So, maybe now you are working at home, or at least trying to. Maybe your context is not helpful: too many kids or roommates, too much noise, your thoughts are running a million miles a minute, or you have run out of productive things to do.
A few years ago, I had to finish a writing project (AKA Dissertation) at home, and I really struggled at first. Following here are a few practical things I learned along the way that may help you focus while you work from home the next weeks:
- Set an alarm and get up. Pretty basic, but not only will this regularly help you work now, it will also help you get back on track when it is time to go back to the office.
- Get dressed. It may seem unnecessary, but you will work better, longer, and with more focus if you are in real clothes.
- Sit in a real chair if at all possible. If you can, reserve the couch for times of interaction and watching Netflix. The chair will help to remind you that you still have things to do. It may also help you set boundaries for your family and/or roommates to let them know when you are working.
- Find a window to look out once in a while. For some of us, natural light and a horizon are a pretty special bonus of “Safer At Home”!
- Plan your day—and be realistic. You will not be automatically more productive because you are home. Have a list of things you hope to accomplish each day.
- Make plans for the evening, too. Make sure that you plan time for your family and/or roommates, too, and have something to look forward to when the workday is over. For example, one of my favorite authors, Andrew Peterson, is reading out loud from his Wingfeather Saga on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/andrewpetersonmusic/ My Bible Study is still meeting by Zoom, and several friends have asked me to eat (virtual) dinner with their families.
- Keep your music wordless. This will help to keep your thoughts focused. Classical, Baroque, bluegrass instrumental, and soundtracks have all helped me not go off in some daydream loop.
- Get up and move. Every couple of hours, do some squats or a plank, run around the house, do a bear crawl. Do at least one extended exercise session daily. Walk, or join a virtual class. One local gym is posting workouts and classes here: https://www.facebook.com/HenryMayoFitness/
- Pray for your colleagues and send an email or card to a colleague, pastor, or work partners.
Blessings as you work hard to work during your quarantine!