Stay Productive During Social Distancing
Updated: Oct 5
So you're suddenly supposed to be a work from home guru and take a global pandemic in stride while feeding your family and making sure your children feel safe. I've worked from home for years, and where there's no quick fix to our situation, I can help you by sharing a few tips to help you stay productive at home during social distancing. (And no, you don't have to be superwoman or cook a gourmet dinner every night.)
1.Set A Schedule
A new routine is always jarring, so cut down on the stress by making yourself a new Self-Quarantine schedule for your weekdays. Here are some guidelines:
Schedule and stick to your regular waking and bed times as best you can. It can lessen the shock to your system and make sure you're getting your (much-needed) rest.
When telecommuting, if you can, use your normal commute time for some YOU time - such as yoga, breathing, working out, or something that helps keep you sane.
Don't just plan time for work and being at your desk or available to your employers. Give equal priority to your free time, calls or connecting with friends and loved ones, and rest/free time.
Regular meals and snacks can help break up the day and prevent you from feeling like everyone is going feral. Divide your day into times punctuated by a meal: Early Morning (breakfast), Mid-morning (snack/hydrate), Mid-day (lunch), Mid-afternoon (snack/hydrate/tea) and Evening (dinner).
More free time than usual? Here are 7 Ways To Stay Entertained At Home during Social Distancing.
2. Make, Then Prioritize, Your Task List
Write down your must-dos, should-dos and do-at-some-point tasks. Star the priorities and big deadlines, then shift or cross them off throughout the day. If it helps, make one for household and one for work.
3. Communicate With Your Team
When in a work-from-home situation, regular communication is key. If you are working remotely, sharing your task list with your manager and/or team members will help you stay on track, and your teammates will appreciate knowing you are on top of things. A short IM or text to let them know you're accomplishing tasks will help them feel at ease and hold you accountable. Plus, in situations where things can change pretty rapidly, they can let you know if certain tasks are to be put on the back burner or expedited, saving you time and frustration.
4. Set News Check-In times
Have you binged the news in times of crisis, watching and clicking until you fall down a rabbit hole? Me, too. It can also be extremely frustrating and depressing right now to see a ticker counting up new Covid cases or the dropping market. That said, we can't live under a rock during hard times. Choose a few select news sources that you trust, as close to the source of information as possible, and set check-in times and a limit to news binges. Bonus if you can combine the news videos with a jump on the treadmill or elliptical, or listen to a podcast while taking a run or walk.
Allowing 15-20 minutes in the morning, midday and evening gives us time for a quick discussion with friends or family to pass on any urgent news. This forces us to look away and get on with our day, but also to feel informed and like we have not missed out on anything major.
5. Time And Silence Social Apps
In times of crisis we all need to feel like we are not alone. But in order to stay productive, the constant updates can be a distraction. Silence or pause your notifications and check in on your feeds and your friends at set intervals throughout the day. Set a limit per day for all social media apps. Once your limit is reached, resist the urge to ignore it, and challenge yourself to find another way to connect with others (a good old-fashioned phone call?) or be entertained (play with the dog? Read a book?).
6. Stay Positive and Healthy
This is temporary, and the best thing to do is to right now is to stay informed, soldier on and help others to do the same! This experience is an opportunity to learn new lessons and gain new strengths. Take care of yourself, and check in on your tribe often. Take a deep breath, we've got this.