Written by Valerie Sizelove.
For many of us, working from home is a new experience. Due to the COVID-19 outbreak, our schedules and personal lives have been completely turned upside-down. That gets harder if you have kids to teach, feed, and entertain.So while being productive and staying sane can feel difficult at times, our checklist will help keep you at the top of your game – even beyond quarantine!
1. Create a Work-at-Home Schedule
Designing a schedule for home and work life is vital, so set aside 1-2 hours to develop your schedule. Make sure you have enough time to accomplish your daily responsibilities. The hardest part is sticking to an end to your workday, but when work days are planned out, it’s far easier to avoid wasting time. You may need to make adjustments, so keep at it until you find something that works.Pro tip: If you struggle with schedule-making, why not ask a friend or family member for help?
2. Make a Daily Routine for Your Kids
If your children are out of school, you may be serving as a parent, babysitter, chef, and teacher. Routines are essential to meeting kids’ needs while keeping them happy, and staying on-task will keep you cool and collected.
How to Plan Your Child’s Schedule
Follow these foolproof steps to map out your kids’ schedule:
- Start with a list of everything that needs to happen each day. This may include brushing teeth, getting dressed, lunchtime, learning tasks, and play time.
- Set a wake time and bedtime for the kids, then fit the rest of their necessary tasks into the day. Tasks with set times (i.e. virtual classrooms) should be some of the first tasks you add to the schedule.
- Don’t forget to schedule outdoor time or physical play. The CDC recommends three hours of physical activity for kids ages three to five, and at least one hour for kids ages six and up.
- Determine where children’s tasks can overlap. Can learning happen for everyone at the same time? Can some kids have quiet time while others nap?
- If you can’t fit everything into the day, consider shortening, eliminating, or moving certain elements to different days.
- Leave blocks of transition time to allow for mishaps and delays – they’re unavoidable sometimes.
- Walk your kids through their new schedule. If they offer reasonable requests, make changes accordingly.
- As everyone adjusts, the first few days may feel a bit rough. Keep trying until it works!
3. Get Enough Sleep
It’s easy to lose track of time while working from home, but getting between 7 to 9 hours of sleep every night is one of the best ways to maximize productivity.
Here are some great tips for better sleep habits:
- Stick to a sleep schedule, even on weekends.
- Practice a pre-bedtime routine or ritual such as a warm bath, reading, or meditating
- Get enough daily exercise. Even a brisk, 30-minute walk will benefit you tremendously.
- Avoid alcohol and caffeine which reduce your sleep quality and duration.
- Turn off electronic devices 30 minutes before bed (but 1-2 hours is ideal).
- Keep your room’s temperature between 60 and 67ºF.
4. Build a Comfortable Home Workstation
You’ll need a functional and comfortable home workstation to telecommute in peace. Is there space in a spare room, basement, or even the garage? Choose an area that faces a blank wall to eliminate distraction. Then, make sure your work area supports healthy posture:
Choosing a Work Chair
To avoid muscle strain, your feet should touch the floor while your back rests snugly and against your chair. If your feet don’t reach the floor, consider using a stable footrest (e.g. stool, pile of books). To avoid soreness or fatigue while typing, your arms should be bent at a 90º-115º angle. You may need to raise your chair (if it’s adjustable) or sit on a few pillows to raise your height.
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Avoid Eye and Neck Strain from Computer Use
These tips will help you work more comfortably:
- Follow the 20-20-20 rule: Every 20 minutes, take a break from your screen to look at something 20 feet away (for at least 20 seconds).
- Use blue light-blocking computer glasses.
- Try computer software that automatically adjusts screen brightness.
- Reduce glare with an anti-glare screen filter.
Alternative Work Spaces at Home
If you don’t have access to a “traditional” home workspace, you can still work from your bed or couch.
In your bed, sit upright with your back against the headboard with a pillow behind your lower back, along your spine, and under your thighs to reduce lower back pressure. Follow these same guidelines when working on the couch, except you should place your feet either flat on the floor or on a foot rest.
5. Practice Regular Self-Care
Staying at home for an undetermined amount of time can cause people to feel fear, anxiety, depression, anger, and irritability. Practicing these psychological techniques, however, can help reduce negative thoughts and feelings:
- Identify what you can and can’t control. Choose not to worry about the “can’t” category.
- Journal daily to express your feelings and use a daily gratitude journal.
- Free self-help apps can teach you new ways of thinking in order to practice mindfulness.
- Exercise everyday to ease anxiety.
