As we all navigate changes brought on by the Coronavirus pandemic, we have a few tips that our team uses to stay productive while in quarantine. As a team, we have emphasized just how much this time can be a separation factor when it comes to your business and if you maximize this extra time, you will find yourself in a better position to capitalize on opportunities coming out of quarantine.
Create a routine that you will actually follow: This is probably the most critical and foundational to becoming more productive during quarantine. Have a plan! For most people, their home is a place of unscheduled, and usually unproductive time. On a regular basis that is necessary in order to unwind and promote a relaxing environment. However, most people have found the lack of structure in their own home has provided a new problem as they try to accomplish tasks throughout the day. Developing structure and planning is a key to your success. Here’s what you need to do:
Set your priority list ahead of time – create a “Top 3” that have to be done the next day, and below it a list of other priorities that are a bonus if they were completed that day. Try to write out this priority list at the same time every day. This will help create the habit and make it easier to stick to your plans.
Have your priority list where you can see it. This small and convenient reminder of what you should be accomplishing by the time the day is done.
Create calendar invites for yourself on the application you use the most (if you don’t have one yet….it’s about time), use your work or personal calendar with adequate reminders and notifications.
Schedule as much as possible in blocks of time. Include downtime such as meals, workouts, and even entertainment. This way, you will be able to “see” what your day looks like, and as plans change (as they inevitably will), you can easily move that “block” of time to another open space in your calendar.
Stimulate your body, inspire your mind: This is crucial to your productivity. As a health-conscious organization, we promote routine exercise. This helps clear your mind and makes the new living situation more bearable. This is where you need to know yourself – and if you need help, or accountability in this area, just schedule a time to do a Zoom workout together with a friend. There are many apps, trainers, and online videos that promote free content on a regular basis. If you don’t know where to start, YouTube can be your new best friend. We should also emphasize that if you are new to working out, make sure you start slow and manageable. This reduces the intimidation factor of creating a routine. If you can order some light weights or resistance bands online to increase the difficulty, even better. However, body weight will also work just fine. Just do something! Even designated time to stretch counts. Your body and mind will thank you.
Create a neat work space:
No matter what type of work you do from home, you need to create a designated work space. Ideally a place that is neat and quiet. If you don’t have a desk, you may want to consider getting one and create a space in your home that is ergonomic and comfortable so you can focus for extended periods of time without interruption from family, pets, roommates or other noise. We also recommend a computer with a good screen, or order an extra screen if needed.
Remember, a cluttered workspace is a reflection of a cluttered mind. If you want to clear your head, start by clearing your space. After you clear your workspace, you may even consider other areas of your home. A great book for this is Marie Kondo’s “The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing.” https://amzn.to/3d7cDUk
Reset frequently: This is based on personal preference, but you should definitely schedule frequent pit-stops according to Brendon Buchard, the author of High Performance Habits. This will allow you to reset and recharge, which will allow you to actually work for longer periods of time without being drained physically or mentally. It is also good to reset your eyes from looking at a computer screen so frequently. Our only caution is to ensure these breaks don’t develop bad habits or taking too many breaks for too long. If you really need some down time, take it, but set a scheduled time to get back to work. Have someone hold you accountable if needed.
Create limits for all media: Most of us, if we are being honest with ourselves, consume too much news, social media & entertainment from a variety of apps on our phones, computers, tablets or TV. In a time of great uncertainty, we should ensure we are limiting the negative or fear-based content we consume. The human mind is not productive or creative in a fearful mindset. We should be consciously aware of the type of media we consume and how often we consume it. One of the ways to limit this is to set limits through your devices or apps. Most of the media we consume is blatantly or subconsciously negative, and we can all use time apart from it. You can also decide to check your phone or text messages during your reset time and while you are working, have the screen of the device facing away. You can also log out of any social sites where people can interrupt your focus regularly if you must use your phone, tablet or computer.
Most of these tips for productivity during quarantine are basic and we all know them, but nonetheless, essential. The motivation to implement them needs to come from an internal desire to elevate your game as a professional. One thing we have all learned through this unique time is that nothing is guaranteed. If we focus on the things we can control, it can provide us a sense of security while we let go of the things we can’t. We should all be focused on making ourselves as valuable to the marketplace as possible, and productivity at home is a key part of that. This quarantine won’t last forever, but while we are adapting to this change in routine, we hope these tips provide you with as much value as it has for our team!