We’ve all been there. You sit on your bed or your couch, pajamas on, ten tabs open on your computer. You stare at your screen with the full intention of knocking out five hours of solid work. You type a few words of your first assignment, then notice an email notification pop up on the side of your screen. It catches your eye enough to make you click on it. Suddenly, you are inundated with emails from teachers and coworkers and notice an email to an online shopping website. You start scrolling, checking texts, and taking snack breaks and glance at the clock to see that three hours have passed.
This is not an abnormal problem when working from home. Our brains are trained to pay attention for specific, structured amounts of time throughout the day that our schedules accommodate for. We keep a weekly schedule so as to maintain the mental clarity and focus we need to stay on task. However, when working from home, whether it be by choice or due to unforeseen circumstances such as a worldwide pandemic, productivity is still important.
To ensure that working from home is effective, many people recommend keeping your day structured. That means waking up at a certain time, getting ready for your day, and devoting certain periods of time to different projects or classes. By maintaining your daily schedule, you can make your brain recognize that you are not at home to relax. It is also important to not let your phone or other aspects of your home space distract you from your work. As you would do in class or work, it can help to put your phone away in a bag or drawer. Some even say that wearing something other than pajamas can force you out of relaxation because it makes your brain believe that you are at work or at school.
Something else that is important to remember while you are working from home is to not lose your passions and to direct your creative energy to some sort of personal hobby or project. While it is easy to use the time you spend working at home to complete only required work and then relax and watch Netflix the rest of the day, this routine neglects outside interests. If you can, devote some time to engaging in an activity outside of work, whether that be painting, doing yoga, cooking, or reading. This activity can also be academic in nature, as long as it relates to something you are interested in outside of work, such as researching an interesting topic, coding your own project, or writing a novel. Do not let your time at home be a deterrent to contributing to the world in your own unique way; use this time to improve yourself! This way, when the time comes when you no longer work at home, you will have no problem readjusting to your everyday routine.
Looking for more inspiration in this time of isolation? Check out these resources below:
Featured image by Domenico Loia on Unsplash
Natalie Grace Sipula is a Biological Sciences major with a Spanish minor and plans to pursue a career in law or research science. She is a freshman from Cleveland, OH and is a Presidential Scholar studying in Thematic Option. Natalie is an active member of Phi Alpha Delta (Director of Recruitment) and QuestBridge Scholars. Growing up she was dedicated to theatre, including studying and performing at Cleveland Play House. She graduated high school as a Global Scholar, Mock Trial state competitor, and Varsity Cross Country team member. She is a volunteer camp counselor with Mi Pueblo Culture Camp in Cleveland. Since arriving in Los Angeles she has enjoyed volunteering with City of Angels Pit Bull Rescue and in her free time enjoys reading Russian and ancient Greek literature.