As we’re all living in this strange uncertain time, I wanted to find a way to produce mindful content without contributing to the fear many are already feeling. The way I see it, you already know what to do. Let’s focus on being kind and building each other up. Let’s be the stability that we crave so much.
So, on that note, I’d like to share my tips for working at home. Hopefully you’ll find that some of these ideas are less run of the mill than others you might have already seen.
Identify the timeframe in which you’re most motivated.
A common tip is to start your work earlier in order to get ahead and while I don’t think you can go wrong with this, I know I’d likely be sleeping otherwise. Personally, I don’t and never have worked particularly well in the mornings. I’m a definite night owl and enjoy the quiet peaceful hours that come when you feel as if you’re the only person awake. This might be a strange time, from midnight onwards, but I’d prefer to stay up later rather than start at an ungodly hour. In the mornings I’m still trying to focus and clear my brain fog- it’s just not the time to attempt to clear myself of tasks.
Unless you stick to a schedule, aim to plan out your work day in hourly chunks.
I started online school a week ago and my initial plan was to break my day down into hourly chunks so I could dedicate time to school work, blogging and more. I won’t be able to follow this as my school has said we’re to complete work following the timetabled schedule we have for this term, but if you don’t have the same set-up, I’d highly recommend it!
Don’t wither away extra time you’re left with after completing a task- hop straight into something else of your choice.
When it comes down to it, all time is useful time. Whether you’ve got ten minutes or an hour, there’s always tasks that you can make progress on. For me, that’s writing, replying to comments or messages, making calls, doing some work around the house or making headway on assignments. You can work and still have time to play- always remember this. It’s never been about working hard, just working smart. Know where you want to focus your attention and dedicate yourself without allowing distractions to get in the way.
Listen to a playlist- I love indie and folk music- or a podcast episode.
Or, working in silence is always an option too. I find that music and podcasts are nice to listen to if the task I’m working on requires little thought, like taking notes or is something I’m used to. Playlists full of calming songs and helpful podcast episodes are little ways to be productive and learn something new, which we should all be trying to do. While we have this time in isolation, we can choose to put our best foot forward and build up our skill set!
Share your to-do list and goals for the day or week with another person so you’re more likely to commit to them.
It’s just like sharing your to do’s on Instagram stories. Once it’s up and out there, you’ll have a sense of commitment and will want to follow through as best you can. Share your tasks for the day with your parents, partner, sibling or friend. Maybe they’ll share theirs too and you can be each other’s support! This is also really helpful if you’re on a deadline or particularly forgetful.
Psychology says.. you’ll almost always overestimate how much you can do in a day, so instead of writing out a whole page of pending tasks, write your to do’s on a post it note. On a seperate post it note, list the extra tasks you want to do if you have the time. This way, even if you come up short of your goal, you’ll still feel accomplished.
There’s nothing I love more than a get sh*t done day, which is why I tend to put more on my list rather then less! Anyone would think this is the way to go. It’s just not always realistic. You could have a shorter list with bigger, more time consuming tasks mixed in or a long list with all of everything. Do yourself a favour and write out a manageable amount- anything necessary, with deadlines, that you’ve been putting off too long or that takes less than ten minutes to complete. See how you do! At the end of the day, remember to go easy on yourself. These are not the easiest days, so it’s perfectly understandable if you’d rather just sit around! I’ve been doing some of that myself.
Set up a google calendar and sync your schedules with a friend.
This is one of my favourite tips.. it may or may not be inspired by fifty shades of grey, but it really is genius. Try and find a good friend who has the same turn in dates as you, then work together to complete all necessary work. Google calendar can also be set up to send you reminders at the times you choose, so you’ll always be on top of things.
Focus on a task that keeps you in motion and lets you maintain a rhythm.
It’s exactly like Newton’s law of motion- what is already moving will continue to do so. If you’re given a task when you’re already busy, contrary to what you’d think, you’re more likely to get it done. It becomes just another task when you’re on a productive roll. Getting started is always the hardest part. It will never seem like the perfect time but mindset matters. Don’t let yourself be interrupted or you’ll lose your ‘time to work’ state of mind. We’ve all been there before- we’ve settled down to work and the ideas are flowing, then the phone rings or it’s time for dinner.
Use your weekends only to recuperate or you’ll feel burned out in the upcoming week. It’s best to take both days for yourself, but at a minimum, rest for a day.
I felt slightly guilty for resting this weekend as I didn’t believe I’d gotten enough done and still have assignments pending, despite being so very tired. I just had to remind myself that work isn’t the only thing that contributes to feeling worn out. Simply going through the motions and showing up can, and will, over time wear you out. I recently had a case of burnout. I felt absolutely frazzled and like I didn’t want to take a single thing on anymore. I couldn’t approach situations or my tasks head on. Sometimes you just don’t want to be consumed by what ultimately isn’t important.
Take a berocca upon waking up.
Ah, Berocca. Kind of like an orange juice flavoured soft drink, but with all number of vitamins and minerals to re-energise and revitalise. Just what I need every single morning. My goal lately has been to replace my morning coffee with water and Berocca instead. I’m pleased to say I’ve made the swap a few times already!
Create your unique work space- where do you feel most comfortable?
While this is directly spoken against, I, funnily enough, feel my best working from bed. I guess this is what I meant by investing in your bedding- you want it so comfortable you’re happy to work from there! By some miracle, I do manage to focus. My bedroom is light and airy, free of distractions and noise. I do laptop work majority of the time so don’t absolutely require a desk, but I have one for tasks that require more time and a proper set up. This is usually maths problems. It’s not comfortable looking from your laptop screen to a workbook, copying down problems, then back again! I also like to sit at my desk when doing assignments.
My favourite part about working from bed is the view I have put my window. Lots of greenery, palm trees and a stunning cityscape view. I even pretend I’m somewhere else every now and then!
Set a time that you break for breakfast and lunch each day.
Again, because I follow my timetabled school schedule for this term, I break at the same times each day. First for morning tea at ten forty to eleven am, then for lunch at one twenty five to two pm. I am very much a person who thrives on routine and order, so while I won’t admit it, having one routine I’m used to stay the same is comforting. I like to submit any work I’ve just completed that lesson, sign off temporarily, stretch for a few minutes and then grab a snack!
Some of my favourites are crackers/celery sticks with cream cheese for morning tea and kebab and capsicum skewers with halloumi cheese for lunch. It all depends on the day really!
Surround yourself with plants and greenery.
My bathroom is the only real place I have greenery at the moment and even then it’s fake ikea plants! I have a cute little window box and a succulent pot plant.
I know that’s why forests and nature reserves are my happy places though. It’s why I like going for walks so much. Beautiful light filters through the trees and for the time being, you can let go of pretty much anything. There is just an undeniable sense of being relaxed. It’s all easygoing.
Open a window or your blinds and let the outdoors in.
You already know why I like this so much! It’s a great way to let the outdoors in and remind yourself that there’s still plenty out there, even if we can’t be amongst it just yet. All in good time. We will make it.
Keep your favourite drink within reach.
There are few things I like more than the sound of clinking iced cubes because it usually means it’s time for my morning coffee. I’ve been harbouring this slight addiction for at least a year now, but who can blame me? It’s just so good!
When I’m not drinking iced coffee, lemon water does the trick too. Simple and refreshing. Can’t beat that.