*sighs* another day – I don’t even know what day of the week it is – and we’re nearing the end of another lockdown. With plans placed on hold, again, and the unpredictability of when normality will return, we’ve all had to adjust to new ways of living.
With most of us working from home for the foreseeable future, there’s definitely some perks to it (MS Team meetings in your pj’s? Hell yeah!) However, we can’t seem to shake off the feelings of stress, boredom, and at times, feeling overwhelmed by it all.
Good news though? Those feelings are completely normal!
Compiled below are some simple, yet effective ways that might help in alleviating those feelings, and encourage you to make the most of each working day. Naturally, we’re all different individuals, and maybe not all of these tips will work for everyone. However, I do hope you find something of value here in this post.
1. Dealing with Uncertainty.
Dealing with the unknown is an unavoidable part of life. In this case, the pandemic has challenged us all to think long term and how we use this time efficiently. Envisioning the future is certainly the easiest option, and yet it can also act as a distractor; a way to lose focus of how we’re mindful of our current environment.
In short, you may be continuing to work from home for a while. With all this free time, perhaps stop and think of how you can improve your work ethic. Do you have certain planned hours in the day dedicated to work? How do you break up tasks so that you complete them quicker? What do you do to unwind from that work?
The act of simply being aware of your environment may seem like a tedious task. However, you’d be surprised at how a little goes quite a long way.
2. Set a Routine.
Without a steady schedule, it’s easy for the lines between work and personal time to become blurred. Sometimes it feels increasingly difficult to figure out what needs to be done, and what to devote your time to.
During the last few months, I’ve realised that the simple act of consistency was the best way to tackle this issue. Following your normal sleep and work patterns where you can, getting up at similar times, scheduling personal time, such as listening to music, or gentle exercise, before logging in to work.
Above all, scheduling a time where the workday stops. Finally closing your work diary, stop checking emails, and putting it all aside. Ask yourself; what helps you feel at ease? How might you switch your mind off work, so that you feel ready to tackle it the next day?
3. Make a Dedicated Workspace.
Where you can, find a quiet space away from people and distractors. Even in a small or shared place, try to designate an area for work. Declutter where you can to enable you to focus on the task at hand. Get everything you need in one place before working – pens, chargers, notebooks etc. – and remember to cater to your physical needs by having some water and a light snack around you.
Most importantly, when you have found that workspace, get comfortable! Have blankets or cushions where you can to feel secure and ready to tackle your tasks for the day. You might be working there for a while, so make the most of it.
4. Get Rid of Distractors. Seriously.
With all the time in the world, going on Instagram for a few minutes doesn’t seem like much, right?
In all honesty, the idea that you can waste a few minutes is completely false!
If distractions such as your phone, your TV, additional stimuli from the outside world is impacting your ability to concentrate, there are various ways to get rid of them temporarily.
Turn your phone onto aeroplane mode and hide it under the bedsheets. Close the door of your workspace if you can and listen to some focus-enhancing music (the Intense Studying playlist on Spotify works wonders!). Maybe give your phone to a family member for safekeeping, or even set timers on certain apps so you can’t easily access them.
5. Don’t push yourself to be productive.
It’s certainly not surprising when we begin to fantasise about potential work and activities we can finally get round to completing, given all this free time we have. Though the possibilities seem endless, it’s also not surprising that we expect too much of ourselves to be consistently productive, or even feel guilty when we don’t get something done.
Whilst it definitely feels rewarding to accomplish certain tasks and live a productive life, it’s equally important to draw a line between guilt and realising that sometimes the most effective way to get things done is….rest.
The pandemic has challenged us all to think of ways we can use this time efficiently. And whether you choose to accomplish smaller goals, or take on larger tasks, the underrated act of allowing your mind to feel at ease, no matter how that may be, is perhaps the most productive thing you can do.
So, I ask you: What does rest mean for you?
Now more than ever, we look at our lives from a different perspective. Our priorities might have changed. Perhaps we’ve been forced to think about the true value of focusing on the present. Maybe we’ve even discovered new ways of undertaking important responsibilities. Whatever it may be, always remember: You’ve got this!
Written by Tahani