‘It was the best of times, it was the worst of times’, or so Dickens wrote. And similarly, many of you may be feeling that way now. The early starts, effort and drama of the commute to work and potentially late finishes have been removed from your day. Your fuel, daily latte and lunching out costs (because you ‘forgot’ to make your own), gone. Oh the money you’re saving! It’s great! And to top it all off, you get to work from home (WFH).
And then it was the worst of times, because this is no ordinary WFH situation. The distraction of your cat coming to sit on your lap, dog wagging its tail in anticipation of going for extra walks, and of course… your children. Depending on their age, they may be self-sufficient and for the most part look after themselves. For others, your children may still be quite young and not understand that it’s not extra play time or the weekend – mummy and/or daddy needs to work. And then you get up to make a coffee and notice that the dishwasher has finished its cycle, may as well empty it. And before you know it half your day has gone by doing the little chores that can ‘just’ be done while you’re making a drink or getting a snack.
So in these best and equally worst of times, how do we remain productive? Below are our top tips to ensure you get the best out of these unprecedented WFH times:
Create a workspace
Don’t think you can be productive sat on your sofa with Netflix on in the background. If you don’t have a dedicated office space, make one. If you feel like you’re going to work and dress like you’re going into the office, you’ll be more productive. You don’t need to clear out your local furniture shop of office equipment; even if you sit at your dining table have your pen pot set up, your planner and to-do list next to you and sit with your back to the TV. If it feels like work you’ll be less open to distractions.
Set real work hours
Set your alarm – it’s still a workday, even if you can’t distinguish between Monday and Thursday. If you work 8-4 or 9-5 try to keep these hours. It sets your structure for the day and keeps you in your professional mindset – it will also make you more accountable and make it easier when you do have to go back in the office.
Discover your high productivity hours
If you identify that you work best in the morning prioritise your bigger, more challenging tasks for then. Likewise, if you’re an afternoon person switch it. If you sound sleepy in the mornings, call your customers in the afternoon.
Make a to-do list
Who doesn’t love a to-do list? The satisfaction of crossing jobs done off your list. It’s a happy feeling 😊 From a more pragmatic point of view though, a to-do list ensures you document all your tasks and know when your deadlines are so that you can plan your days and make sure nothing gets missed and that you don’t lose focus.
Use a planner
Use the same schedule you’d have if you were in your workplace. If you’d usually have management/team meetings at 11am, schedule them in for then. Like a to-do list, your schedule will keep you on track.
Music that motivates
Have a WFH playlist. The background noise of your office is missing and having a play list can help fill the silence and focus you. The great thing about WFH is no-one will judge you for your music, so you can play The Beach Boys, Bowie or Bieber to your heart’s content*!
Sometimes the hardest thing about WFH is the lack of social interaction, and this is even more exasperated in the current climate. Make sure you are getting out every day – going for a walk around the block at lunchtime, nipping out for some milk, or to get some toner for your printer (which has just run out mid-print). Keep your social distance and stay safe while keeping your sanity.
We’re all in unchartered territory and the situation is changing daily, for some of us the only constant is our work. Being able to head out and get the stationery you need to be able to complete your presentation, pick your numbers for the lotto or just to get your daily or weekly read can offer a little bit of normality in chaotic times. The Lucky Charm is open and here to help and support you in this new and changing environment, while of course keeping our distance and keeping you safe in store.
*other music choices are available
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