We’re coming into what seems like a lifetime that we’ve been confined to the small spaces within our homes. It’s a new world we’re currently facing and it seems more and more likely that the lockdown will continue. We’re all coping with the quarantine in our own unique ways to ensure that cabin fever doesn’t take hold, but it can be difficult to still remain productive when you’ve been forced into the foreign environment of the home office.
The reason some of us struggle with adopting to this new work at home situation is due to the fact that inherently we don’t feel like we’re at work. The solace we usually take from arriving home after a long day on the grind and that feeling you get kicking off our shoes and cracking into a cold beer is gone. Now we’re having to adapt to the reality that we need to be on our own clock and ensure that we’re focussed and don’t simply slide into a perpetual descent of inaction.
Here are some hot tips to help you achieve your own home office zen, creating the ideal workspace and headspace for you to slam through those pesky spreadsheets or comb through the endless emails and zoom meetings you’ve got on the horizon. Also, if you’re anything like me, there is always time for a business lunch so why not rustle up some comfort food cuisine for your next break from our resident foodie Kevin here.
Routine, Routine, Routine.
It seems apparent that in order to really achieve productivity you need to set a routine. The longer we’re stuck inside the more this seems to fly out the window, which is half of the battle of regaining your previous efficiency.
The crucial aspect of establishing your routine is sticking to a daily alarm in the morning and actually adhering to it, which includes getting out of bed and getting dressed. Predictably a lot of us have got into the sort of funk of just wearing pajamas and rolling out of bed at midday, but as soon as you break this cycle you’ll already see a noticeable difference towards your approach to work.
Don’t forget to include breaks as part of your routine: that includes setting aside time for lunch and distancing yourself from your work for a set period. A great technique to use for time management is the Pomodoro technique. Set a timer for 25 minutes and take a 3-5 minute break after each time you successfully reach this target. Then, once you’ve completed 4 rounds, you allow yourself a 30 minute break, a sure fire way to maintain focus. Make sure to do something other than work in this break, like watch sections of a movie from our latest film picks.
(La La) List it!
A good technique for now (and post lockdown) is the humble checklist. You might be thinking, why do I even need one? Consider your daily actions including household chores, shopping, calling someone, cooking and it can all add up very quickly. This is where the list can be a saving grace from the overwhelming amount of tasks you want to complete.
Start by outlining the tasks you need to complete within the week and then organize these based on the priority in which they need to be finished. There’s no point cleaning all of your linen as a distraction from your work when your time could be used in a more useful capacity to finish off that presentation due in two days or sort out issues with your power bill. The reason why a list is such a good tool for the home office is not only does it give you a rough guideline of what needs to be done in the future, but also gives you the satisfaction of achieving daily goals.
One of the things I’m sure people are particularly struggling with is how to separate the work and life balance, especially if you’re surrounded by flatmates, family, and partners. This can become more difficult for those who have never worked at home before due to the fact they’ve never been required to have their own dedicated work area.
The reason why the dedicated work space is such a key ingredient in maintaining a healthy working mindset is how it couples with the routine you’ve set for yourself. A good environment for you to stay focused on your work is essential. With that in mind, in order to create a space for yourself choose somewhere outside of your bedroom, or in the case of a studio apartment make sure you’re placed as far away from your bed as possible to avoid the temptation of just kicking back and having a nap.
Additionally, if you’ve ever worked in an office setting, mimic a similar set up to what you would see in your usual open plan get up such as a desk/table, laptop, planner, notepads, and a set of stationary at your disposal and you’ll be away laughing. Also chuck on some music to set the mood and if you’re looking to see what we’ve been listening to you can always check out our latest staff picks.