The loss of structure and the comfort of our homes during self-isolation can negatively impact even the most productive of us. It isn’t easy getting down to business and juggling ten different things at once. Some of the 14Y staff who know this feeling all too well have some useful tips on how to stay productive during this time to share.
Try to keep a normal morning routine. Wake up at a good time, make coffee, and eat breakfast. Also don’t wear pajamas or sweatpants. Dressing down is fine, but wearing jeans instead of athletic wear makes the day feel more like work.
One way I have been maintaining productivity and managing my extremely busy schedule is through the use of alarms. I have many alarms to remind me of the time and even alarms to remind myself to stand up and walk around! Another good tip is to set the alarm to something different than the default alarms. It’s fun and has helped me tremendously!
Associate Executive Director, Operations and Business Strategy
I was struggling to balance work, my son’s school, keeping the food planned, etc, and had lists and post it notes everywhere. So, I started a bullet journal about a month ago, which is an analog system designed to help you keep your tasks organized in ONE place. The great thing is that there is a standard outline, but you design it yourself. No two bullet journals are the same. I looked up different templates and created a style that works for me. I really love the system and feel much more organized and in control.
Director of Arts + Culture
Boundaries: Setting boundaries made my work more focused and recently has drastically improved my quality of life. The most difficult moment for me was moving initially to a virtual model for meetings and all communication. I was receiving texts, WhatsApp messages, phone calls and emails at all hours and literally was losing my sense of self. These communications were completely unfiltered. And it is so stressful to know how to “turn off” from your work mode when you are not leaving a physical space. It’s all in your home, so how do you distinguish one moment from the next? So I created boundaries for myself (for example, don’t read emails “after hours”) and for colleagues (during work hours, please no WhatsApp messages, and no phone calls unless scheduled in advance).
Lunch is sacred: Block off your lunch time. I block an hour of my day to make lunch and connect with my husband. I find this moment crucial to feed my body and soul.
Transparency with empathy: If someone has an issue with my boundaries or work method, I don’t take it to heart. I communicate within my structure with as much empathy as possible while remembering the good old mantra: “Your lack of preparation is not my emergency.”
Director of Marketing
I found that creating a schedule, both for work and for personal life, has been extremely helpful. It’s really easy to get absorbed in work and before you know it, you’ve been sitting hunched over working for five straight hours!
I make sure that my schedule always includes at least a 30 minutes break for lunch and a 15 minute break in the morning and afternoon for a snack. This is something I build into my schedule and do my very best not to move. I work my schedule around this important time for me to stretch and nourish myself.
I also created a really pleasant work space for myself. This designated spot in my home features a cute calendar, fun photos, notepads and colorful pens to take notes. I even have scented candles, a cute lamp, some tasty snacks in a pretty jar, and plants. Having an enjoyable space to work makes me feel more productive. It’s also important to have a good chair to ensure proper posture. Sitting on your couch doing work isn’t good for your back. Plus, you want to keep a designated workspace in your home, so that the rest of your home is associated with relaxation rather than the stress of work. Your body will notice the difference!