Approximately four weeks ago, we had to make an unexpected transition from working full-time at the office to working full-time from home. If you also find it difficult to stay motivated when working from home, I offer these tips that have assisted me in keeping my productivity up and distractions down during this time.
Set up a workstation outside of your bedroom
It can be extremely difficult to be productive when working in a room that you naturally associate with sleeping. Therefore, if you don't have a dedicated home office, create a workstation in a bright area of your living room or kitchen where it will help you stay motivated and focused on completing your work. You don’t have to commit to this space all day – I usually start my day by working in the living room and then I move over to the kitchen island when I start to get too comfortable. Changing your scenery, no matter how minimal the change, can help alleviate any boredom and refresh your concentration.
Continue to manage expectations and foster relationships
Regardless of whether or not you are in the office, ensure you keep your principals and clients updated on any new developments that arise on your files. Re-evaluate and advise the supervising lawyers of any new timelines for completing tasks. Ensure lawyers are made aware of the work you complete and that you’re continuing to take the initiative with new tasks. Revisit your list of deadlines and tasks every Friday – this will assist you in prioritizing your workload for the following week instead of delaying your Monday morning whilst trying to figure out a game plan.
Minimize your distractions and plan breaks
Schedule your workday in blocks of 60 to 90 minutes with a 10 to 15-minute break between each block. During a break, perhaps take a walk around the apartment (maybe squeeze in a few lunges or jumping jacks), play with your pet, or use your phone before getting right back to work in order to hold yourself accountable and reduce having your workday stretched out by distracting yourself for hours at a time with the TV or midday chores. If your phone serves as a distraction, try leaving it in another room.
Try to replicate the schedule you’re used to having in the office by continuing to organize a time to catch up with your friends from work. All of your co-workers are experiencing the same unknown circumstances you are. By being able to relate to one another, you’ll know you’re not alone and that you have their full support and understanding. This is especially important if you’re "social distancing" on your own and don’t have daily human interaction that may help alleviate your anxiety surrounding the COVID-19 outbreak and your work tasks in general. I am fortunate to be working with a group of students that have meshed perfectly together and offer daily support to one another. We have boosted each other’s morale over the past few weeks through FaceTime calls, sharing memes and videos, and by exchanging show recommendations and new hobbies we’ve taken up.
Staying active can help structure your day, boost your productivity, and keep you sane. Several Instagram fitness accounts are currently offering free live workouts, where hundreds of viewers tune in daily to workout at the same time. Personally, a group of friends and I have kept each other motivated to work out 3-4 times a week by streaming the live workout videos whilst video calling one another over the House Party App. Try to set goals and rewards for yourself (i.e. one snack for every second workout).
Stay home, stay safe, and stay sane!