How to be productive and healthy during work in quarantine?

The Covid-19 virus has changed the face of every day life. The pandemic has put a stop to businesses, social activities, outdoor sports and schools in many locations around the world. Most of us, have never experienced such a situation before and have been pushed into working or studying from home, which can pose a serious challenge. The current layout of things can easily be stressful, unhealthy and inefficient. Luckily, there are several measure all of us can take to combat this new stumbling block that is working from home.

1. Plan your day and maintain a routine

A transition as drastic as this can often be confusing and chaotic. Take some time to rethink how you carry out your day.

Plan your day in advance and follow a steady routine. Doing so, will bring order into your schedule and make organising your workload much easier. Fix a time to wake up, eat breakfast, take a shower, get dressed, eat lunch or revise for an exam. Don’t let different activities of the day take the time of others.

Be strict when following this routine, since everything else will then fall into place. Be clear in your mind regarding what you have to do and set limits. Assume, as if you are in school. A fixed routine will make you feel in control and reduce stress.

2. Create a comfortable work space

Sitting on a couch in pyjamas is not a good option when working rom home for long periods of time. Designate an area of your room, study or any place that will be used solely for work. Make sure, that you have all your work essentials: books, pens, pencils, a laptop, paper, highlighters, post-it notes etc. Check if your chair is comfortable for long-time sitting. If your position and posture is straight, not only will it keep your body healthy but also work wonders for your concentration. Most importantly, ensure that your work space is clutter free. Having a disorganised and cluttered environment leads to a lack of attentiveness. Being surrounded by a clean and ordered place gives you sufficient space to work and does not divert your mind. If you please, adjust the amount of light in the room as it suits you. If necessary, keep a bottle of water in handy and feel free to get a cup of coffee or tea.

3. Eat well, sleep well and exercise

All aspects of life are interconnected and influence one another. This is why, to make working from home more efficient and healthy, take care of your health. Always remember to eat well and don’t compromise a meal. Get up early enough to have a full breakfast, eat lunch and dinner at standard times. In between work allow yourself a few treats ex. a chocolate bar, a fruit or a yoghurt. Avoid consuming processed food with high levels of sugar, salt, fat, calories and preservatives. Try cooking at home. Eat vegetables, fruits, dairy and spices to keep your immunity strong (much needed nowadays). Also, stay well hydrated and drink coffee/tea in limits. Nothing is beneficial in excess or deficit. Quarantine has made physical exercise scarce, since stepping out for a jog or training in a sports club has become scarce. Try to keep your body in shape by practising yoga, doing workouts or stretching. There are plenty of tutorials online. Proper food, drink and exercise contribute to your mental wellbeing and productivity at work.

4. Take breaks and do the things you enjoy

Working nonstop for long periods of time can be very unhealthy for your body and can make you tired, thus not productive. No matter how intensive the workload is, always remember to take short breaks in between sessions. Make yourself a cup of tea/coffee, listen to some music, talk to family members – in short, simply rest.

Taking regular breaks allows you to make better decisions, be more creative, come up with new solutions and help you stay focused.

Use this time to disconnect from work, and do things you enjoy. After the break, return to work with new-found energy and a fresh mind.

5. Keep contact with other people

Don’t allow the pandemic to completely cut off your social interactions. Having social contact with other people greatly enhances our mental well-being. Speaking to people increases self-esteem, destresses and allow development. Since you can’t meet people personally, use Face-time, Skype, Zoom etc. or a simple phone call. Keep in touch with friends and family, share experiences and communicate. It not only benefits our mental health, but also is a source of entertainment and fulfils our human need of social interaction.

6. Focus on one issue at a time

Working from home can be overwhelming for some. There can be many things that require our attention and the virtual transition can prove to be a burden. The solution to this would be trying to focus on one thing at a time.

Don’t become stressed about all the work that is pending. Take things as they come and pre-plan your schedule. When focusing on one thing at time, you are able to deeply concentrate on the task and complete it faster than usual.

It makes you more productive and brings better results than multitasking. Fully concentrate on one assignment. Only when you are done, turn to the next one. Of course, sometimes multitasking is necessary to meet the deadlines. Try to establish schedules, in order to efficiently divide your workload in time.

7. Avoid distractions in your work space

It can be very easy to get distracted during working from home. We tend to get very relaxed at home and easily carried away. In order to stay focused on the task, make sure you do not have distractions in the room you are working in.

Avoid keeping phones next you, since any notification has the potential to divert your concentration. Omit keeping the TV on, or being next to lots of commotion.

You can also try using noise-cancelling headphones. But for some, music helps. Assess yourself in terms of productivity and alter your work space accessories according to your preferences.

8. Learn to disconnect after work

Finally, when you are done with work after a long tiring day, learn to simply disconnect and relax. Being under too much mental stress and exhaustion can negatively impact our body. We are all busy. Amongst the deadlines, tasks, assignments, to-dos and meetings, it is important that we recuperate and get ourselves ready for the next day. Being constantly overworked, stressed and exhausted holds you back from being productive, focused and most of all happy. After finishing up , enjoy the rest of the day thoroughly. Watch a movie, read a book, converse with people, cook and bake, draw, paint, play games, sleep. After all, life is not only work.

Khushi Sinha, IB1