I’ll be honest, I’ve engaged in an unhealthy relationship with the word “productive” lately.
This is mostly because during the coronavirus pandemic, it’s been a buzz word that stings. I have felt the pressure from myself as an overachiever and my from fellow Type-A personalities on social media to “use all this new free time” (especially with the extended stay-at-home order) “wisely” while social distancing.
Over the weekend, I Face-Timed one of my friends and straight up ranted (and cried) about the fact that I feel this uncomfortable weight on my shoulders to create copious amounts of content as a journalist, a blogger and a creative in general. This solid confidant (who is also a stellar journalist and content creator) reminded me that I’m not alone and that it’s okay and more productive to be kind to yourself and to not push the work flow. Yes, don’t be lazy but also forgive yourself if you switch out a couple hours of staring deeply into your computer for your favorite book or TV show. That is why I didn’t want to write another “how to be productive while working from home” post without the above disclaimer. Ahead are the Krischic-approved ways to work effectively from home:
Wake Up Early but If You Need to, Hit That Snooze Button:
Some people are morning people. Others night owls. My level of productivity tends to switch between the two. Before the stay-at-home order, my internal clock used to wake me before my alarm did at 6:45/7:00 a.m. Post-pandemic, some mornings I find myself awake at 8 a.m., some 11 a.m. if I stayed up late reading a book (which is both fun and productive). Guess, what? That’s okay! I didn’t lose half the day sleeping in if I’m working twice as well after a full night’s rest.
Work Out Before You Get to Work:
I cannot stress this step enough, and I say this as a fitness novice. Pre-pandemic, I rarely took part in Pilates and yoga because I walked so much every day that I didn’t feel the need. Spending an entire day indoors besides the occasional sanity walk (my brother hates when I used that phrase, but whatever) has led me to crave working out. My personal favorite routines for staying quaran-toned are Blogilates and any workout video with Aubre Winters (I’ve actually done one of her classes in person pre-pandemic, and can attest to how effective her workouts are).
Stick to Your To-Do List, but Don’t be a Stickler
My chocolate leather planner is the extension of my arm. Usually if I write a goal down, I’m more likely to get it done because of the endorphins released in my system when I highlight something I’ve completed. However, my lists are normally ambitious, which means the elements at the bottom will carry over into the next day. I am learning to be okay with this, and you should be too. Knock out the top priorities first. Whatever is left over will not be the end of the world. Another wise friend of mine once told me to switch out, “I wasn’t so productive today,” for “I did my best for today, considering the circumstances.”
Create a Space That Evokes Inspiration:
As an LA local who has relocated to NorCal for the time being to shelter-in-place with family, I recognize that this step can be a little difficult. Operating in a confined space with multiple people that have to coordinate TV schedules, Zoom meetings, and film schedules (for work and for fun) can be a bit of a juggling act. If I or someone else in my household has an important call, we usually notify one another ahead of time and kindly ask for everyone to keep their voices down. This is especially important for me because I don’t have a desk in my room, so I use the dining room table to work. Elements as simple as noise-cancelling headphones in my ears, a completely clean and clear surface, (here’s a solid playlist to listen to) and a Nespresso coffee in hand keep me going through an assignment. Other additions for inspiration may include lighting a scented candle with essential oils and an escapist desktop photo (mine is of the Trinity College Library in Dublin) can do the trick.
Wear a Power Suit—That Doesn’t Have to Be a Suit:
I found a happy medium between workwear and loungewear with a matching beige set paired with an oversized blazer. Monochromatic sweats instantly look luxurious and high end, even if the price tag isn’t. Plus adding a blazer and a red lipstick are a low-maintenance way of looking ready for any Zoom meeting with your staff, interviewee, or client.
Recognize When You Need to Take a Break (and it’s okay if that’s often)
As per my phone call with my friend, you’re going to have days and moments when you feel more up to working than others. That is why it is imperative to take frequent rest periods throughout the day, or week. Heck, if you can afford to take a whole work day off, do that too. Watch a TV show (one of my all-time favorites is TV Land’s Younger), read a book (I’ll have a list of my favorite quarantine reads up soon), watch a TikTok video! Seriously. You’ll feel better and get more done tomorrow.
How do you stay productive while at home? I’m always looking for more tips myself!
Keeping it Krischic,
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