Currently, humanity is fighting against the villain called COVID-19, a fight which day by day is changing our way of life and way of functioning. Now everyone, on an individual or collective level, needs to develop new superpowers to overcome this crisis and keep things rolling.
Among many changes and difficulties, this pandemic has faced business all over the world with the challenge to continue their operations running while ensuring the health and safety of their employees. A big portion of the employees have to opportunity to take their job anywhere they want just by taking their laptop with them and a steady internet connection. Anywhere in this case meant to work from home. For the growing number of freelancers nowadays this is nothing new and not a problem whatsoever. But for somebody who has had a 9 to 5 job since he or she can remember, like me, this is a big thing and most definitely is a challenge. So, when faced with this challenge who better to turn to than the freelances, over the internet of course. And yes, they had a lot of useful tips which I have summarized below:
1. Keep the discipline and routine
Yes, it is extremely important to stick to your routine, don’t change drastically how you use to behave on working days before this. For starters, this means get rid of those pajamas! And this doesn’t mean that you have to be all fancy and with full makeup, just get into some normal comfy clothes which are not pajamas. Second but equally important respect working hours, if you regularly start at 9 o’clock be in front of your computer all set at 9.00, not 9.30. Also, this means that you should finish working at around 5.00.
2. The work zone
You need to dedicate a space exclusively for work, either adapt one or create one.
The easiest thing to do is just to say that the dining table is now the office and put everything you have on your office desk there: laptop, sticky notes, a bottle of water…
Alternatively, you can finally get rid of all unnecessary things you were putting or maybe more precisely throwing at the corner table because you said you will deal with it later. In my case later never came until now and I have a desk now. Or go through staff in your garage or basement and take out and reuse and old piece of furniture, retro is anyhow back in style now.
3. To-do list
I cannot even imagine working without a to-do list and in times like this have a to-do list, it’s what will keep you organized and focused. Also, deadlines, always set and respect deadlines. Now when it is a bit more difficult for your manager or colleagues to follow up and remind you of tasks and deadlines your to-do list is the friend you can rely on to do that. Have it in writing, in an app on your mobile or in your Outlook calendar… it doesn’t matter in what form just has it. And make sure you cross off all assignments for the day, don’t procrastinate.
4. Manage distractions upfront
The first one I can think of is social media and we have to put a limit for that. There are a lot of apps now that monitor the time you spent on social media and if you let them, they can make sure you don’t spend more that time scrolling than usual. It’s simple, you set the maximum time you can spend in an app in 24 hours and once you reach that limit the app is blocked for the rest of the day and you cannot access it. I mean you can reset it but don’t. 🙂
The second which popped up now is TV. I caught myself turning it on just so it’s on and makes noise. Half an hour later I am just staring at it without even paying attention or worse I am to something nor useful, nor interesting. Either way, I am not focused on my work, so the bottom line, turn it off during working hours.
And last but not least people in your home are a huge distraction which is maybe the most difficult to manage. You need to set clear boundaries here, that even if you are at home you can’t just chit-chat and hang out and that you need peace to focus. If they are persistent or not getting you seriously just put on some noise-canceling headphones and in a way ignore them, very soon they will get the message.
5. Plan breaks in your schedule
Coffee break or a lunch break, you had them before you sure need to have them now. Plan them in your schedule and stick to that. These breaks might be the time when you atop ignoring people at home and have a coffee or lunch with them 🙂
Don’t stop having them. The digital age we live in enables us to stay connected all the time. And for sure havening the meetings will help you be more organized and focused.
Have that weekly meeting with the team and go through the project list. If there are not many topics for discussion use this to simply brainstorm and think of different scenarios and approaches when things will be back to normal soon.
7. The extra time
Yes, let’s be honest, working from home gives us that extra one hour a day we were always missing. Here I am referring to the time we save when getting ready for work and commute. I’ve chosen to look at this as the biggest benefit of working from home. There are lots of ways how to use this one hour and below are few of my favorites so far are:
- Organize all my folders and files – just now I have discovered how many folders named New folder I had within many other folders Happy to say now everything is where it’s supposed to be and it will take me no more than 20 seconds to open it when needed. 🙂
- Brainstorm – I was able to think and come up with new ideas and finally put them in a presentation ready to be sent. Also, I have looked back at what has been done and how and focus on drawing conclusions and learnings to improve for next time.
- Healthy meal – I had a chance to try out those 30-minute healthy recipes I’ve read about. And it turns out for most of them you need around 30 minutes, so now I am ready to have a diverse and healthy meal when I am back in the office
- Sleep – just sleep an extra hour in the morning… as simple as that
So, stay home and stay productive and focused. It’s not easy for sure, but it is manageable.
Author: Marta Zavkova
Editor: Tomica Stojanovikj