A word from our founder, Tanya Zuckerbrot, MS, RD.
How to remain positive and productive during this unique time
The coronavirus is changing the way people live and work. However, change does not have to decrease productivity.
While things outside your home feel out of control, you can control how you spend your day and how you focus your energy. Accept that you will have a new way of life for some time. Instead of wasting energy trying to fight it, try to embrace it.
Here are my top 5 tips for staying productive during these challenging times, so you can make the most of this unique time.
(1) SET UP YOUR SPACE, TO SET YOURSELF UP FOR SUCCESS
In order to thrive in your new normal, my recommendation is to set up a home office. Set up a seat at your dining room or kitchen table and create a desk environment as you would if you just got a new desk at work. Put out a cup with pens and highlighters and a notepad. Plug your chargers in nearby and grab a pitcher with water and a glass so you remember to hydrate during your day. It may sound silly but creating a designated workspace increases productivity. When you sit down in this space it signals, this is my time to work. You will be much more productive than working from your couch or bed with the TV on and the news blaring in the background all day. And if you have enough room that you can leave your setup out during your downtime, your makeshift home office will be ready for you when you begin again the next day.
(2) SET A WORK SCHEDULE
The same way you have office hours at the office, create them for your day at home. You can be a bit more generous with your lunch break or ending the day earlier. Decide to work from 9 to 12 and then 2 to 5. Use the break to catch up on the news, eat a nourishing lunch, stretch, go for a walk or call a friend or family member. The break will allow you to recharge so when you return to your work in the afternoon, you will do so with increased energy.
(3) USE SOCIAL DISTANCING & WORKING REMOTELY TO YOUR BENEFIT
Typically at the office, we spend a lot of time in the day interacting with coworkers, and while some of that can be positive, some can also be a waste of time. Take advantage of the fact that you don’t have to listen to “Sally” talk about her date or “Bob” grumbling about his frustrations with his supervisor. You’ll find that without coworkers distracting you, you can get more work done.
Use this extra work time to finally get to the work projects you’ve been putting aside. Organize your files, clean up your desktop, achieve inbox zero. Start that blog you’ve been thinking about, catch up with former clients, update your portfolio. Who’s to say when you’ll get this extra undisturbed free time like this ever again.
For some of us, it’s not just that the day feels longer when we’re working from home, but we actually have significantly more free time. Some people’s daily commutes to their office add up to over two hours. By Friday, that’s over 10 hours spent commuting–10 hours that are now free to use however you want. Whether you typically have a long commute or not, thinking about how you would use the extra time in your day will allow you to see working from home as a gift. Use that commute time for accomplishing personal goals; the items you’ve been wanting to d0, but never seem to get around to, like finishing that book, or cleaning out your closet. I recommend making lists and adding to them as you check items off to keep you on task, and motivated during this time.
(4) PRACTICE SELF CARE
Shower and get dressed every day. As seemingly inconsequential as it may seem, it will actually make a big difference in how your day pans out. Use the extra free time you have for self-care. Pamper yourself, do a mask, give yourself a manicure, practice your full 22-step skincare routine. Nourish your body with healthy food, and make sure to move around. Whether it’s a workout class, a walk outside, or even vigorous cleaning, make sure to move in some capacity every day.
Pamper, nourish and move. Together these three things will help you to feel better about yourself and maintain a more productive mindset.
(5) EXPRESS GRATITUDE
Our brains tend to hold on to negative thoughts and lets go of positive ones. This bias causes the brain to hold onto bad news which can distract you from being productive. Research shows that we need a ratio of 5 positive thoughts to 1 negative thought to thrive because negative interactions affect us so much more strongly. Therefore, I recommend, starting and ending each day with gratitude. When you first wake up, write down 3 things you’re grateful for each day. Before bed, think of 3 more things.
Need some help to get you started? If you have a job, consider how lucky you are to still have a job. Many people right now cannot work because the pandemic has deemed it unsafe or too risky, and many people have been laid off. Also, recognize how fortunate you are that you get to work from the safety of your home, while medical professionals and other essential workers are risking their lives every day to help those affected by the coronavirus.
While working from home and social distancing may not be the ideal situation, I hope you can use this time to focus on gratitude, rather than panic. A grateful heart is a happy heart.
Stay home, stay safe, stay healthy.