10 Tips to Stay Sane, Productive and On-Task While Working From Home

By Debra D. Bass

These first few months of 2020 have made for a really long year. Now that a global pandemic has many of us working from home, social distancing and rationing our pantry supplies, it’s probably a good time to mention that the world has never been better equipped for a tragedy like this to unfold.

cat-desk.jpgCommunication and public safety have never been more integrated. We can’t argue that things are running smoothly around the world, but we can argue that things could be much worse.

And when it comes to being sequestered in our homes, well… the world is a few keystrokes away.

John Legend gave a free online concert from his home. Yoga studios have announced online, real-time classes with instructors and some yoga apps have waived all fees amids the coronavirus crisis. Museums are promoting free virtual tours and releasing new catalogs of images online to stimulate us. And video communications tools from Marco Polo (video text messages) to GoToMeeting (video conferences) are keeping us connected.

But despite all that working from home, if that’s not part of your normal working conditions will hold some challenges. This is especially true if you have little ones or even medium-sized ones at home. 

However, here are a few tips to help you prepare for your new normal.mommy-tantrum-(2).jpg

  1. Set the alarm (or two). Keep your routine and be thankful that you can make a home cooked breakfast in the time you usually reserved for a daily commute.

  2. Get dressed. No need to wear the same type of clothing that you would wear to an office, but ditch the pajamas or at the very least change out of the clothes you slept in. Prepare yourself to work with mental and physical cues that you are ready for business. 

  3. Create a work space. Even if it’s just a corner of the kitchen table or a chair on the patio. Having a designated space will be your visual and mental cue that you’re at work.

  4. Draft daily goals and objectives. What will you do today? Who will you communicate with? What will you accomplish? Write these down.

  5. Take breaks, but set a timer. At the office many of us don’t leave until a task is done which can spur us into action so that we can go home. If you’re already home, you have less urgency which means that tasks can migrate into your life well beyond your normal work hours. Create the same urgency by setting clear boundaries for work time.

  6. Adopt a soundtrack. Another cue can be auditory. Some people play white noise or smooth jazz to set the mood of a work environment. Select a certain type of music or playlist that you only use during work time.

  7. Have a walking meeting. Grab a notepad and pen, make your call, pop in your headphones and take a walk around the block. You’re social distancing and you’re moving.

  8. Stop for lunch. Almost everyone at an office has probably eaten lunch at their desks from time to dog-pets-wfm-(2).jpgtime, but don’t do that here. Part of setting boundaries includes not doing work on your breaks. This should spur you to accomplish your goals during work hours.

  9. Move. If things become monotonous, it’s probably a good time for a stretch break. Curate a playlist on YouTube of three to 10 minute movement breaks. Or download an app to customize short daily workouts. You can select anything from chair yoga to high intensity interval training, it doesn’t matter. Just get your blood moving, stimulate your mind and revive yourself before heading back to work. 

  10. Make tomorrows to-do list today. Leaving a physical work space has finality. You’ve left the building and mentally left work behind, but if it’s sitting at your kitchen table, you’ll be tempted to keep going. Don’t. Write your list for tomorrow as an end of workday practice and leave the office. 

If you are a veteran of working from home or a newbie and you’ve got tips, let us know. Have you adopted some tricks that we didn’t mention?


Posted: 3/18/2020 12:40:09 PM with 2 comments
Filed under: advice, covid-19, resources, social-distancing, tips, work-from-home, working-from-home

Aniyah Berger
Love this! Thank you for sharing!
12/2/2020 1:39:47 PM

Thanks for this worthy information.
4/7/2020 12:32:43 PM

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