Working From Home? Here's How To Be Productive And Stay Sane
Leigh Weingus •
As someone who prides myself on productivity and works from home on a regular basis, something about my current work from home situation feels ... different. And it makes sense: We're currently in the midst of a global pandemic, forcing many businesses and offices to close their doors. As for us? Thanks to suggested social distancing, we're confined to our homes (for the most part) until further notice.
While I work from home, the rest of my life doesn't typically happen at home. I go to the gym, I have a yoga studio I visit frequently, I meet friends for dinner all the time. As of the last three days, my entire life happens within the four walls of the one-bedroom apartment I share with my husband and five-month-old daughter.
I wasn't too concerned about this concept at first. Hey, I have a baby — how often am I really getting out anyway? But I knew I needed to take action when I was flowing peacefully through an online yoga class the other day and found myself staring under my dresser at the all the dust that had gathered there. Before I knew it, I had abandoned my yoga flow and was going after all that dust with a broom. And truth be told, it wasn't the first time I had given up mid-task recently.
Long story short, I knew I had to create a sense of structure if I wanted to get anything done (not to mention stay sane) during this period of social distancing. Here are a few things we as a Silk + Sonder community are doing to keep our work and personal lives on track as we wait for Coronavirus to clear up.
It sounds a little ridiculous when you're not going anywhere, but take our advice on this one: Get dressed. Take a shower. Even do your makeup, if you're into that. You don't have to put on the most professional clothes, but changing out of your pajamas can make the transition from home/leisure time to work time feel more real.
And speaking of transitions, make sure you create one in between sleep and wake before grabbing your phone and other devices. Maybe it's as simple as brewing coffee, or as complex as journaling and reading your book for an hour.
Block out time to read the news.
There are a lot of news updates right now. While it's important to stay informed about what's happening in the world, news articles about confirmed cases and death tolls can be anxiety-inducing distractions. Instead of keeping your Twitter feed open or refreshing your news apps every few minutes, block out a few times a day to check in (ideally not close to bedtime) to check in with what's going on. That's all you need.
And while you're at it, block out time for social media, too. Social media is great and can help us stay connected during this time, but it can also be a source of distraction and loneliness. Try setting a time limit for how many minutes you spend per day on certain apps.
Make time to move.
While most fitness studios have responsibly closed at this point, exercise is crucial to both mental and physical health. Carve out a space in your home (ideally not one where you'll be distracted by dust under your dresser) to stream your favorite fitness classes (may we suggest the amazing Sadie Kurzban's 305 Fitness streams?).
If you live somewhere where getting outside is easy and there aren't a lot of people around, try going for daily walks and runs. That will help your mental health and productivity levels tremendously.
Create a work space and a daily to-do list.
Working from your bed is fine once in a while, but it's also where you sleep. This can make it hard to be productive, or make it hard to sleep — maybe even both. Take this time to create a home office space, even if that means propping your laptop up on windowsill and pulling up a chair. And whatever you do, make sure it's not facing an area of your home that could use some cleaning and organization. As "productive" as cleaning is, it's very distracting when you're trying to get work done.
Even if you don't consider yourself a to-do list person, this is the time to give it a try. Having a clear set of tasks in front of you can help create a much-needed sense of structure for the day (Heads up: Your Silk + Sonder can hep with this).
If you have kids at home, search for distraction-free pockets of time.
This period is especially tough for people who have little kids. Even if there are two parents at home, kids have a ton of energy and need to be entertained constantly — so forcing them to stay inside while you try to get some work done isn't exactly an ideal situation.
If you have a backyard, use it. If your kids' classes or activity centers have a livestream option, take advantage. Then take advantage of every pocket of time you have, whether it's nap time, after the kids go to bed, or a moment of play outside to get a little work done. You'd be surprised how productive you can be under a time crunch.
There's no doubt that this is a very strange, but hopefully short (in the long run) period of time. Do what you can to maximize it, and create a work from home routine that works for you.
How are you structuring your work from home days? Let us know in the comments. And while you're at it, make sure to subscribe to Silk + Sonder today.