Updated: Mar 25, 2020
School closed? Job forcing you to telecommute?
For the time being, a lot of families (both kids and adults) are going to be working from home. Sounds like a dream, right? Comfy pajamas all day and food that blows away cafeteria meals (even if it’s only canned food, chances are it’s better than my school’s).
While some people may thrive at learning/working from home, this scenario can quickly turn into a nightmare for the majority of us if not properly managed.
While there’s a lot to consider when making this transition, these 3 tips will help get you started. If you’re feeling lost or overwhelmed by the numerous articles giving in-depth explanations, just start here, and I’ll provide more specifics on homeschooling and productivity once this foundation is established.
1) Dress the Part – If you wouldn’t wear it to the office or class, don’t wear it when you’re working from home.
The urge to remain in pajamas is overwhelming. There are thousands of memes praising it. As with everything, a “comfy” outfit will not hinder some individuals. For most though, you will not be as productive dressed in your sleepwear.
The clothes we wear prepare us mentally for the task ahead. You feel different in fancy dress clothes than you do in shorts and a tank top. So, prepare for the day at home as normal, because you’re not really “at home”. You’re at “work” or “school”. Don’t let your brain think today is a freebie. There is a job to be done. Shower. Shave. Brush your hair. Whatever you normally do, follow that procedure. This will mentally prepare you for a productive day.
2) Create a Workstation – This is especially important if multiple family members are stuck at home. Again, there is a mental reason for this beyond just the physical need for space. An individual workstation for each family member gives them a sense that they belong.
The station should make sense for the job being done. If the work is loud, such as video conference calls or media streaming, then that family member should get a location with a door that can be closed.
In a small residence, you’ll need to get creative. Don’t worry, it’s only temporary.
Please designate “work-free” zones too. Even if a small bedroom is all that can be allotted, it’s crucial that you have somewhere to go to signify that work is done. Somewhere to set up books, board games, puzzles, or other relaxing activities.
Work is done at the workstation only. It is your “office” or “classroom” and must be respected. A family meeting should be held to explain this is a positive and easy to understand manner—if you need tips on this, leave a comment and we can discuss.
3) Routine – Covid-19 has destroyed most sense of normalcy and routine. Humans are habitual creatures. All of us. We have a mixture of both healthy and destructive habits. Now that your work/school habits have been disrupted, you must be very proactive in establishing new norms.
You can’t afford to have your productivity and learning suffer any more than it already has.
You’re dressed for the day, you have a workstation, now stick to a schedule.
Students, please do not work any longer on a class than you would in school. Set a timer (heck, make it a bell) to remind you to switch periods. Give yourself a longer passing period though. How about fifteen minutes? Step away from your “classroom” and call a friend, walk outside and get some sunlight, just don’t be tardy to the next period. Also, no snacks or cell phone use when in class!
Eat lunch when you normally eat lunch. My school has a thirty-minute lunch break, whatever yours is, don’t go over. Be sure to end your day on time too. Leave the career or school at the workstation when the day is done.
Are these 3 guidelines simple to understand? Yes! Does that mean they’re easy to implement consistently? Sadly, no. The urge to shrug these off and work on the couch with a laptop and cell phone next to you while Netflix runs in the background will be strong. Come together as a family and hold each other accountable. United you are stronger.
Don't worry; you got this!
Blood Bound Books is dedicated to spreading hope through dark fiction. Now, more than ever in our ten-year history, the world could use some extra hope. Over the next several weeks, barring any catastrophe we’ll be sharing some tips and techniques that help get us through the hard times.