This blog will be little bit different than what AmericanChecked typically posts. After all, we are living in a unique time and unique times call for a little change.
The coronavirus has rocked the lives of Americans and changed how we work, play and stay connected with each other while social distancing ourselves. Sheltering in place mandates are becoming more frequent and people are staying home for longer periods of time before running essential errands like going to the grocery store.
With all this extra time, it’s easy to find the comfy spot and the couch and catch up on all the Netflix shows everyone is talking about (looking at you, Tiger King). So how do you stay motivated when you’re stuck at home for an indeterminate amount of time?
1. If You’re Working From Home, Set Up a Dedicated Office Space
While sitting on the couch and watching television while working on your laptop sounds tempting, it’s more than likely going to affect your productivity. Set up an area in your home that serves as a dedicated workspace with as few distractions as possible. This area should be a place where you go to work and then step away from – it should not be the bed or couch.
If your children are old enough to understand, set ground rules with them and other family members and/or roommates about disruptions during working hours.
For those parents at home with young children (as I write this, my two-year-old is asking me the same question over and over while climbing a ladder), we see you. We salute you.
2. Maintain Your Normal Routine
Before social distancing and sheltering in place, did you go to your favorite coffee shop for your half-caff, extra dry, no foam double espresso? Keep that routine but make your own custom drink at home. Amazon has a ton of inexpensive options for grinding beans and brewing that perfect cuppa joe.
Did you wake up and workout every day? Just because your gym is temporarily closed, doesn’t mean you can’t keep that routine. There are hundreds of fitness apps out there vying for your attention. Kicking boxing. Yoga. Barre. HIIT. Planks. Circuit. It’s all out there.
Plus, the ingenuity of small businesses cannot be underestimated. Many boutique fitness centers and gyms are taking their classes online to active members to keep everyone in their communities engaged and active during this time-out.
Without maintaining a semblance of normalcy, you may soon find yourself disorganized and overwhelmed.
3. Keep Normal Office Hours
Just because you’re working from home doesn’t mean that it’s a seven-day weekend. Getting up at the same time and keeping your typical routine as much as possible is the best way to get into that “work-mode mindset.”
Studies show that morning people are more proactive and more likely to identify with the idea of being in charge of making things happen.
What better way to way to stay motivated than to fuel your fire for making things happen by waking up early?
Other studies have shown that night people are often more creative and sometimes smarter. If you know yourself well enough to know that morning is not when you make things happen, then don’t waste time trying to become a morning person. Instead set aside time to focus when you do your best work.
4. Keep Connected
Zoom digital meeting software is having a moment right now. Whether it’s keeping up with colleagues on the day-to-day tasks or having a digital happy hour with friends, it’s imperative that while we are all separate, we remain connected for our mental health and overall happiness. Humans are social creatures; we just have to find new ways to interact during this unprecedented time.
5. Use Productivity Software
Even if you aren’t working from home, productivity tools can be a lifesaver for keeping organized. No more handwritten “to-do” lists. Here are some of the most popular productivity tools used by remote teams. Best part, most have a free option
- Asana – Asana is a task management software that helps you track your projects, view upcoming deadlines, and submit work. Asana also sends notifications of upcoming deadlines.
- Slack – Slack is one of the most popular communication tools for remote teams on the market. With Slack, you can message everyone on your team, create specific chat channels for different projects and share files as well as add comments to documents. If your company happens to be on Microsoft 360, Teams offers similar functionality.
- Dropbox – Dropbox is a cloud file sharing program that is perfect for organizing your files and sharing large files. With Dropbox, you’ll never have to worry about wasted time or jamming up an inbox ever again.
- Evernote – Evernote is a notetaking and organizational app that allows users to easily share ideas, meeting notes, web pages, projects and track to-do lists.
- Airtable – Airtable is a work management application available on web and mobile that enables you and your team to communicate, share documents, collaborate around tasks and get organized together. The best part is the free version offers a lot of functionality for both teams working remotely and the solo individual to create workflows and track project progress.
6. Take Regular Breaks
Even while staying motivated and on task, it’s important to get out from behind your computer. Take regular breaks and step outside to breathe in the fresh air and get some vitamin D.
Taking breaks won’t hinder you from checking off items on your task lists. In fact, there is plenty of science to back up the claim that productivity increases when you take breaks.
The Atlantic has even developed a formula for identifying the perfect work-break balance.
7. Keep Your Meetings Short, Sweet & *Gasp* Even a Little Fun
We are living in an unprecedented time in modern history that has a lot of people panicked and scared. It’s easy to get lost in the negativity of news reports and constantly refreshing the CDC site for the latest statistics on COVID-19’s impact.
Keep your team’s spirits high by playing a game during one of your Zoom calls. Have a contest on the best virtual background. Host a virtual lunch get-together or happy hour with your team. Find the joy in the little things to keep things light and everyone grounded.
After all, we are all in this together. And remember: even in this monumental time in history, this too shall pass.