It’s hard to get into the work zone when you’re lounging on the sofa in your PJs. So get dressed as if you were going to the office. Maybe that suit and heels isn’t necessary for today’s Zoom meeting (though if you are a quarantine power dresser, round of applause for you) but making an effort beyond your comfies will put you in a more productive headspace.
If you’re lucky enough to have the space, designate one area of your home just for work. Even if it’s just a laptop-size rectangle on the kitchen table. Surround yourself with little luxuries and beautiful things that inspire and calm you – whether it’s a new mug, a house plant, or practical desk art (that’s what we like to call stationery.)
If you’re working at the kitchen or dining room table, try sitting in one chair for work and then switch to a different chair on the other side of the table for everything else. And clear the table of laptops when you’re eating. Dinner time is home time, not business time.
The trick to this one is to pretend you’re not working from home. If you’re able to, before you start work, go for a walk around the block (staying a safe 2 metre distance from others) and then turn up at the “office”. If you can’t go outside, or are under lockdown and saving your daily venture outdoors for some more extensive exercise, find a ritual that separates getting up to getting down to business: maybe an indoor exercise class or simply making yourself an “I’m ready for work now” coffee.
A regular schedule, where you keep your normal working hours and give yourself a nice, round 60 minutes for a delicious homemade lunch is integral to keeping your spirits up. If you start late, you might feel like you need to end late, then before you know it, you’ve spent the whole evening working when you could have been virtually raising a glass with your friends on House Party.
When you know your schedule, break your larger tasks into smaller ones and write a timed to-do list. Nothing feels more satisfying than striking a pencil through your completed jobs – our personalised bullet journals and plain paper notebooks are perfect for this. While our undated daily planners will help you plan out those home-cooked lunches and pre-work online yoga sessions – and cheer up your desk too.
No one has an endless flow of productivity – it dries up if you get tired. So press pause on the daily grind and step away from that screen. Take ten minutes to get out of your chair to make a cup of tea, have a stretch or make a call to loved ones. Remember, your eyes need a break as well as your mind. So even when you are in the middle of a task, every 20 minutes look 20 metres away for 20 seconds.
You’re on the internet and it’s just you and your cat who can see your screen. You’ll just take a glance at this meme. Maybe another one. This one has got a cat in and your cat loves videos of other cats! Just one more… Oops! It’s the end of the day and although you’re now fully versed in the latest self-isolation memes, you are awash with guilt about not finishing your work.
Hold onto that feeling and next time you go to hit play on that TikTok vid, think about how much better finishing your tasks would make you feel than watching that funny feline will. And hey, once you’ve finished work, the memes will still be waiting for you.
We tend to think that if we’re not ticking off twenty to-dos every day then we haven’t done enough but these are hard times for everyone right now, so just try and relax. It might feel like you haven’t done much but you’ve probably done more than you realise. And if you really haven’t, don’t panic, don’t stress. Stick to these pointers as best you can and you will get stuff done.