With 2020 being the year of work-from-home, we’ve all seen how easy it is to get distractive and be unproductive during the work day. I know I have personally taken a hit when it comes to productivity because it’s easy to go all day without leaving the house, turning on the computer, or even getting myself ready for the day. Throughout 2020, I have had to change my routine and build a better structure to help me stay on top of my game, and I’m sharing with you a few lifestyle changes that have helped me to stay productive and push forward in a time of adversity.
Not only do a keep a notebook right next to my computer all the time with to-do lists, but I make one every night before bed outlining what tasks are important to achieve the next day. I like to make it in Google Notes so that I can access it anywhere at any time. Outline the items that are important to achieve first, then add secondary items that are great to achieve, but you don’t feel pressure to achieve in that day like high priority items. Include even the smallest items, like getting ready in the morning or working out, because checking those off will help motivate you to continue checking items off your list.
Even though your schedule is more flexible, set a schedule every day and even set an alarm! As a mom, my little toddler alarm wakes me up every day at 8 a.m. regardless, but I usually try to get up between 6:30 and 7 a.m. to give myself time to wake up, get dressed, workout, or whatever my body needs to prepare for the day. Additionally, I make sure to build regular to-do items into my daily schedule, such as emptying the dishwasher every morning and loading it every night, completing cleaning during the baby’s first nap and working during her second, and in-between, making sure I spend time with her and ensure the pets are cared for. Finally, at night after the baby goes to bed, I make sure to block the time out for my partner so that we can have quality time to eat dinner together, watch a show, or play games.
When you make your daily routine or schedule, set aside time to achieve items on your to-do list. If you have a project that you know will take two hours, block out your calendar to prevent interruptions and put your chat on do not disturb. Use these blocks of time to focus your mind and change gears quickly because you know exactly what to do next instead of staring at your list hopelessly.
The hardest thing to do with a toddler and while working from home was finding the motivation to get up and actually get ready for the day. I felt that it was pointless because I wasn’t going out or seeing anyone, but it truly helped me to feel physically and mentally better every morning. It doesn’t have to be the same routine as if you were going into work, but even just waking up, showering, and putting clothes on other than pajamas makes a huge difference. Get up 20, 30, or 60 minutes early from when you usually need to be up and make time for you.
Temptation is the hardest thing when working from home, whether it be snacking or watching TV. Find a space in your home and set up a designated work space. Set yourself the same rules as you would if you were working in the office, such as designated break and lunch time. Pre-pack a lunch in the fridge to avoid the temptation of splurging during lunch, and give yourself a bonus at lunch, such as watching an episode of your favorite show, to help relax your mind and refocus your attention when you return to work. Also, turn off notifications on your phone that you know would distract you, like social media and email, to help keep your mind focused.