The COVID-19 pandemic has forced millions of Americans to work from home. For some, it may be unchartered waters. Fortunately, there are simple changes you can make to help you work efficiently, and possibly be more productive than ever, if you’re self-isolating in your home office. Whether you are a seasoned remote worker or doing it for the first time, here are some tips to follow.
- Get Dressed for Work Every Day
We hate to break it to you, but there’s something psychological about physically getting up and getting dressed for work. If you’re having a hard time making the transition into remote work, start your day off as if you’re going into the office. Fix your hair, iron your clothes, and put shoes on.
- Prioritize Your Tasks
At the beginning of every day, sit down at your desk and make a list of what needs to be done. Action items that can’t be delayed until another day should always come first. Mark them off as you go through the day, and the mental reward will help you feel accomplished, even though you’ve been stuck in the house the whole time.
- Use a Block Schedule
Time management comes naturally for some people. But working from home may cause the entire day to blur together. Set aside a time on your schedule to do things like check email, return phone calls, or conduct teleconferences. That way, the day won’t get away from you before you have a chance to take care of prioritized tasks.
- Take Planned Breaks
One of the hardest parts about working from home is the tendency that some of us have to work straight through, without taking any breaks. If possible, set a timer to stand up, stretch, and give your eyes a break from the computer screen every so often. When you do, you might actually find that your working time is more productive.
- Move to Different Rooms
Depending on your setup and who else lives in your home, try to rotate to other rooms when possible. Break up your day by moving around from your home office to your bedroom, the living room, or the dining area. Or even better, go outside if you have a balcony or a patio. You’ll be able to get some sunlight and fresh air, which are good for both body and mind.
- Take a Walk at the End of the Day
When you live and work in the same space day after day, it can wear you out mentally, emotionally, and physically. Plan a time at the end of the day to go outside and get fresh air. In most places, it’s still legal to get in exercise such as walking around your neighborhood, as long as you maintain a minimum social distance from others.