The coronavirus pandemic took the world by storm, and it changed the way we live and connect.
It quickly became a lot more challenging to connect and talk with people, and for many around the globe, it also meant working from home for extended periods of time.
Figuring out how to be productive during quarantine is essential as there are plenty of tempting distractions at home begging for your interest.
Don’t let distractions hold you back from your best work, in this article I’ll provide some core tips and tools you can use to make your day super productive!
Create a dedicated workspace
If you’re serious about wanting to be productive during quarantine, creating a separate workspace at home should at the top of your list.
You want to have a place where you can work without being disturbed. That’s what will help you get your work done and achieve your goals.
It’s not always the easiest thing to do, but if you can, try to establish a workspace separate from your family members so that you can really knuckle down.
Set up your desk with all the things you personally need to make it a productive work environment. Perhaps more importantly, remove all distractions from your desk and workspace in general, this will help you focus.
Use tools to block any distractions
Figuring out how to be productive at home can be difficult. There are lots of distractions, such as family member interruptions, that are harder to stop. However, another distraction comes in the form of social media and other time-wasting applications.
Using blocking or focus related tools and apps will help to ensure you’re focused.
Apps or browser extensions like Freedom, Serene, FocusMe, Keep Me Out, LeechBlock, Cold Turkey, Post Box, Self Control, and so on are ideal if you want to stop any distractions.
Establish a routine
Setting up a regular routine can get you in the mood to focus and to complete your work more productively. For example, before sitting down at your desk you could, open your windows, perform 5 minutes sitting meditation, check your to do-list and organise it, and then turn on your computer. Your routine might be entirely different depending on your job and what works for you; the main idea is to create a routine and stick to it.
Declutter your space
Minimalism has become one of the most popular trends of the last few years and it’s not hard to see why. By removing what is not essential, you can feel free to create and focus on what really matters. It is rewarding to work in a space that’s not full of clutter, that is clean and allows you to focus.
You can start by taking a look at the space you’re working in, picking up each item and determining whether it truly is needed in order to help you get your job done or to bring you joy. Actually there is an entire ‘Minimalist’ movement on items bringing joy by Marie Kondo and enabling Joy at Work.
Be ruthless, if you have an ornament on your desk does it bring you joy? If you have some papers stacked up, what are they for? If you can’t detail why they’re there, or whether they bring you joy, remove them.
Create a plan for your day
In working from home you need to create a plan for your day, infact it is arguably far more important than if you’re at work!
To learn how to be productive during quarantine, you do need to be prepared and focused. That means having a plan is key otherwise you’ll end up just winging it throughout the day.
You don’t want to rush. Instead, you want to identify what you MUST complete during the day. Then you order these tasks based on importance and focus on handling the more challenging tasks first, if possible.
There are plenty of great apps that can help with this but one that stands out when it comes to prioritization and task management is Todoist. For more on prioritization and task management check out our post How to Prioritize Tasks in the Workplace: The Absolute Easiest Way.
Start learning new skills
When you work from home, it can be challenging to stay productive, and lose motivation to do new things.
That’s why, to be productive during quarantine, you should try to learn new skills whether personal or professional. Personal skills can help you to work more productively in your job and think more deeply.
If you’d prefer to tackle a professional skill, thankfully there are all kinds of online courses, YouTube, etc where you can learn or improve your skills inexpensively.
Establish a workout routine
It can be easy to gain weight when you work from home. One of the best ways to identify how to stay productive during quarantine is to create a workout routine. Apart from helping you lose those extra pounds, exercise is proven to boost productivity. Develop a set of workouts that are suitable for your level. You can start with beginner-level exercises and narrow down from there to more specialized exercises.
The best thing you can do is to try different workouts every day. Variation is important, and it will help you pursue different fitness goals at the same time.
Another good thing you can start doing when you work from home is meditating.
Again, there are a lot of meditation tutorials on YouTube and guidelines on online blogs such as ZenHabits. It all comes down to getting started and then comitting to a meditation routine every day.
Some of the most successful people in the world wake up early in the morning and meditate. The practice of medictation has numerous health benefits not the least of which is de-stressing – which has never been more important.
Taking breaks might sound counter-productive, but it’s precisely the opposite.
It’s essential and healthy to take breaks because this helps boost your focus and energy levels. You feel miserable if you end up not taking breaks, and instead, you work for hours and hours.
You want to focus on taking breaks intentionally, and you’ll definately surely see the difference. You don’t have to take extended breaks either; short breaks can still offer you great results, so get out and switch of during the day.
Improving your diet is also another way to learn how to be productive during quarantine.
The main focus here is that you want to avoid eating fast food or unhealthy foods in general. Instead, you want to focus on eating more veggies, seeds, and nuts.
Refined sugars and junk food shouldn’t be in your fridge at all. That’s especially true if you have a sedentary life in general, and carb heavy meals at lunch-time are what give you that crash around 3pm. Instead of reaching for a coffee, do 5 minutes of quick exercise to perk you up when you start to crash; it seems counterproductive but it really helps!
Dress up, even if you work from home
Many people choose to dress up when they work from home because it imposes a more professional attitude.
Sure, working in your pajamas might sound comfortable, but it doesn’t set a certain work ethic and your mind knows. That’s why dressing up even if no one sees you is very important. It encourages you to maintain a certain work ethic that can help boost your motivation.
Set a specific time for checking emails
If you check every email during the day, that can eat up a lot of time and lower your productivity.
One of the best ways to stay productive during quarantine is to set a time for replying to emails. It’s helpful because you get to be more focused and organized this way. It can help to implement a Time Management Strategy, check out our post Why is Time Management Important at Work: Powerful Tips & Tools.
You don’t have to worry about checking your email every 5 minutes, you reply to everything during your allocated times throughout the day, a little bit in the morning, a little at lunch, and the remainder before you clock off for the day.
Multitasking can be helpful
Since you’re working from home, you can try to complete some home-related tasks while running the laundry, preparing coffee, and so on. This can help you get things done, boost your productivity, and not stress about needing to complete those home tasks at the end of the day.
Establish your work hours
One of the problems, when you work from home, is the fact that it’s too easy to work overtime.
Establishing firm work hours will help you become motivated and more focused, eliminating pesky overtime before it creeps up on you. It will also make it easier to focus more on what you want to do instead of pushing to later in the day or evening.
Use tools that help you save time
There’s a lot of software that you can use to save time. As you will notice below, these tools are well known and easy to use. Many are free, or otherwise have a free trial. It’s a good idea to test out a couple of apps before deciding to jump into one and use it daily.
- Google Drive is a great tool you can use for storing and sharing files. You can also use DropBox or Sync, among many others.
- Using dictation software like Dragon Naturally Speaking is also helpful since you don’t have to write anything; this software does the writing for you.
- A money management tool like Wave or FreshBooks can make it easy to handle your finances and taxes.
- Time trackers like Rescue Time are efficient because you can identify how much time you spend on every task.
- Slack and other tools like this are great if you want to communicate with team members or project leaders regarding a particular project.
- If you are working on a larger project, use tools like Trello to save time, as it’s beneficial.
- Calendar tools like Google Calendar can help you save time and manage your meetings more efficiently.
As you can see, there are various methods you can use to learn how to be productive during quarantine.
It will take some time to fully instill productive practices into your daily routine and its a constant effort, but it pays in spades.
Using these tips and tools will help you boost your productivity and enhance your focus enabling you to reach your potential!