In general, it can be difficult to maintain focus at work. Add a global pandemic to the mix and suddenly what you perceived as difficult may now feel insurmountable as your regularly scheduled activities have been upended.
What can you do to stay focused, remain calm and productive amidst the social and economic disruption caused by COVID-19?
Remember to make time for self-care.
For a lot of us, self-care typically starts before or after a long day at the office. With the new “social distancing” measures in place and employers requiring many of us to work from home, the lines between our personal and professional lives are becoming blurred. This is especially true if you have kids whose schools are closed.
Below are 4 tips to help you incorporate self-care into this “new normal” so you can continue to operate as effectively as possible in your personal and professional life during this hectic time.
- Create and stick to a routine
Try to formulate a schedule that you can follow consistently throughout the work week. This doesn’t mean putting your job ahead of your children or other responsibilities, but rather putting together a plan for each day that works best for you and your situation.
Having a routine can really help you transition back and forth quickly from a household to “work-mode” mindset.
For example, go to bed and get up at the same time as if you were going into the office—it’ll help your mind and body stay in the workday rhythm.
Other ways you can get into “work-mode” include getting dressed for the day, keeping your devices out of reach, establishing specific periods for breaks and meals, as well as beginning and ending your work-day at the same times. Resist the urge to stay in pajamas all day, get caught up on shows, frequently check social media or do any other activity that interrupts the schedule you’ve created for yourself.
- Set up a dedicated workspace
It’s easy to get distracted by household chores, family, the news, friends, etc. when you’re working from a different location. One simple solution to help boost productivity is to create a separate and distinct workspace—your “office” out of the office. This will help to focus your mind and the tasks at hand and creates a healthy disconnect between your private and job-related matters.
One of the best things you can do for your mental and physical well-being is to stand up periodically and move. While many gyms aren’t open at this time, spring season means longer days and warmer temperatures. If it’s nice outside you can feel better instantly by getting up and getting out. Try adding to your schedule a walk, run, swim, bike ride or your exercise of choice as a way to break up your day.
- Continue to communicate with others
One of the many bonuses of working in an office setting is the ability to walk down to a co-worker’s office and bounce ideas off of them, or to just chat to get a break from your computer screen.
Our basic need for human interaction doesn’t stop when the office is closed. You can still pick up the phone and call a friend or colleague even when social distancing is in place. It’s important to stay connected to maintain perspective and your well-being.
All of these things will help ease the transition from going into an office daily to working remotely. In time, you’ll likely find you can be just as productive and happy working at home, if not more so, if you make a concerted effort towards doing so. In uncertain times, having consistency even in small doses can go a long way to helping manage stressful situations.