While covid-19 is keeping us cooped up at home, that work-life balance we all crave seems to be slowly-steadily disappearing. As these blurred lines of quarantine tempt us to fall into the trap of lethargy, knowing how to function at our optimum productive level is of utmost importance.
Here are seven ways to help you beat the lethargy and be your most productive self while working from home:
1. Stay consistent with your normal working hours
Freedom remains free only when practiced with responsibility. The long period of complete lockdown might momentarily give us the illusion of the temporary absence of time, but that isn’t true. Even though everything around us has come to a standstill, our work and home lives are still moving forward. So, it is important to plan out your day in accordance with your normal working hours even though you’re at home.
“You must also maintain a healthy sleep-wake cycle and start each day with a gratitude practice and list out a few things for which you’re grateful,” suggests Dr Bhavna Barmi, a renowned Delhi-based psychologist.
Even with the temporary absence of working from your office, stay conscious about the ways you spend your time.
2. Choose a comfortable space to work, but don’t get too comfortable
Spaces make us conscious of the way we function in it. Even though now we’re suddenly functioning as professionals in our homes, we must create separate productivity-inducing spaces for ourselves.
“Create a working space in your home and make sure you spend your time there,” says Dr Barmi. Of course, you might be tempted to work on your bed, but you mustn’t! That extra comfort might just put you to sleep during working hours.
3. Declutter your workspace for that home office ambience
Before you start your work, make sure you declutter and clean your workspace. Closely inspect each item that is placed on your work-desk and if any item doesn’t resonate a sense of productivity within you, push it away.
You could even go the extra mile by putting up visual images and quotes that offer mental cues of leveling up at work. All in all, bring your office home.
4. Oh, and while you are it–ditch the pyjamas!
Just like your office space, your clothes function as mental cues to help you get into work mode. Even though it might seem odd at first, “you must get dressed appropriately for office, even while you are working from home,” shares Dr Barmi.
Staying in your work clothes will consistently help your mind be conscious of the fact you’re working. Also, attending that video call in your pyjamas is embarrassing to say the least! Even though no one’s looking, your mind still knows.
So while you’re acing your acting skills while pretending that your home temporarily looks like your office, remember to dress the part too!
5. Stay in touch with your colleagues and work pals
One of the biggest challenges that social distancing poses is that of communication. Since we aren’t sharing the same workspace, the lack of physical proximity hinders the process of efficient communication needed to work.
It’s time to use technology for the purpose it was created. Now that your colleagues aren’t sitting right next to you, stay connected using video chat apps. Make sure you keep your phone close to you and ensure that it isn’t in silent mode. Check your email regularly so you can act with alertness and each task is completed on time.
6. Set boundaries with the people at home
Now that you’re working from home, the blurring lines between work and home might be confusing for your family members. Your mother or partner might randomly ask you to do a household chore or just pipe in for chit-chat.
Hence, it is important to have a healthy conversation about it and create boundaries. “Talk to your family members and set expectations about your work from home and availability,” suggests Dr Barmi. Having this healthy conversation shall make your family conscious of the way you will function temporarily.
7. Remember to take your chai breaks!
While you make conscious efforts of maintaining accountability for your work, it’s important to take accountability for a breather too! Remaining isolated at home while you stare at your screen can stress you out and drop your productivity levels.
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“Take appropriate breaks to allow some relaxation,” says Dr Barmi. Whenever you feel yourself burning out a little, actively “ensure break time and after work-hours are used for self-care activities or spending quality time with family,” she adds.
So set up that 10-minute timer and practice yoga, deep breathing, or just have a snack or coffee. Taking breaks is as important as getting work done.