After the COVID-19 pandemic hit, most of us quickly found ourselves having to adjust to working from home. I have to admit, this was a bit of a shock to the system for me (as I was always used to going to in-person lectures and having a lot of structure to my day), however I feel like I’ve developed some healthy habits that I think helped me cope with this adjustment.
Here are some of them:
Write to-do lists the night before
I’ve always been someone that loves a to-do list and I find them super helpful when working from home! Sometimes I’d think ‘I have so much time at home today, there’s plenty of time to get everything done!’ but then still find myself falling short of the tasks I had in mind.
So, using a to-do list really helps to ensure you stay on track throughout the day, and can be really helpful when it comes to managing your time
I often get asked if you should put time slots onto to-do lists. Personally, I don’t do this as I find that it makes me more stressed if I don’t complete it in the set time. However, I do like to write down how long (approximately) each task will take me, in order to stick to a rough time schedule.
Use a habit tracker
So, this post is focused on healthy habits… and I think that one healthy habit is to record your habits!
I have recently started using a habit tracker and I include things such as
- Work-out and stretch
- Complete X amount of practice questions
- Eat 5 portions of fruit and veg
- Make a smoothie
- Keep up to date with messages and emails
Not only does this encourage me to complete these positive habits (just for the satisfaction of ticking it off the list), but it also helps me to praise myself for things I’ve done each day. For example, if a day seems quite mundane with work, I can look at the habit tracker and recognise the little habits that I still managed to complete… it’s all about those little victories that help keep you positive.
Distractions are a huge problem for most of us working from home!
It’s understandable that not every distraction can be removed, but I think it’s important to minimise distractions as much as you can. Here are some of my examples:
- I use the Forest app so I don’t go on my phone whilst working (this is basically an app where you can ‘grow’ virtual trees during the time that you stay off your phone)
- I let people know when I want to focus and let them know when I’ll be free later on
- I keep my desk area as minimalistic as possible (but still make it a nice environment to work at)
Schedule (and stick to!) your working hours and don’t go beyond these
Scheduling your working hours can be good to make sure you’re doing enough work each day, but also to ensure that you don’t do too much! For example, having a specific ‘cut-off’ time before bedtime can
- Help you be more productive throughout the day as you know you can’t carry on any later
- Prevent burnout!
- Help you sleep better as you’ve had more time to relax your mind
- Give you time for other things you enjoy in the evening
Also, be sure to schedule in breaks as you would in any other workplace.
Don’t solely view work as productive (whether that be a job, or school/uni work) … there are lots of other things that are productive too!
Sometimes, it can be easy to fall into the trap of only feeling ‘productive’ when you’re working (for example, working at a job, on a project or revising for an exam).
However, I think it’s so beneficial to label lots more things as ‘productive’ and recognise when you are achieving these.
This can be anything that’s beneficial to your day – for example making a healthy, nutritious breakfast, working-out, tidying your room or going for a walk – these things can all be productive! I like to add things like this to my to-do list. Again, they help maintain the healthy habits, but I also think that if you feel more productive, then this encourages more productivity – which is a very positive cycle!
Connect with people
A big negative factor about working from home can be the lack of human interaction! It’s important to still connect with people (friends, family, work colleagues) each day. Talking to colleagues can help motivate you, and they can help you out if you’re struggling with work! And talking to friends/family can be a great pick-me-up if you’ve had a long day of working.
I hope these tips helped anyone who is still working from home at the moment. Try to remember all of the positives of this transition and make the most of them in order to live your most positive life!
Best of luck!