’re off-course.
If you’ve got your phone in your hand – you’re not working.
Remember, you’ve got a teammate to call you out if you exceed your break time. Help each other out!
Plan a Reward
The hardest part about working from home is when work hours converge on leisure time.
It’s easy to slip into a depressed state if when 5pm strikes you haven’t completed – or even started – any of your tasks for the day.
Now you’re faced with the decision to keep working even when your most productive hours are behind you with your mood growing more sour by the minute. Or do you call it quits and cut your losses. Tomorrow is another day after all.
There’s no right or wrong answer to that conundrum but there is a trick to avoid it happening tomorrow.
Plan an something to do with your partner when the work is over. It might be simple as Netflix and chill but it can be a little more elaborate to reward yourself for smashing your goals for the day.
After several days of home-based isolation relaxing in front of the couch will become stale. Planning a fun at home date can be more rewarding and it can be as simple or elaborate as you like.
At the end of the day, remember it’s not the destination that’s important. But rather, it’s the journey you’re endeavoring on together.
Self-motivation comes easily for some than it does for others. Some days you will achieve your goals and it will feel awesome. On other days you won’t.
What’s important is the communication between you two as you try to conquer this unique challenge as a team.
About the Author: Mike is one half of Couple Travel the World. He and Nadia write about exceptional travel destinations and romantic things to do around the world.