Growing up, I loved the thrill of getting that phone call from the principal announcing a snow day. I’d sleep in, watch a movie, stay in my jammies all day and maybe even build a snowman. And although COVID-19 has us all at home and perhaps in our pjs, there’s not much thrill and we still need to get work done and be productive during this time of quarantine and social distancing.
I don’t know about you, but being productive at home is tough. I have ample more distractions: my comfy bed, Netflix just two clicks away, laundry that needs to be folded, family wanting to chat, a pantry stocked full of snacks, my phone beckoning my touch. GAH.
Although everyone and their mother loves to put in their two cents, the hard truth is nobody knows. Nobody knows how long this is going to last.
Staying productive is tough, but a) it’s a great distraction from anxiety and fear and b) you gotta do work. It ain’t easy, but I’m rounding up some of my best tips on how to be productive and work well from home.
Update your portfolio, LinkedIn and resume
When we’re in the day-to-day grind, we often overlook our online portfolios, LinkedIn profiles and resumes. If you’re looking for tasks that can be done online, updating these outlets is a great way to use your time. I’ve used my quarantine time to update my professional portfolio with more bylines. Go ahead and edit your LinkedIn bio and job experience. Take a look at your resume. Can you add or change anything?
Maybe everything’s updated, but think about switching up the design and giving it a fresh look.
Take an online course
Life feels like it’s at a standstill, but take this extended time work from home time to improve your professional growth. I recently took a free online course by Yoast on SEO, and this was no dinky 10-minute course of things I already knew. I learned so much about SEO that I was able to immediately apply to my site. Find a topic and start searching for online courses on sites such as Udemy, MasterClass or Teachable.
I also signed up for Pinterest Academy, which helps you better understand how to utilize this search engine for your business. Video topics range from campaign objectives to creative strategy.
The bottom line is there are literally infinite ways you can grow yourself professionally while at home.
Get ready for work
It doesn’t matter that no one can see you — shower, put some makeup on, wear real clothes. It’s really hard to feel productive when you have fuzzy socks on, greasy hair and unbrushed teeth. Try to keep as much of a sense of normalcy as humanly possible.
Say bye to your phone
Go put your phone in another room. This one is so tough! Turn off iMessage notifications on your laptop, maybe even close out of email during a specific time frame. Do your best to limit distractions because heaven knows, you’ll still have plenty.
Set up an office
I am the queen of having my laptop in bed with my pillows propped up and being curled up in a fuzzy blanket. My desk is just an extension of my junk drawer. Oops. Although this can be the exception sometimes, it’s so important to set up a sense of structure during quarantine because you can’t work from your bed for months.
Clear off a desk, the kitchen table, a coffee table, the guest bedroom. If you have family members or roommates roaming about, put in earbuds or Beats (literally my lifesaver) to ward off distraction. Sit in a real chair and have a new designated office. Talk to your housemates about your expectations. Will you only respond to texts during your “lunch break?” Are you okay with them poking their head in to ask a question, or should they wait until a certain time?
Write thank you notes
I think we can all agree these are stressful, emotional times. Everybody is grieving in one way or another, and we all handle it differently. Before all this coronavirus madness, my friend Cate recommended writing a thank you note to people who have influenced or encouraged us in our academic and professional pursuits each week. As I’m about to graduate, I’ve written a few notes, but especially with the given circumstances, now is a great time to thank one another. How can we encourage our employees, our bosses, our coworkers and our mentors?
We’re so often moving down our task and to-do lists that we forget to appreciate one another. In times like these, we’re understanding how much we take for granted. Be the first to say thank you and to start a chain of kindness.
When we’re stuck inside and inundated with bad news 24/7, it’s no wonder why we’re losing motivation. Fill your mind with workplace positivity by looking to business leaders and entrepreneurs both within and outside your industry.
I recently did a roundup of 5 female entrepreneurs who inspire me and who also offer online courses and freebies. Do your best to keep your chin up and recognize all the innovation that is happening right under your very nose!
Reach out to family and friends who have already been working at home for years. Ask them their best advice on how they stay productive and exercise efficiency.
Working at home isn’t always ideal, but life is about rolling with the punches. These 7 tips will help you work well from home during quarantine and stay productive.
Share your best tips on working from home in the comments.