Due to the Coronavirus outbreak, many people will now be forced into working from home for the foreseeable future. For some, this will be nothing new and a transition that will not change their routine too much, for others this will be an entirely new experience that can be difficult to handle and manage. With the added aspect of a lockdown thrown into the mix ensuring that you are staying productive and engaged during this period is essential, not only for your job, but also for your family life and mental health.
Knowing how to focus during lockdown can make all the difference in making sure you remain positive during these difficult times. So what is the best way to stay productive during Coronavirus and how can you work from home effectively if it is something new to you. Here are our 10 things to focus on during lockdown that will help you stay positive, productive and engaged amidst Coronavirus.
1. Create a Designated Workspace
If it’s your first time working from home it can be tempting to just work from your bed or the sofa or anywhere else you feel comfortable. However, staying productive during Coronavirus will involve setting up an area of your house to be specifically designated as a workspace. By creating an individual workspace where you live, it will send a clear signal to your brain that when you sit down at it, it’s time to focus and work. This also means staying away from this area when not working to avoid sending mixed messages to yourself as you look to separate your working life from your home life.
One often overlooked aspect of your workspace is ergonomics. While lying on a sofa to work or slouching in a chair may seem preferable, doing so can strain either your back or neck and create any number of musculoskeletal injuries. By having an ergonomic setup at home, it will help massively with your positivity and productivity.
2. Keep It Clean
In line with this, once you have created a workspace for yourself, keeping it clean is incredibly important. Doing so helps you stay focused, remain organised, and can help with promoting positivity and mental health. Even if mess doesn’t bother you, keeping order of your immediate surroundings is intrinsically tied to working more effectively. If your workspace, or just living space in general, is filled with dirty cups, plates and anything else on your desk, it makes it much easier to procrastinate and form a mindset that is detrimental to working efficiently. It’s a seemingly little thing, but when you’re in lockdown for an extended period of time, it can make all the difference.
3. Follow Your Normal Routine
Again, if working from home is something new to you, it might seem beneficial to have extended lie-ins and late nights. You don’t have a commute to worry about and can seemingly roll out of bed to begin working. However, taking the time to follow your normal, everyday routine is an important factor for working during lockdown. Go about your normal morning routine as you would if you were going into work. Wake up at your usual time, take a shower, get dressed for the day, all these things will trigger your brain into getting ready to work. If you normally go to the gym before work but can’t because of the current situation, do what you can in the space you have available. Put on work clothes, they can be more comfortable than your usual professional attire, but try not to work in pyjamas or sweatpants. Rolling out of bed moments before you need to start working may seem like a positive thing, but it can drastically affect your overall productivity.
4. Working With Children Around
If you have children, it’s likely that they will also be at home during your working hours as well given that the majority of schools have closed down. This may affect how you have to work in a number of different ways. For example, if you have a baby or small child in the house with you, inform who you are talking to of your situation in case there are any interruptions or unexpected noises. Given the current situation, it’s likely that people will be understanding. Also, it would be worthwhile to discuss the matter with your boss to talk about potentially modifying your schedule so you can work effectively whilst still caring for your family. This may involve working slightly earlier or slightly later than usual but it’s important that you are still able to be there as a parent as well as an effective employee.
5. Working With Your Partner or Other Adults
Given the certain circumstances, it’s likely that any other people you live with will also be at home during lockdown. This could be roommates or a partner that you share a living space with. It’s probable that you will not be used to working from home at the same time as other people and this can lead to a number of different problems. Having clear, frank discussions from the outset about your setup is key to everyone being able to be productive and avoid any negativity. See how you can help each other during these trying times, look to understand how each of you prefer to accommodate one another and be very clear about your schedules to avoid any disturbances during important calls or meetings. As with many aspects of working together, clear channels of communication are the most important thing.
6. Use Headphones
With this in mind, using any headphones you have when working can be great to stay productive and engaged with your work during lockdown. They will help to eliminate any distractions, let you take calls more effectively and do all this without disturbing anyone else in your close proximity. This will also help if you want to listen to music, podcasts or any messages of positivity that help you work better. Minimising the sounds and distractions around you when working is important if you or other people have a number of calls or meetings that you don’t want to disrupt. Again, it’s a seemingly small thing, but a good pair of headphones can help greatly to promote positivity.
7. Remember To Be Active
While lockdown means staying inside, being active is crucial to encouraging great physical and mental health. This is more important than ever when you are likely to be predominantly indoors. Even if you spend a lot of time at home normally, incorporate more exercise into your daily routine, make a point to get outside, even if it’s just for a short time, but being active and exercising is linked to remaining productive. If you can, go for a run, follow along with a workout plan app or yoga video, essentially whatever you like to do in order to stay fit and healthy, find your own ways to do this. This will also help you plan your day and build a routine that means you are more engaged with your daily activities.
8. Avoid Complete Isolation
Being in lockdown doesn’t mean shutting yourself off from the world entirely. Making sure you stay connected to the people you work with is key to staying in the loop and making sure nothing slips through the cracks. This can be with messaging apps like Slack, emailing one another, setting up regular video calls but staying in constant communication with your colleagues is key when in lockdown. Don’t isolate yourself from the working world around you, nothing good will come of it. Also, this doesn’t just apply to your work, remember to stay in touch with your family and friends to help maintain a positive mind set as well as make it feel like you’re not just on your own right now.
9. Take Breaks
Working from home or in lockdown can potentially feel like a double-edged sword. Some people may feel that they have to work harder and at an increased pace compared to normal just to prove they are in fact being productive. This is a dangerous mentality and approach to have as it can quickly lead to burning out, increased levels of stress and have negative effects on your mental health. The brain is a muscle and it needs periods of rest. If you feel like the muscles in your legs are hurting, it’s wise to take a break from exercising, the same thing goes for your brain when working. Schedule regular breaks into your day that give you the chance to slow down, relax, get some exercise or fresh air to get the energy to keep working efficiently. Not taking these breaks will in fact damage your productivity in the long run and put a definite strain on your overall mental health. Something which needs to be protected now more than ever before.
10. Stay Positive
While it may seem like an alarmingly simple thing to say, focusing on the positive elements of your life when in lockdown is just as important as any other point on this list. Take the time to appreciate the good things you have in your life and it will help you to maintain momentum. Reflect on everything you have got done that day, take note of every positive thing you have accomplished and celebrate the wins when you get them. If you are only focusing on the negative or what still needs to be done, it can harm your productivity and engagement as well as be detrimental to your overall mental stability. Through making sure you take stock of the positive moments and reminding yourself of them regularly, you will be able to stay positive, productive and engaged for the duration of your lockdown period.