[UPDATE: Even though lockdown measures are starting to ease, this post will still be useful as remote work is becoming more and more important than ever.]
During the current climate of COVID-19, it’s important to stay at home. But it’s not as easy or simple as it seems. For those that are fortunate to not be severely affected by the virus, staying at home can entail different things.
Everyone’s situation is different. People are spending their time working from home, studying, looking after a loved one, volunteering, or simply just staying at home. Whatever your situation is, trying to stay productive might be a challenge. I’ve written this blog post to share the tips that have helped me to be more productive at home.
I’m using this time to blog more to share things I’ve learned. I would also like to do more online courses to improve my digital marketing skills. I’ve written some tips below on how I’m going to achieve my goals, and I hope they help you achieve yours!
Note: There’s no pressure for anyone to spend their quarantine period being productive. As mentioned, everyone’s situation is different. Mental health should always be a priority. If you want to spend your time to just look after yourself, then you should absolutely do that!
Write down your goals
We can make the best out of a situation by using this time to achieve our goals and learn new skills. Writing your goals down might seem like an obvious thing to do, but it’s actually sometimes overlooked. Having a list of what you want to achieve is so essential to attaining your goals.
Clearly knowing what you want to achieve and being specific about it is the first step to achieving it. Not only that, but it is important to make them realistic. As much as you want to be ambitious, if you set yourself up for idealistic yet unrealistic goals, you’re only going to get disappointed when you don’t achieve them.
- Think of three main goals you want to achieve during this period. Remember that goals are different from tasks (next step).
- Write the three goals in bold and place them somewhere you can see them like on a mood board on your desk. When we get busy we sometimes forget why we’re doing what we are doing and lose motivation. Seeing your goals every day might help remind and motivate you to work towards it.
- If you have a planner, write your goals down. Some fancy planners might have a ‘Goals’ section for the month like mine.
Examples of some goals
Write down a to-do list
Once you’ve established your goals, you can write down all the small/big tasks you can think of that will help you accomplish your goals. These can be tasks you need to do around the house; bits and bobs for work; tasks you want to accomplish for your own self-learning.
No matter how small or menial the task may seem, write them down anyway. You might think you’ll be able to remember all of them, but the more productive and busy you become, the more difficult it will be to mentally keep track of some tasks.
- Make a list of all the tasks on a piece of paper. This will give you a good representation of how much you actually want to accomplish. If you have a long list, you can list them under different goals. It also feels satisfying to tick them off!
- Download the To Do application by Microsoft on your devices. This is probably the best to-do application I’ve come across because it’s simple but has a good range of categories. It’s so simple to use and it’s cross-platform, making it easier to access your list on your phone and laptop. It makes a cool sound when you’ve ticked off a task.
Write up a schedule every night
I prefer writing my next-day tasks in my planner the night before just so I wake up and it’s written down. It’s also a nice time to wind down before going to bed, as I also write down what I did during that day. If I know I’m going to have a lot of tasks the next day, I’ll write a more detailed itinerary on my kiki K. task pad (you can use any task pad or just a piece of paper but Typo are currently doing a stay-at-home sale and have really cute officewear) with guided timings.
- Write down a list of what you want to do in your planner for the next day or for the day.
- If you have a long list and want to be super productive, add the time you want to start each task.
- Stick to your schedule as much as you can. This is why it is so essential to be realistic in your tasks and timings. Also, leave yourself contingency time.
Have a clean and inspiring workspace
Now, this is super vital. The environment you work in influences the way you work. A clear space promotes a clear mind. This is personally something I need to improve on as I often leave clutter sometimes. As I’m writing in this COVID-19 period, it’s not as if we don’t have time to clean our own space.
- Just do it. Just get it out of the way to de-clutter your space and create a beautiful area to work in!
Look after your physical & mental health
If you’re successful in following these steps and actually become a productive worker at home, then you need to maintain your work-flow by keeping your mind and body in shape.
- Have a healthy breakfast to start the day off. My favourite is making overnight oats with fruits. Get the recipe here.
- Feed your body and mind by constantly drinking water.
- Exercise even if it’s just doing a 10-minute workout each day.
- Watch your mental health. Take a break from social media and don’t have the news on all the time! Although it’s important to be up-to-date, too much exposure to information (that might not be accurate, or blown out of proportion) is not great for your mental health.
Share your goals with friends & family
I completely understand the saying around keeping your hustle quiet. I don’t tend to discuss my goals or side projects with most of my friends/family, just because I don’t want to sell myself short when later down the line I don’t actually go through with it. I believe it’s called Shiny New Object Syndrome when you’re initially so motivated and invested in working towards a great goal, and after a few weeks, or days, you’ve realised the journey is not so shiny anymore and give up. That is one of the reasons I don’t particularly like to share my goals/ side projects until I’ve actually accomplished them.
However, sometimes, sharing your goals or side hustles with one, a few, or a selection of people you trust may actually be very useful. For one, you have you’re own personal cheerleader that motivates you. Second, they can make you accountable. If you tell them of your goals and the steps you’re going to take to achieve them, naturally, they’re going to ask you how things are going. Having someone knowing what you want to do might give you that extra little push to not want to disappoint them.
- Let a few (or even just one) people around you know what you’re doing.
Keep it simple
A key to being productive, maintaining a good work-flow, and being disciplined is- as I’ve mentioned a few times before- to keep it simple and realistic. Make sure you have important goals set, plan them out and make them happen.
- Try to stick to the steps above as much as you can.
- Prepare yourself mentally that this will be quite difficult to stick to, but you can do it. It might be useful to read my post on the book Habits– especially the bonus nugget of preparing for inflection points.
I hope these tips helped because I’m going to use them to help me stay productive during this time.