The new coronavirus has disrupted everyone's lives. Many people have sadly lost their jobs while others, though lucky enough to still have a job, have been forced to change the way they work.
Working from home has its perks. To those who are new to it, this may seem exciting at first. I mean, really, who wouldn't be happy to ditch their daily commute and use this extra time to sleep more, have a decent breakfast, or start work earlier?
However, if you don't pay attention, your work days can last all day. This can mess up the balance of your life including your productivity at work. By making small changes to how you go about your day, you'll find it easier to manage stress and feel happier, both at work and home.
1. Follow a routine
Start your day the night before. When you go to bed at a fixed hour every night, you'll get some good sleep before you start your day the following morning.
When you don't have to show up to work at the regular office hours, your sleep schedule can easily collapse, especially when you don't have any calls scheduled in the early morning. But keeping consistent sleep hours will help your body rest and you'll wake up feeling energized.
2. Get ready for work
Start your day as you would normally do when you go to the office. This means getting up early enough to take a shower, meditate if you do, have breakfast, coffee, and get dressed. I know that when it comes to comfort, nothing probably beats your pajamas. Still, working in your PJs doesn't quite set you in the right mood for work.
This doesn't mean you have to wear what you'd typically wear to the office but changing into another outfit will help you make the mental switch you need to start the day.
3. Have healthy snacks ready in your fridge
Do you find it easy to reach out to unhealthy snacks while you work from home? It's really easy to fall to that temptation. Instead of wasting your energy trying to fight it, pack your fridge with healthy and delicious snacks.
4. Schedule a workout time
Not having to leave the house daily makes it easy to slip into a sedentary lifestyle. Exercise undoubtedly has innumerable benefits. But during times such as those we live in, I find it particularly crucial to work out as it helps control stress levels from getting out of control.
Exercise helps your body release chemicals that make you feel good and relaxed. A much-needed feeling indeed these days!
The best thing about it is that any movement counts as exercise, as long as you get your muscles working and increase your heart rate.
What's the best workout? Whatever you can fit into your day.
If it's safe to go outside, it can be a walk around the block. You can also do a bodyweight session at home. Starting your day with a short bout of physical activity will help you feel energetic and ready to tackle your day cheerfully.
5. Take regular breaks
Contrary to popular belief, working non-stop for long hours doesn't mean getting more work done. Quite the opposite, it's been associated with lower productivity and increased stress levels.
After an extended period of concentration, your brain needs to take a break. When you skip breaks, thinking you'll deliver this project faster, your focus starts to falter. As a result, a task that typically takes you 15 minutes to finish can now take twice as much.
That's why taking short breaks throughout your day can help refresh your attention. This means you can get work done faster and more efficiently.
But how often should you take a break? It varies.
Depending on the amount of work and your energy levels, you can work anywhere from 50 to 90 minutes before taking a short break. Just pay attention to what your body is telling you. If you find yourself unable to focus then probably this is when you need to take some time off.
That being said, a break will be refreshing only when it’s done right. Not all breaks will leave you feeling recharged. In fact, the wrong kind of break might drain you, like drinking more coffee or talking with a colleague about something that bothers you.
Breaks like going for a short walk, meditation, or taking a power nap will naturally boost your energy levels.
6. Set boundaries between work and personal life
When you work and live at the same place, work can take over your day without you noticing it. To avoid burnout, set clear boundaries so that by the end of each day, you can unwind and spend some quality time, whether with your family or alone.
Here are a couple of ways to separate your work and personal life:
Create a dedicated workspace
Getting into an office in the morning from which you check out by the end of the business day will help you set clear boundaries. It's like taking the daily commute during which you get ready for work or leave work behind.
Once you get outside that workspace, you'll find it easier to disconnect from work.
Plan your after-work activities
When you realize that you have limited hours for work, as opposed to thinking that you have the whole day, you're more likely to be more efficient with your time.
Are you going to Netflix later in the evening? Read a book? Video chat with friends or family? Block the time on your calendar.
7. While social distancing, stay socially connected
This is the time when we need to stay emotionally connected with our friends and family, more so if you're living alone. Social distancing only refers to the physical aspect of it. Thanks to technology, we now have many options to stay in touch.
Plan a virtual night out with friends or maybe you can go for a virtual movie night together. Instead of texting, you can make a meaningful phone call.
With everything changing around us, we now need to stick together more than ever.
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