To help reduce the spread of the coronavirus, more Americans are working remotely. For those who’ve been pushing for work-from-home opportunities, this could be a silver lining. For the many others juggling full schedules and kids off school, working at home may be overwhelming, to put it lightly.
If we’ve learned anything from trying to contain COVID-19, it’s that education and preparation make a strong defense. Use these sanity-saving and productivity-preserving tips to get the job done.
9 ways to keep WFH stress low and output high
Arranged by category, these work-from-home tips can help smooth your transition:
1. Wear noise-canceling headphones.
- Buy noise-canceling headphones to block out a hectic house.
- Put on some tunes and enjoy the retreat.
- Listen to whatever you like; surgeons who play their favorite music work better and faster.
2. Create a dedicated workspace.
- “Arriving to work,” even in your home, shifts your brain into work mode.
- Ideally, this is a work-only space, void of distractions. This will help your mind clock-in and clock-out.
- If you don’t have a space like this, make sure you pick somewhere with the least amount of chaos. The couch is not a good option.
3. Schedule your day.
- Creating a schedule and giving yourself time limits keeps you focused on the task at hand. It minimizes the tendency to let your mind wander.
- Time blocking can help you do this. Divide your day into blocks of time and place a task or a group of tasks into those blocks. Only work on those specific tasks during each block of time.
- At the end of each day, make time blocks or a schedule for the next day. This can cut down on the time and energy it takes to figure out what you’re going to work on.
Remind your clients: Cornerstone has the tech tools to keep mortgage moving, even in uncertain times. No need to meet in person when everything can be done online.
4. Keep a routine.
- Maintaining your normal routine is key to starting your day productively.
- Wake up at the same time you normally do, take a shower, get dressed, have your cup of coffee, and go to work.
- If you’re supposed to be at work at 9, don’t wake up at 8:59 and drag your laptop into bed.
5. Set boundaries.
- If you live with your partner or have kids, roommates, or pets, let them know what you need in order to have a focused and productive workday.
- Clearly define the beginning and end of your workday. If your normal hours are 9-5, work 9-5.
- It’s easy to become engrossed in your work and lose track of time while working from home. It’s also easy to get distracted and not put in a full day’s work. Create healthy boundaries.
6. Take breaks.
- It may seem counterproductive, but taking breaks has been shown to be the number one way to maintain productivity.
- Short breaks help energize your body and brain. You may already do this at the office, but while at home, take advantage of some perks.
- During your break, step away from your devices. Go on a walk, play with your dog, snuggle a cat, or grab another cup of coffee.
7. Be active.
- Staying active throughout your day will keep the blood flowing to your mind and your body.
- Set an alarm for activity breaks. For example: Schedule an “active” break for 2 minutes, every hour.
- When your timer goes off, do some stretches or pushups or walk around the house. Whatever works for you and your schedule.
8. Say no to media.
- While working from home, it can be easy to get sucked into TV, video games, and social media.
- Do what it takes to combat this. Think about turning off your cell phone during working hours.
- Limiting social and news consumption to a small window of time — after the workday — can also reduce anxiety.
9. Interact with people virtually.
- Isolation can take a toll on the mind, even for the greatest of introverts.
- Take time to interact with people virtually. Make a pact to call a friend during your lunch break. Or, video chat with your teammates.
- These days, technology makes virtually connecting easy, and a few quick interactions will do wonders for your sanity.
Experiment and figure out what works
Social distancing and working from home are great ways to help protect you, your coworkers, your friends, and the general public. You’re not in this alone: We’re all coming together — from a distance — to make sure these circumstances are only temporary. Our team is still here to help, ready to answer homebuyers’ and sellers’ questions at any time.
For educational purposes only. Please contact your qualified professional for specific guidance.
Sources are deemed reliable but not guaranteed.