Many of you may be transitioning into forced working from home or learning from home situations, and so I wanted to hop in and share something I feel I can add some value to and help with tips on how to thrive in this change, as someone who runs an online business and has managed remote teams, has been working from home for nearly a decade, and who took university entirely online.
I’ve Been Working From Home & Learning Online Since 2010
It can be difficult to stay focused when you’re learning or working from home, especially when you are new to it. I’ve had several people tell me in the past they dropped out of online school, or just couldn’t focus while working from home, and I think that comes down to thinking it might be easier or not understanding that style of learning. We have already seen massive shifts in self-education, remote work, and online learning, and society will continue heading this way, so now is a great time to learn the skills you will need not only short-term but for future shifts.
How To Stay Productive Working From Home
I have 4 main tips on how to be productive when you are working from home.
Build And/Or Continue Your Morning Routine
I see 2 traps people fall into when they start working from home. They either sleep in because who cares, or they dive into work the minute they wake up. I want you to stick to a morning routine.
Get up as usual, be consistent. Once you do get up, do something that gives to you and your energy before you give your energy to working. This can be going for a walk, meditating, exercising, or journalling. Whatever it is, grounding yourself in the morning is incredibly important, and it sets the tone for the rest of the day.
Control and protect your mornings.
Learn Time Management
Having to learn the style of learning I did by taking my university online, helped me learn to manage my time and take those skills into self-education and working from home.
If you have been attending school or an office, chances are you have some level of someone else dictating your schedule and your day. When you are working from home, more of that is up to you. If you can adapt to this well, you will become more productive by being able to manage your energy better. You know the times of day that you’re on and can truck through a big creative project, vs the times that you need to shift your work style because you’re a bit more foggy. No matter how much caffeine you take, we all naturally have the highs and dips in energy throughout the day.
I suggest setting goals and focusing on the top priorities and projects you NEED to get done, and try to prevent a lot of task switching, as you can waste a lot of energy switching between focuses, and trying to build momentum on a task.
When you have the momentum use it.
Take Breaks & Stay Active
Breaks are also important, despite having momentum on a specific project. If you take breaks the right way, they don’t entirely pull you out of productivity, they actually enhance it. You need to take 5-10 minute breaks before you feel you need them, because once you need them you’ll need a 30-60 minute break. Don’t let yourself get that far.
Walking and moving, can be great ideas for breaks. Keep your fitness up, but also, staying calm and doing things that strengthen our immune system are important. If you are already mentally stressed, adding in a physical stressor of a really hard workout may not be the best thing. Low-intensity, and fun workout from home exercises can be a great way to take a break, get moving, and not add stress into your life. Everyone is different, so this will vary person to person.
Have a hard stop where you’ll not be answering emails and you will spend time doing something that gives you more energy. Whether that’s family time, getting outside, reading, or learning something new. This is a tough one to follow, especially for the self-employed, but never resting can contribute to burnout, and will add stress. Make sure you do things that take away stress as well.
This video has more detail on each tip:
How To Stay Productive Learning Online
In addition to the above, I have some tips for those specifically transitioning to learning online, through online schooling.
- Learn your unique learning style
- Take your time
Learning online can be beneficial because you can customize your learning experience. If group work and listening to lectures aren’t your thing, do the research yourself! You’re in control.
Additionally, don’t speed learn through it. If you learn faster than the professors takes to go through their lecture, great, but don’t jam pack in 3 weeks of learning into 2 days, because it will make it hard to retain the information 3 weeks from now.
Additionally, here are 3 things to focus on while we’re practicing social distancing
This is a difficult time, and there is a lot of fear. However, the one thing we can control is ourselves, our reaction, and what we do. Those who will come out of this change stronger, will look at this time as a period to be really productive and get ahead by investing in themselves.
Control What You Can: Your Mindset
When the external is uncertain, invest on the internal. Spending time being negative and complaining about what you have lost is a waste of energy and won’t help anything. I don’t want to diminish what you may be going through, but it’s important to try to be optimistic because we can’t control the past or what is going on with everything, just how we react.
Invest In Yourself
Whether this is learning new skills like how to create online content, investing into more time with your family to enjoy and strengthen those relationships, finally taking that leap into learning how to start an online business to diversify your income, or investing in self-knowledge, self-development, this is your chance to have some focused time that can put you far ahead than if you stayed inside and watched news all day and gave into the panic and hysteria.
Here are some resources for those looking for ways to self-educate and use this time productively:
Check out my YouTube Channel for more.
Your reaction will affect the reaction of those around you. Be a dealer of hope, kindness, and stability for your family and friends.
If you can, and have the funds, please continue to support your small businesses in this tough time. Although small businesses can adapt fast, sometimes these things hit them the hardest, as they can’t survive an economic drought, so please support those who support the community if you are able to.
–> If you feel this could help someone who is learning or working from home during this time, please share it on social media!
Natalie Allport is a former national team snowboarder, CrossFit athlete, and lifelong entrepreneur. She runs a digital marketing agency, 93 Agency, has over a decade of experience in social media marketing and personal branding, and hosts the podcast ‘ALL IN’, featuring entrepreneurship and lifestyle optimization content. Natalie has been featured by several notable media outlets, including the Globe and Mail, on her athletic, educational, and entrepreneurial pursuits.
Click here to follow Natalie on Instagram.