Are you struggling to get work done during quarantine? You're not the only one!
For those of us who have been working from home full-time for a while now, things may not have changed too much — at least on the surface. Personally, I've felt like I've been in quarantine for approximately 472 days.
Over exaggeration? Maybe. But, I know that I'm not the only one finding the coronavirus lockdown difficult.
My news feed is riddled with memes about quarantine and how hard people are finding it to get work done and homeschool their kids during quarantine. Though I don't have any kids to homeschool and I've worked from home full-time for over almost two years, I'm still feeling it.
Like I said, not a lot has changed for me in terms of my day-to-day. Yet, it feels different. That's probably got a lot to do with the fact that I can't just pack up my laptop and head to a coffee shop when I need a change of scenery. Essentially, just knowing the limitations are in place makes working from home feel constricted.
For those not used to it, making the transition to working from home or simply being home long-term in general, can be challenging especially in times like these. It can definitely be a struggle to find the right routine and staying motivated.
If you've been finding it difficult to be productive, or just feel overwhelmed, this post is for you. Keep reading for some useful tips to put you in the right mindset for getting work done during quarantine.
6 Tips for Getting More Work Done in Quarantine
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Get Started Early
I don't know about you, but when I start my workday late I feel like I wasted a good chunk of my day. Getting started early can have a big impact on the rest of your day. A look into the habits of many highly successful people such as Rachel Hollis have revealed that getting up early positively impacts their day.
The earlier you start your day, the better. Many productive people choose to get up between the hours of 5 and 6 to get ready for the day and perform their morning routine. Hal Elrod actually talks about this in his book, The Miracle Morning.
Interested in starting this habit? Try going to bed earlier and setting your alarm for an hour earlier than normal. Each day, set the alarm a little bit earlier until you reach your desired start time.
Tip: When you wake up, take the time to actually get ready for the day like you normally would. It will help you feel much more put together and make a big difference in your productivity.
Set a Daily Schedule
While it may be tempting to let a regular schedule go while working from home, it can be really easy to fall down the rabbit hole of procrastination. Even though you may not necessarily have to abide by standard office hours, having some discipline is key.
At the start or end of every workday, take ten minutes or so to plan your day. Schedule in time to complete any major projects or tasks that you need to accomplish. Don’t make the mistake of leaving high energy tasks for later in the day. Try to get the toughest tasks done first thing, and take care of your easier tasks later on. Knowing when you naturally begin to slow down will help you.
Everyone has different ideas for what their break may look like, but I highly recommend taking a walk. With the arrival of warmer weather, it's almost a no-brainer. Taking even a short, 15-minute walk can help you feel refreshed and reenergized.
Set Clear Boundaries With Your Family
If you live with family or even friends, setting clear boundaries is a must. Make sure they know when you're available and when not to disturb you. If both you and your roommate or partner are home at the same time, it can be helpful to sync your schedules. That way neither of you has to worry about disrupting a call or appearing in the background of an important Zoom meeting.
Be Selective About the Tasks You Take On
Since you're spending more time at home, it can be tempting to want to take on some new projects. I'm guilty of this, for sure. In the last month or so I've taken on the task of moving web hosts and redesigning both my business website and blog. I'm also trying to keep up with a regular blog posting schedule and social media along with client work.
It's been overwhelming, to say the least! I finally had to be honest with myself about why I was feeling overwhelmed. Though I wish I could do successfully tackle all these projects at once, it was a good reminder to slow down and focus on one thing at a time.
I recommend that you do the same. Whether you're looking for a new hobby or researching the benefits of an MBA, be selective about the tasks you delve into. The last thing you want to do is invest money into something only to discover you don't have the time or brainpower to devote to it.
While working from home and attempting to get work done during quarantine, it can be incredibly easy to get distracted. The best way to stay on task is to eliminate as many distractions as possible. For a lot of people, those distractions tend to deal with surfing the web or scrolling through social media. There are two easy ways to ensure you don’t end up wasting time online shopping or watching Instagram stories.
1. Keep your cell phone in another room. This may not be an option for everyone, especially if you're expected to be available by phone. However, it's a great way to limit distractions from social media, texting, and apps. If you need to have your phone on hand for work, consider putting it out of reach in the same room. You’ll be less tempted to reach for your phone if it’s not right next to you.
2. Add a productivity app to your browser. A Chrome extension like StayFocused can help you stay on task. It’s free to download and easy to add to your browser buttons. To use it, you just set up a list of approved websites and set the timer. While it’s in progress, you can only access the preapproved websites.
Have A Definitive Deadline Time
One of the biggest problems people face when working from home is working long hours and late into the night. Without the physical act of clocking out and heading home for the day, it can be difficult to call it quits. Give yourself a deadline to finish work and stick to it. When you're done working, shut down your computer and close your office door to signal your brain that you're done for the day.
Let's do a quick recap of the above tips for getting work done during quarantine:
- Don't wait until late in the day to get started on work
- Set a daily schedule so you can stay on task
- Make family members aware of your schedule, especially important phone calls and video meetings
- Don't try to take on too much at once. Remember, one thing at a time.
- Minimize distractions as much as possible
- Have a designated quitting time each day — and stick to it!
There will be days you feel super productive and like you're killing it at working from home. Then there are days where nothing goes right and you can't wait to guzzle a glass (or bottle) of wine. That’s okay!
Figuring out a routine and systems that work for you can be a trial and error thing. You might make mistakes or feel disorganized, but eventually, it will all click together. More importantly, the quarantine isn't going to last forever. We're all going to come out on the other side with a deeper appreciation for normalcy.