The swiftness of the virus’ spread and the instant economic response to the pandemic put a vast majority of citizens in a position they’d never found themselves in before- immediately working from home. A large part of the population can vouch that working from home proves to be a more productive setting than from their office. But the opposite can be said for so many others who have a harder time adjusting to such change, and rightfully so. There could be a number of reasons at play here; perhaps they work better in groups, under supervision, a fixed clock-in, clock-out time frame holds them more accountable, etc.

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When you have to learn how to work from home as you go, a lot of time can be wasted, leading to feelings of defeat which have a domino effect on our productivity and mental stability. There’s bigger issues to worry about amidst this pandemic than how to perform our jobs effectively from the comfort of our homes. That having been said, there are so many people who have done it and done it well; with this tried and true home-based guide of how to get the job done, you can avoid reinventing the wheel and focus on the real task at hand- successfully working from home.

Get Creative With the Time You Used to Commute

Gaining back the time that you used to spend in your car or via public transportation just getting to work is one plus side for those working from home. That time is yours now and there is a lot you can do with it to work it in your favor. Rather than allowing yourself to sleep in or start the work day later, fill that time with beneficial activities or knock out small tasks on your day to day To Do list.

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For example, complete a workout or sit in ten minutes of meditation. It’s been proven over and over again that exercise does wonders for our mental health. The same can be said about meditation; it gives us an opportunity to work out the kinks of the brain and return to a place of calm and clarity. If there’s two ways to approach your work day with the best chance at success, it’s happy and healthy, especially with a virus that is constantly challenging us mentally and physically.

In every single home that resides in every nook and cranny of the world, there are tasks we must complete to keep our living spaces in clean and neat order. Enter the notorious “To Do” list– whether it be written in our minds, on our phones, or on a page of our planner, it is there and ever-looming. The laundry needs to be washed and folded, the dishwasher needs to be emptied, the dogs need to be walked, and so on. What used to take you 30 minutes to commute is now yours to tackle the tasks on your list so you can come to your work station with pre-existing momentum, ready and able to take on more.

Add Structure to Your Day

To a person not used to working remotely, the spontaneous nature of life at home can prove interruptive. A wonderful philosophy to inherit from veteran telecommuters is the “start at the same time, stop at the same time” approach. Similar to the clock-in, clock-out method you are accustomed to, if you come to your work station at the same time every day, you are dedicating x amount of time to the work that needs to be done. This removes several opportunities for you to think of other ways to be spending your time. Set a time frame that is achievable and designated to work and nothing else.

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Once that time is established, it’s wise to create a schedule for the time in between. There are many methods to making a schedule, so find the way that is intuitive and most helpful to you, whether it be an online bulletin board like Trello, the Notes tab on your phone, or hand-written on a piece of paper. Whatever it is, create it, update it, and stick to it. That said, don’t forget to schedule your breaks or a step outside! Just like you are given lunch breaks in the workplace, don’t let working from home allow you to overlook those much-needed times in your day where you eat or get a breath of fresh air. Vitamin D is great for the immune system which is your frontline of defense when it comes to the body fighting off the coronavirus.

Have a Work Ethic You Can Be Proud of

If there is one thing successful self-employed people had to learn, it is the concept of approaching the work day motivated by how much they could get done, not how much they could get away with. When you have to be self-motivating from the comfort of your home and luxuries, it’s easy to push back against the tasks on your plate and avoid them. Challenge yourself to learn new things, to push into what is uncomfortable or unappealing, and watch yourself get better at it everyday! It’s amazing what the mind is capable of and the more you see perseverance in action, the more confident you become in yourself. In turn, your work ethic becomes stronger-than-steel each and every moment you are feeding it the challenges it needs.

You are justified to have a lot on your mind right now. Given that we are so technologically connected, that connection becomes even more apparent and sought out in times of strife like we are currently experiencing. We quickly feed into our impulses to hop onto Facebook or Instagram so we can attempt to remove the feeling that we are the only ones suffering. This becomes even more challenging when working from home requires us to work from our computers where these social platforms are one click away.

While this is all completely understandable, take your best shot at avoiding such distractions. Netflix can have it’s time in your day, but it shouldn’t be while you are working. Face timing your mom or friends is important, but ease the temptation to pick up the phone and chat with them by reminding yourself that they wouldn’t want to hold you back from working, or perhaps, that they could be working too.

There are great resources out there, such as the Tide app, that allow you focus by helping you set parameters where such distractions are kept at bay. When you start to daydream or a flicker of thought comes up that reminds you about something you don’t want to forget, such as a recipe you want to try out or a movie you remember wanting to watch, have a place to jot down such thoughts for the post-work part of your day. This method allows you to prioritize what deserves your current attention so you can refocus on the task at hand.

Use Time on Your Hands to Brainstorm

The shift COVID-19 has made on our down or spare time is obvious. Where we used to go out with friends or to a restaurant and unwind, we are now limited by immensely. This is both a blessing and a curse- where it makes us feel confined and rigid, it also cultivates more creativity and bandwidth to give breath to new and innovative ideas.

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Whether you are an employee, employer, or taking advantage of self-quarantining to start your own business, get creative and write down all the ways your business is lacking or what it could use. By brainstorming in this way, you are opening yourself up to fresh perspectives and new ways to improve. Write down any and all ideas and feel each one out.

Does your company need to re-brand? Do you have trendy, invigorating ideas for your current company that would give it the edge it needs? Now might be a better time than ever given that coronavirus has put the immediateness of the economy on pause and is inspiring people across the globe to execute on ideas they used to only wish they had time to think about.

Are you working for a startup or are in the beginning stages of creating your business? Does it need a business plan, a logo, or a website? Maybe now is the time to start a fresh content marketing strategy or a new approach to social media.

Do you own your business and want to find ways to streamline your companies operating procedures or refine checklists currently in place? If you’ve finished your work for the evening and have some energy to spare, attempt to put it towards a project you’ve been hoping to start or refine one you already have in motion.

COVID-19 is certainly unlike anything our current world has ever endured. Requiring those able to work from home is just one of many examples. If working from home is something you are experiencing for the first time, be thankful for the opportunity. Working from home effectively is a skill. By cultivating healthy habits that are suggested to us by those that know it works, we find ourselves in a better position than we once were.

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