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Okay, let’s be honest, working at home isn’t a good fit for everyone because it takes a fair amount of discipline and flexibility, especially if you are someone who thrives off being in an office space, with other people around. The adjustment can be jarring at first and if you live in an apartment, with spouses or children, as much as we love them, they can be disruptive. Here are some ways to make lockdown worthwhile and effective for you as you #WFH (work from home).
1/ Set a schedule, and stick to it… most of the time
First off, if you love working from home, then establishing clear working hours for yourself will be a breeze. Working from home naturally introduces a whole host of new distractions and situations – this is why discipline is so important. Setting clear working hours means choosing to wake up at the same time as you would for work and sticking to a nine-to-five schedule. Depending on your personality, it may suddenly become easier to work earlier or later every day. Remember, you’re still on company time during the week.
2/ Put things on paper
You’re processing heaps of information during this time. You may occasionally find yourself scrolling through your social media pages to find out the latest news. Your brain is absorbing all kinds of info that could affect your work life. We highly advise writing things down so you don’t forget a deadline or virtual meeting.
3/ Change out of your pyjamas when working from home
Yes, working from home is cosy and not wearing a bra makes the lockdown bearable… But in order to create a healthy routine for yourself, getting out of your PJs is vital. Treat each new day as if you have to get ready to leave for work. Set your alarm early enough so you have time for your morning coffee, a shower and a clothes change. This is a good ritual for getting in The Zone (aka a “work” headspace).
4/ Close non-work-related tabs
The long list of open tabs on your PC is a huge distraction (trust me, I know!). Close all non-work-related tabs (we’re lookin’ at you Netflix and Showmax) or you’ll find yourself going down the “just one more episode” hole with zero work achievements that day.
5/ Stay connected to colleagues
Remember when the Springboks won the Rugby World Cup last year – we were #BetterTogether? The same hashtag applies. Staying in touch with colleagues helps the team to feel connected and on the same page. Have regular Zoom or Teams meetings to strategise and plan the next steps for the weeks to come. Women’s Health Deputy Editor Wanita Nicol rates Trello – an online productivity tool to keep track of the workflow if you work in a team. “Each person has a task list; as you finish the task, simply drag the task onto the next list of the person who needs to work on it next.”
6/ Notify your team about your priorities
This is a great way to keep yourself accountable for all the work deadlines you have to meet, especially if you work in a team.
7/ Switch up your working space
Women’s Health Managing Editor Amy Hopkins says setting up a proper desk for herself has worked wonders. “I don’t have a dining room table anymore, but really I need a desk more than a place to eat right now.” Nice touch: Amy has also placed plants around her desk to boost her mood.
8/ Step outside to reset
If you’re fortunate enough to be able to walk in the garden or around the parking lot, do it! Our brains need to switch off every once in a while to reset. A whiff of fresh air outside will do amazing things for your productivity levels. If you don’t have space to move around, take five to 10 minutes to think of something creative to do for your business or the company you work for. Get innovative!
9/ Open the window
There’s nothing quite like fresh air to keep you awake, so open the window and let the breeze sweep through. If you have an outstanding view from your work desk, you’re one lucky lady.
10/ Include a bit of movement
Keep moving, even if it’s walking around the house. If you have a smartwatch, aim for your 10 000 steps per day. Movement in the form of exercise is a good way to keep your stress and anxiety levels down.
11/ Lunch breaks are important
One lunch break has proved to be a challenge for me during this time… The number of snacks I have before, during and after work is shocking! Try to limit your lunch break to an hour. This is what you would do at the office after all. If you can, try to eat your lunch away from your computer. You deserve that hour away from your desk.
12/ Start your day with mindfulness
Cancel out the noise around you. Listen to a podcast, set your intentions for the day, play some jams and get into The Zone to set the tone for your day.
What have you been doing to increase your productivity levels during SA lockdown?
This article was originally published on www.womenshealthsa.co.za