As we navigate through a “new normal” caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, DesignTO is doing our best to shift our regular routines to accommodate working remotely. There are endless ways to improve how we approach work and productivity from home. As we continue with the recommended physical distancing and isolation measures, we want to share our collective tips with you for a better WFH (work from home) life.
Structure your day
Following a clear schedule can help with structuring your day. Don’t just roll out of bed and start answering emails only to peer beyond your laptop screen to see a mountain of clothes, screaming to be washed. Don’t swap taking a break with doing your laundry. Instead, dedicate time to focus on what you need to do, free from distractions. If you work with a team, agree on set windows of focused work time and best times to connect with each other. This minimizes disruptions and sets healthy parameters of when your work day begins and ends…and when you can finally tend to that laundry mountain.
Make time for your morning routine
As you would when going into an office, leave room in your morning for daily rituals. Suggestions: Make your bed. Brush your teeth. Pick your OOTD (outfit of the day). Brew your perfectly calibrated coffee. Eat your steel cut oats. Meditate. Stretch. Make sure that you give yourself time to ease into full work mode before you tackle your to-do list for the day. Do the things that help you start your day on a good note, so you can feel and function at your best.
Prioritize your tasks
Don’t just make a to-do list and go from there. Make it clear from the beginning what your key deliverables are for the day, week, next video check-in. This way, your priorities don’t get lost in a sea of various to-dos with no order. Determine which tasks require more concentrated attention and which ones don’t. As much as possible, break up larger goals into smaller, more manageable action items. This makes your goal less daunting, while helping you track progress. Bonus: checking off items on your to-do list is gratifying. Relish it.
Establish a work area
Fashion yourself a work space that works for you. Distinguish which areas of your home are for business and for pleasure. As much as possible, avoid bringing your work to where you sleep or relax, in order to keep the mental associations of these spaces separate. If the couch is where you like to unwind with Netflix and popcorn at the end of the day, try not to extend your makeshift office there. And if you get easily distracted by your own things, clear out as much visual clutter as possible. Create a space where you can let yourself get deep into your work.
Batch similar activities together
In the same vein as following a set schedule and clarifying your priorities, try to batch similar activities to do in one go. This is particularly helpful when tackling administrative tasks like filing emails, updating your calendar, and setting reminders—activities that don’t require as much cognitive engagement but are still important in keeping your work and life organized. This way, you can conserve most of your mental energy for the more demanding action items on your to-do list.
Fine-tune, but don’t be too hard on yourself
Test and tweak the above tips as you learn what works best for you and your team. Don’t beat yourself up if things don’t go according to plan! (No one saw 2020 unfolding like this, yet here we are.) Communicate with your team if you are in need of more time and/or support. This pandemic is global, and we are all experiencing it together. Offering compassion and kindness to ourselves and others will help us get through these challenging times.
*Are you working from home? Want to share your WFH space, routine, or coping mechanism? We’d love to hear from you.