I’ll be honest. As someone who works from home most of the year between filming, I feel strangely validated by all the posts from people who are newly trying to figure out how to stay productive and motivated while working from home.
Working from home is HARD! It’s desirable and ideal for some, but that does not mean it is easy. For starters, the fridge, your couch, Netflix, and the bed are RIGHT THERE! It’s as if they’re a bad friend saying “you’re done right? Come hang out!”.
Secondly, even if you don’t prefer your co-workers, at least they serve as another pair of eyes to keep you accountable to not being on Instagram all day! So yes, while we can technically wear our PJ’s for a few days straight (not admitting to anything), there are major drawbacks that we are all facing right now.
Here are my tips, which I have not mastered, but have helped me. I try to implement these daily.
1. Set and keep routines and schedules
If you’re like me, you might have thought at first that you could just work whenever you felt like it… but unless you’re obsessed with your job, there’s no such thing as “feeling like working” for very long when you are home.
The best thing you can do is to make a schedule and build routines to support it.
2. Be kind to yourself
While it is best to stick to the schedule daily, you will likely have hard days. Sometimes I feel like I have to beg myself to get to work. And it’s not just because of quarantine. I had these days beforehand, too.
Through trial and error, I have found that the best thing I can do on those days is to ask myself what I actually feel like doing, and then bargain with myself. For example, if I really just feel like watching an episode of my favorite show, I let myself watch an episode or two in order to feel like I did something “for myself”. Then, I just work later into the evening to make up for it. If your work allows you this flexibility, its worth a try. We all need a little motivation from time to time, especially under these circumstances.
3. Shower and get dressed as if you’re going out
I have a closet full of nice clothes, but at first I thought they would go to waste if I wore them to work from home. But in reality, my clothes aren’t just for other people to see, they also make me feel good and productive. Try it, I really doubt you’ll regret it unless you put on your stiffest jeans.
And as for showering making the list… don’t pretend like you haven’t had to remind yourself to shower at least once during quarantine!
4. Find your most productive space
If you don’t have a designated space in your home for work yet, this was the biggest game changer for us. Do you love the light coming from a certain window? Maybe it is worth it to rearrange some furniture to make that happen. Ask yourself where you feel the most productive, and plant yourself there. You might want to discuss this with your quarantine-mates and set a schedule for when you can have that space to yourself.
We built Beau a makeshift office in our livingroom since he can’t go to his office building right now.
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Welcome to my new office! Aka my living room, brought to you by #stayathome It’s been great getting to meet so many of you over zoom consultations! How have your weeks been? So far, I’ve cooked more, exercised less (oops) and had to cut my own hair… don’t look too closely. By the way, I’ll be continuing to offer free 30-minute financial consultations until we can all get back to work! Click the link in my bio or go to BeauWirick.com to schedule yours now!
5. Set goals and make task lists
Nope, not the same thing as setting a schedule and routines. If you have the type of job where each task isn’t necessarily laid out for you, it can be SO draining to come up with a task list on the spot. Instead, I like to set apart time on Friday to do a massive brain dump of everything I need to do for the following week, so that by the time Monday rolls around, I’m not just sitting there feeling unproductive because I don’t know where to start.
If you’re not currently working, this tip will also help you check off anything you have pending.
6. Calendars and planners really help
If you’re the “I don’t have to write it down because my boss will ask me for it in an email anyway” type, I feel you.
I’m like that too, but missing deadlines when you’re working from home is terrifyingly easy. I highly recommend figuring out what planning system actually works for you.
I go back and forth between loving a physical planner and a to-do-list app on my phone.
The physical planner is best for my day to day schedule, especially when I am working from home. It also helps me stay focused (aka off my phone) when that’s an issue… there’s a reason I’m a blogger, I can’t stay off Pinterest and Amazon!
Whereas the phone app is best for holding all of my different lists and projects as well as for when I am running around, so that I will always have my list on me.
- I also sometimes prefer notepads when I just want to take everything one day at a time. This is something worth trying during quarantine if you’re feeling a little overwhelmed. Here’s the notepad I’m currently using from Amazon.
- Now, as for task management apps, I am a die-hard ToDoist fan. I’ve been using this app for years. It is the ultimate all-in-one calendar and planner. You can organize using hashtags, labels, priorities, and projects with different tiers and due dates. And as if that weren’t enough, you can even create tasks straight from your email with attachments! Here’s a link for two months free to get you through quarantine! Thank me later.
7. Communicate your plan to the people you are living with
I talk in more detail about this in my post about boundaries worth setting with your quarantine-mates. It is so important for you to communicate your work hours with your quarantine-mates so they aren’t grinding a pound of coffee during your most important work call (true story, *cough* *cough* Beau…)
Tell your quarantine-mate(s) what your work hours are and what you need from them to support you during that time. If you live alone, this still applies for the people who call you. They too might need to know your work hours so that they don’t get offended by you not picking up even though “you’re home”.
It might take a while to find what works for your household, Beau and I have already had to make several adjustments to our original plans during our weekly household meetings.
8. Set the right tone
If you were waiting for the right time to invest in noise-cancelling headphones, now is definitely the time. Even if your quarantine-mates like the same level of ambient sound as you, chances are you will need a sense of privacy — even if it’s just to listen to your own music preferences.
Beau is on Zoom calls most of the day lately, and I quickly found that overhearing his phone calls zaps my productivity instantly – it might be the same for you and you might not even know it. Thankfully, the combination of my noise-cancelling headphones and a white-noise machine do the trick for us, and he can feel free to be as loud as he wants, while I either enjoy some white noise or my 2000s pop punk station on repeat.
Headphones are also productivity savers for doing work around house. If you’re an audiobook-while-you-work person, check out my top 8 audiobook recommendations.
9. Keep moving!
I know working out from home is not for everybody, but since we don’t have a choice, there’s no better time to try! After a few days, it will make you feel much better than just sitting around, I promise. If you need some incentive for working out, try working out with friends via video chat OR working out while watching your favorite show. Even just having an accountability buddy really helps, and it doesn’t have to be your quarantine-mate! It can be a friend or a family member that you send a quick text to. A simple “There. I did it. I worked out today. That means I can eat Oreos, right? Right.” might help to keep you on track.
I hope this list helps you!
What are your tricks for working from home?