10 tips to stay sane and maximize productivity while working remotelyMonday, April 06, 2020
WORKING remotely might have sounded like a good idea for many of us...until we actually had to do it. Suddenly the movie scene of you clacking away at a laptop in your underwear on the couch while eating your favourite home-made snack with Netflix in the background doesn't seem so realistic. Instead, you are lying in bed until 10, struggling to make a meal between web chats, trying to help the children with schoolwork, and keeping a batting eye on the washing machine.
It's time to get it right!
CEO of Branson Centre of Entrepreneurship, Lauri-Ann Ainsworth, has been teaching entrepreneurs how to increase productivity through self-care and focusing on mental and physical wellness for years, and she believes these things are even more critically important with a pandemic wreaking havoc on the world.
“In this time when businesses have to close their doors and many of us are trying to work from home, it is important that we take care of ourselves mentally, physically and spiritually, and also stay productive,” the certified holistic wellness coach told All Woman.
She gave these tips to boost self-care and productivity levels while working remotely:
Get enough sleep
“You have to take care of yourself to take care of business,” she said. Let's face it though, that will probably be the easiest tip to follow when working a few footsteps away from the bed.”
Ainsworth pointed out that losing the convenience of your workplace's canteen or your favourite lunch spot might throw your diet off, as you may not feel inclined, or have enough time, to make proper meals all day.
“Plan meals ahead of time, especially when you have children at home,” she recommended. “What I've been doing is cooking extra food so when it's lunch time I don't have to prepare the meal — just warm it up.”
“These are the essentials — proper sleep, food and physical activity. With these you will be able to make better decisions,” she said.
“You may not be able to go to the gym, but you can work out at home. There are so many free videos online that can help you, especially if you are someone who are just getting into it. If it's even five minutes per day at first, just get moving.”
“Your spiritual well-being is key to managing this period,” she said. “It's easy to get frustrated and perhaps lash out at your children and family members because everybody is at home together. Meditation helps you to remain calm.”
Make a schedule
“In order to stay productive, you need to have a schedule that is very similar to your regular routine to try to maintain some kind of normalcy,” she noted. “Schedule your day in such a way that you are able to get things done in batches. It's not realistic to expect to get your eight hours of work done from 9-5, particularly if you have children at home, so it's important to set a structure to have those important deliverables done early.”
These work hand in hand with a schedule, and are for yourself just as much as everyone else, she said. “If you have family at home with you and you need to get work done, you need to let them know what times you will be available, and when they can talk to you,” she explained.
“Also, you can't be trying to do housework while working. This is counterproductive. You must also create boundaries for yourself.”
Ainsworth acknowledged that it can be difficult to assess how much you have achieved in a day when you spend all your time in the same place, so realistic targets must be set to maximise productivity.
“Be very strategic in how you use your time,” she said. “If you're leading a team and you're all working remotely, it's important to set deliverables to keep them accountable. What do you need them to get done? Ensure you give them a reasonable timeframe to complete tasks, as this helps to maintain structure for the entire team.”
Keep the children in check
“If you have children at home, it's important to, as much as possible, keep their structure as well,” the mother of two shared. “The first few days at home were chaotic because no one was sure how long this was going to last, but I quickly realised that I have to get them back into a structure. What I find works best is having them wake up at a time similar to when they would wake up for school, and give them activities to keep them engaged throughout the day.”
Limit screen time
“Sticking them in front of the TV is not a panacea, particularly because we don't know how long this thing is going to last,” she warned. “If it goes on for weeks and weeks, you want to ensure that your children don't fall off their schedule. Ensure they are keeping up with their school's curriculum while at home, and that they are also getting some time to play and be active.”
Make time for family
“Whether it's a movie night, making a meal together, helping them with schoolwork or going outside to play as a family, ensure that you are actually bonding while at home,” she said. “Sometimes they're going to be in your space while you work on separate things, and you can use that opportunity to bond too.”
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