The Coronavirus COVID-19 outbreak has definitely gotten more serious than I think a lot of us initially expected. There are so many articles out there and new information circulating hourly. Mayor DeBlasio has officially closed schools until April 20th. NBA season is suspended. Broadway has gone dark. Major production companies have paused all upcoming show and movie filmings. Restaurants and gyms are starting to close for the rest of March. Even my upcoming work trip to Texas got cancelled. Toilet paper is sold out just about everywhere and I still cannot understand why..
Fact #1: Majority of us will be working from home for the foreseeable future until its deemed safe to commute and go back to work.
Fact #2: Most of us will lose our minds and have crazy cabin fever from being quarantined in our homes.
I’m going on my second week of working from home and I am doing my best to not let myself go crazy! Don’t judge me but I even brought my work monitor home with me on Friday, LOL. I am so used to working with two screens, that I know that I would not be able to survive however long two screens! I basically replicated my office desk set-up at home to help keep me focused and productive.
Until the situation improves, majority of us are quarantined and working from home. Answering emails and taking meetings via phone calls or video chats until its safe to be in large crowds and commute again. Not everyone may enjoy working from home but if you are a part of this crew, welcome! We may all go crazy by the end of this but we will get through this!
Some people mention that they get distracted easily or find it hard to focus while working remotely. Here are some tips on how to stay productive while working from home:
STICK TO YOUR NORMAL ROUTINE
Working from home might may tempt to start your day more leisurely – scrolling on social media and getting out of bed a little later. You need to take advantage of when your mind and body are most productive. Once that alarm goes off, get out of bed! Wake up and get ready for the day as if you were getting ready to go into the office. Do you skincare routine and maybe even add in a 5-10 min mask. Make your smoothie, celery juice or coffee. Write in your journal or meditate. Do what you normally do Monday – Friday before leaving your home and commuting to work.
CREATE A TO-DO LIST
Working on your couch or in your bed feels a lot different than working at your desk. Its a more comfortable setting and also gives you a good view of your laundry that is overflowing. Its super tempting to want to focus on other home related chores but at the end of the day, emails still need to be answered and your job has to get done. In order to stay on task and track your productivity, create a to-do list. I typically write a new to-do list daily. I cross off what I accomplished that day and add what didn’t get done to the list for the next day. This helps me manage both my and my assistant’s workload and helps keep my boss up to speed.
NO SCREEN TIME
Resist the urge to have Netflix, Hulu or any streaming service on in the background. It’s very tempting, especially if you are working at home alone and the only thoughts you hear are your own. However, if you need to stay focused, limit any possible distractions. Instead of TV, I usually have music on in the background. I’ll either have my headphones in or my speaker on. Music is less distracting for me personally and keeps me focused throughout the day!
ROTATE WHERE YOU WORK
When working from home, sometimes you need a change of scenery. You’ll also need a break from your relatives or significant other, who may be working from home as well, before you guys snap and kill each other. Kidding but not kidding. You will need a break from each other!
When you feel your energy running low, get up and change where you are sitting. Move from the bedroom to the living room or to the dining room table. If you have to move a few times a day, that is totally fine. Do what you need to do to stay productive.
Whenever I work from home, I have a bad tendency of working 8-10 hours straight which is not good and can definitely lead to burn out. Taking breaks can help with productivity! Its okay to step away from your computer screen for a bit. Go outside for your lunch break or take a quick walk around your block. Especially with how warm the weather in NYC has been lately, you don’t want to miss out on some sunshine and fresh air.
I made a few appointments this week that give me a chance to step out almost each day. They are also walking distance which helps me avoid commuting via public transportation.
KNOW WHEN TO PUT WORK AWAY
I have been very guilty of this in the past but have gotten better! When you are done working for the day, put away your laptop, notebook and other work items. You will feel tempted to keep going and answer those last few emails but do yourself a favor and don’t. If you normally leave work at 6 or 6:30, close that laptop at the same time. Put everything work related out of sight and enjoy your evening. Trust me, those emails will still be there tomorrow.
Stay safe, stay productive and stay healthy!