Stay focused, productive, and positive!

For many of us independent professionals, working from home is nothing new. So when COVID-19 hit, we were already set up with a proper work station and routine. What we weren’t used to (or ready for) however, was being homebound with severely limited in-person social and professional contact…with no end in sight.

Working from home is not the same as working from home during a pandemic. Some days it feels really hard to stay on task and not get distracted. Prioritizing our mental and physical health has taken on increased importance.

I asked a few of my colleagues to share some of the things they are doing to stay focused, productive, and positive while working from home during COVID-19. Here are some of the tips I’d like to share with you:

1. Minimize distractions. Turn off social media and news alerts on your devices to stay focused. If you like background noise, try playing music on low volume.

2. Move your body. Take a short walk or stretch each morning before sitting down at your desk. Jumpstarting your body is a great way to clear your head and begin your day.

3. Set clear working hours. Separate work hours from non-work hours. If you’re a morning person, start and finish early. If your energy and mental focus are optimal later in the day, schedule work time and meetings in the afternoons.

4. Get out of your pajamas. Dress for work as if you were going to attend in-person meetings…at least from the waist up!

5. Establish a designated work area. Don’t work from your bed. Do your best to create a work area that separates your personal and professional lives.

6. Eat in the kitchen or dining room. Enjoy your meals away from your computer and work desk. Sit at your kitchen table or spend 15 minutes eating outside.

7. Take regular breaks. Avoid sitting for hours on end. Get the mail, call a friend, or do a few minutes of gentle stretching after you complete an important task.

8. Go outside. Being outside relieves stress and allows you to connect with the world outside of your home. It’s a great way to hit your internal restart button.

9. Tidy up. Straighten up your desk/office at the end of the day and prepare a task list for the following day. Writing down and prioritizing tasks provides mental clarity. Understanding the items that can wait until tomorrow will allow you to enjoy your evening.

10. Learn something new. Challenge yourself with a new hobby! Exercising your brain by trying new things provides a great mental health boost. Take up herb gardening, try a yoga class, or attempt some new dinner recipes.

What are you doing to stay productive and positive during this strange time?

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