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Monday, March 23, 2020

5 Tips on working from home and being productive



Another week many Americans are working remotely this week. I am with you and let me be the first to say it is hard! If you are a parent, it is double hard! I have a 4 month old at home with us and it has been quite the challenge for my husband and I to manage. Some days a schedule works and others we are just making it work on the fly. 

Last year I started my first year of working from home. At first it felt great but as time goes on it has its pros and cons. Some days I felt lonely and missed office interaction. Others times I found myself distracted by housework and couldn't ignore it. Being disciplined and maintaining a work schedule some days were trying as well. 

Over time I found some ways that worked for me and are helpful:

Create a morning routine

For me this step is key! You have to approach your morning like you are going to head out to the office and have a boss that is micro managing your time. Stick to a time to wake up and start your day. Now that I have a newborn, some start times can change depending on his feedings but if everything goes as schedule here is my routine:
7:00 am Feed Mateo
7:30 am take a shower
8:00 am Prayer time | make coffee | make a quick breakfast  
8:30 am Put Mateo down to sleep
9:00 am start my work day

Doing this consistently creates a ritual that you will develop a healthy habit into doing automatically. Its healthy for your mental state to develop structure and just like children I feel that most adults require structure in their lives. 

Create a dedicated office space

Everyone's housing situation looks different whether you live in a home with a spare room or a studio apartment find a creative way to designate a space for work. For me its in front of my bed sitting on my bench and putting a tray in front of me. It works. Just remember don't make your space too cozy because it can be hard to be as productive. For me I like my bedroom because its the best space in the house with natural light. Tip: find a space where you have natural light!

Cut out distractions

This was an important productive habit to cultivate. A quick peek on Instagram and the next thing you know you are an hour into scrolling and watching IG stories. Lots of people have different distractions. Another one for me is the kitchen not being tidy. I don't like to start my morning with clean dishes not being put away. Make sure to eliminate these distractions at night so you don't end up cutting into your morning routine. 

If you need extra help to stay focused check out these apps:
- Flora - Focus habit tracker 
- Flipd - Focus & Productivity
- Forest - Stay Focused app
- Productive - Habit Tracker

Try the Pomodoro Technique

Comodoro Technique is a time management method invented by Francesco Cirillo in the late 1980s. The technique uses a timer to break down work into intervals of 25 minutes in length and separated by short breaks. This might not work for everyone but I found that it kept me focused on a task and when needed to regroup I would stretch or grab some more water. This is great for mental breaks because it breaks up those feelings of burn out. 

Plan out your daily tasks in categories

In whatever format you prefer to write down your daily tasks put down the three top things that you need to get down and tackle those first. This is great for your work day confidence knowing that you got tasks accomplished. There is no better feeling that striking a task off your list! 
You can also go as far as carving out time in your day to work on each task. If you are writing an e-book carve out a time slot in your schedule to work on it. 
Here is an example:
9 - 10 am Work on Chapter 2 of E-book 
10-10:10 am Take a short break
10:10-10:30 am work on emails

When you break up your day this does two things:
1. Forces you to focus on getting things done
2. Helps you multi-task


Last helpful extra tip:

Find a solitary way to get outside

Depending on where you are in the country and how strict your governor or mayor mandates are, if you need to just go into your backyard and breathe fresh air then do it. If you live in an apartment open your window and just let some fresh in. If you go for a walk make sure you are keeping social distancing and make it short. 

At the moment this is our current "new normal" but make sure to responsibly incorporate self care and your mental health into your work day! We will get through this guys!



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