Most of us are now working from home, feeling overwhelmed and stressful each day. We’re all learning how to juggle homeschooling, and/or teaching from home, and maintaining a comfortable home. It’s a lot to juggle. I want to share some practical tips to support a healthy and productive day!
“Focus on what you can control, rather than what you can’t.”
Our days need some sort of structure. A routine can give you a sense of purpose each day. We know what to expect from the time we wake up, until we go to bed. Take about an hour to do the things that make you feel good. Take time to slow down in the morning. Spend time with the family and your favorite breakfast. Savor the conversations over a bowl of cereal. Enjoy the morning being together. Keep the phone asleep. It gives our mind a chance to transition into the day. Gives our body a chance to wake up. Have something you look forward to doing in the morning.
Get Ready for the day
The thought of working from home could mean a couple of things can hinder the process. I find working in bed or pjs can feel less productive. We’re more incline to feel lazy and less productive. Start your day just like before quarantine. It’s important to get ready for the day. I think it would be beneficial to put in some time to get ready. I decided it would be better to freshen up, get ready for the day as if I were to go out. Take a shower helps to wake up the body. If you have children, this is most critical to maintain a set routine. Have children get up their usual time and get ready. Dress comfortable, (yes pjs can feel comfy, but then you’ll feel sleepy). I love to wear a pair of jeans, nice button up or short sleeve top, and cozy socks. You can look good, but feel comfortable at the same time.
When you look good, you feel good.
Even when I schedule Zoom video chats with my students, I’ll add a little more details to my outfit. I don’t want to give my students the impression I’m not ready to teach. Getting ready prepares you for a productive day.
Keep a tidy space
Keep a space that is tidy and clutter free as much as possible. When the workspace is messy it can become a source of distraction. Do a quick clean, tidy up from the night before and create an organized workspace. Organize your work space, where it can be more functional. Reduce the appearance of distractions.
Turn it into a fun activity, so your children can help. Sing a clean up song. Create a job chart of task children can do each day, i.e. paper manager, pencil manager, chair manager, etc. Pinterest has great at home job charts. Use clear bins for their pencils and crayons, books on a shelf, and papers in plastic folder. Label the bins or folders with a picture so children can recognize and recall where items belong. Children love to be helpers and handle responsibility. Reward them with a sticker or a favorite snack during lunch time.
A messy space equals a messy head. -Meghan Livingston
Make a checklist
Prepare a general checklist for the week. It can be helpful to have things concretely written down on a calendar, planner, or notepad. Something easily accessible, I like to use Google Keep. I can view it at anytime. My list consist of 15-20 things, adjust accordingly. Essentially, I take my long checklist and break it down into a micro list (2-3 items) to complete daily. By the end of the week, I will have completed my list. However, there are some items I may not have gotten to, so I put them on my list for the next week. Try your best to not have the same items linger on the list. I’d even suggestion using a checkbox design, its gratifying to see the check mark (or to cross off) things from the list. Overall, make sure it is practical and doable.
For the children, create a simple daily schedule. Write it on poster board, be creative and decorate with pictures for visual effect. This will help keep things in perspective and simple. Put it up at their eye-level. It’ll help them understand the flow of the day. Make sure to discuss it with the children to ensure they understand its functionality and value. More importantly, ensure all family members in the household are following the schedule. Children will do what they see modeled.
Take time to celebrate accomplishments whether big or small. Be more attentive about what you’ve completed, rather than always focusing on what you haven’t finished yet. Celebrate your wins. Give yourself credit. Remind yourself that you can only do so much in a day.
Have a celebration, like treat yourself to frozen yogurt, pizza, or having a friends video chat over dinner. We all earn some time to appreciate our wins, rather than wallow in failures. You are doing great!
While working from home, there is always going to be the inclination to check your phone, social media. We’re all guilty of doing this. I do it, too. I found the best practice is to turn off phone notifications and beep noises. At times, I’d keep my phone in another room. Although, there maybe times we need our phones nearby for work-related. There may be an option available on your phone to mute all notifications and text messaging for a specific timeframe. Check with your provider for assistance.
The same with children working on devices for educational purposes. There are child lock features for iPads, tablets, and laptops. Set the screen to a specific display and disable any other functionality. This will keep your child on task, limit their device functionality, and prevent them from straying away from learning.
Try to setup a work-space in a quiet part of the home. Less noise and traffic. Discuss with the family about the work schedule and ways to help reduce distractions. Work together.
I strongly advise taking breaks, such as getting up to stretch, standup, eat a lunch (or snack), and walk around. Try doing a non work activity to give your brain release. What matters is doing something to give your mind a break and get you moving. Sitting for hours isn’t good. Find ways to be active. Quite easily, we will work through our lunch. I’d even forget to take bathroom breaks. Listen to your body and take breaks when you need one.
Children will indicate when they need a break. They can get antsy when they are sitting for too long. Go outside and get some fresh air. Play with hula hoops, toss football, or blow bubbles. Enjoy a nice walk. Fresh air helps to awake the senses and gives you space to breathe. Soak up the sun, listen to nature.
Something to look forward to
“I feel like I am in a rut”. It’s normal to feel like this. I’d rather be watching youtube, check social media, binge watch on Netflix, or checking the news. What if we put those aside, for later. Something we can do, when the work is done for the day. Think of it as a special treat for a job well done. The beauty of this is, when you do get a chance to enjoy it, you won’t be distracted by unfinished work. Ha! This can really help to boost motivation, because you have something to look forward, too.
I hope these tips are helpful. Some of you may already be doing these things on a regular basis. Maybe it’s something new, I hope this has encouraged you to give them a try. Thanks for reading!
If you have any tips, please share in the comment section, below!
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