The so-called “new normal” completely changed the way we manage and balance our professional and personal lives. Before the pandemic — for those who were not used to working from home — home was a place almost entirely dedicated to family or leisure time. Suddenly, most people saw themselves being “forced” to turn their places into office spaces. To make things even more complicated, they had to start sharing the same workrooms with their spouses and their kids’ homeschooling.
What can these people do to deal with all these day-to-day domestic activities while still respecting all the new virtual office etiquette rules? Here is a list of easy-to-do things to help you succeed in this new adventure.
1. Finding the Best Spot
Being a very distracted person, I was having a hard time concentrating on my work and college activities. At first, I thought the place I had chosen to create my home office structure wasn’t affecting my productivity. But, unconsciously, it was. As a matter of fact, I was working in the same place where I sleep. So basically, I was spending entire days inside the same room, without a change of scenario.
Specialists say that you should definitely avoid your bedroom during working hours. This is because our brain and body associate the place with productivity, causing you to have sleeping problems. Or the opposite, making you feel tired and sleepy when you should be focusing on your job.
In other words, the first thing you should do to improve your productivity is to find an appropriate place — that is not your bedroom — to set up your home office station.
2. Looking Good, Feeling Fine
I believe we can all agree with the fact that one of the best things about working from home is the possibility to work in our PJs, right? The time we would spend dressing up with layers and layers of clothing to create our business — and winter — look, could be used for more important things, such as sleeping a little longer. However, if your occupation requires frequent Zoom meetings, you should think twice before appearing on camera with your baby Yoda sweat pants.
The first thing you can do is program an alarm for at least half an hour before the time you plan on officially starting your daily routine. It will give you time to plan your day, check if you will have meetings and then chose the perfect look for the occasion.
In addition to creating a good impression on your boss, clients and workmates, dressing for work can also help you feel better about yourself. Some specialists say there is a connection between getting dressed for the day and peoples’ general mental state. In other words, the way you dress unconsciously sends a message to your brain telling what you are prepared to do. Therefore, if you wear sweat pants, you are either ready to go to the gym or sleep all day.
Note: I wonder how a person using business clothing from the waist up and PJ pants must feel…
3. Organizing a To-do list
As I mentioned at the beginning of this article, some of us now see ourselves lost when handling personal and business activities at home. Multitasking was never that necessary as it is right now. People have to cook, clean the house, take care/play with their kids while still working from 9 am to 5 pm on average. I know it is a lot, and sometimes it can be mentally and physically exhausting, but there’s no need for panic.
The best thing you can do is plan your days, your week or even the entire month in advance. One thing that has helped me a lot was a weekly planner. I bought the paper version — not very environmental-friendly, I know — but you can also find free templates online. The planner will help you get a better view of your days and organize your tasks and duties.
Maybe, if your list is full of challenging and complex activities, you can feel unmotivated, and procrastination may seem like the only option available. To avoid this situation, it’s a good idea to break these tasks into smaller, and more manageable parts. Besides improving your productivity, you will also feel proud and accomplished once you see all these activities checked on your planner.
Note: Don’t forget to add some breaks in-between your tasks. Moreover, remember to save some quality time for you to do what you like. After all, you deserve it, right?
4. Being Flexible and Comprehensive
By now, I guess you have probably watched the viral video of the attorney that accidentally joined a video court hearing while using a Zoom filter that made him look like a cute white kitten. Or maybe the priest who accidentally activated facebook filters while broadcasting a mass. Besides the comical side of these stories, there is also an important takeaway from them: if you find yourself in a similar situation, don’t be so hard on yourself.
Can you imagine how people had to drastically change their lives in less than a year? Parents have to manage multiple activities simultaneously, teachers had to become digital influencers in order to engage their students, and people who were not familiar with digital platforms had to learn how to manage their lives in an online environment.
I know this will sound very cheesy, but we are all in this together. You are not the only one facing new challenges, such as sharing your workspace with other family members, having technical issues with your internet connection, and forgetting to unmute before speaking — or don’t realizing you are unmuted when saying bad things about your boss. Remember to be flexible with yourself and with others around you.