- Seek professional help if needed. Therapists in your area are likely offering remote consultations and therapy apps connect you to licensed professionals.
Whether it’s a long bubble bath, meditation, or a live DJ set on Instagram, do something that lets you disconnect from work/family responsibilities for a while.
Limit News ConsumptionThe news can be incredibly stressful, especially since the media attracts viewers by sensationalizing events and feeding on the public’s tendency to worry. Since there’s a lot of misinformation floating around, consider ditching anything news-related on social media!
Practice a Morning Routine
Working from home, it’s easy to let go of basic habits like showering or getting dressed in anything but pajamas. But your morning care routine isn’t just for the office: It sets the tone for the rest of your workday.Starting every day with a shower and natural personal care products will do wonders to revitalize your senses. Get dressed in comfortable clothing and perform your usual grooming tasks: You’ll feel much more energized and ready to work.
6. Incorporate Exercise Into Your Daily Routine
You might need to practice social distancing, but taking walks around the neighborhood or playing games in your backyard are great ways to unwind and bond with family.
If the weather keeps you inside, move your body with exercise apps or living room yoga.
7. Get Outside
When you work from home, it might be tempting to sit on the couch and binge-watch your favorite series. Opting for fresh air helps everyone recharge. Fresh air is great for improving concentration and sunlight helps raise serotonin levels, too.If you have to meet a deadline but the weather’s nice, why not open the windows? You’ll quickly discover how invigorated and motivated you feel.
8. Stay Hydrated
Even mild dehydration can drain your energy and impact your health. The human body simply needs adequate water intake to:
- Process and dispose of waste
- Keep a normal temperature
- Maintain a healthy immune system
- Protect sensitive tissues and joints
- Energize your muscles
- Keep your skin healthy and clear
- Maintain normal bowel function
What to Drink to Stay Hydrated
While sugary beverages will hydrate you, they also add to your daily caloric intake. Try these natural alternatives to sugary juice and sodas instead:
- Flavored water
- Seltzer water
- Herbal tea
9. Eat a Healthy Diet
When you work remotely, it’s easy to fall into a junk food trap. To maintain a healthy immune system, remain energized, and stay productive, opt for healthy food like:
- Plain yogurt and cottage cheese
- Fresh fruits and vegetables
- Nuts and natural nut butters
- Hard-boiled eggs
- Dried fruit
Follow Serving Sizes
While healthy foods are great, stick to the recommended serving sizes listed on nutrition labels. For foods without labels, it’s easy to look up their nutrition values or download a food-tracking app like MyFitnessPal.
Follow these tips for more healthful eating habits:
- Instead of eating directly out of the bag, measure portions and eat from a plate or bowl
- Avoid fast foods and restaurant foods (which are loaded with calories and trans fats)
- Eat high-protein foods which can help suppress your appetite and stave off binging
- Drink a glass of water before and during your meal
Snack on fruits and vegetables to keep you full longer
Create a Family Meal Plan
Each week, choose one day to plan meals for the week, grocery shop, and pre-cook as much as possible. Be sure to ask your family members for input – you might discover some new favorite foods in the process!Grocery stores may be low on certain supplies, so make something new out of leftovers. To save unnecessary trips to the store, rummage around your pantry and fridge to discover new recipe inspiration. “Five-ingredient” recipes are quick and easy and The Supercook website generates recipes using your available ingredients.
Take Your Vitamins
Vitamins and minerals are essential to body health, strong immune response, and productivity, so it’s a good idea to take multivitamin gummies to fill in any nutritional gaps (while treating yourself to something sweet).
10. Have a Social Life – but from a Distance
Loneliness is a major drawback of remote work, and under quarantine, it’s easy to feel a bit more isolated. Even while practicing social distancing, you can keep your social life alive with these tips:
- Have virtual “water cooler” breaks with fellow employees via Slack or video chats.
- Eat lunch with coworkers to catch up (or simply vent).
- Set up an afterwork group chat with “the girls” or “the guys” – complete with adult beverages.
Play virtual games together via social gaming apps.
11. Start (or Continue) a Hobby
Right now, there’s no better time to start (or restart) a hobby. Look to YouTube for how-to videos or investigate new hobby ideas.
Who knows? Developing a new pastime could lead to:
- A new source of income
- Meeting new people with similar interests
- Stress relief
- A healthier physique
- A new outlet for self-expression
12. Don’t Be Afraid to Ask for Help
When you’re trying to balance meetings, hit deadlines, and deal with screaming children, you might want to do some screaming yourself. To survive the chaos, you need to communicate clearly with others.
If your partner is working from home (and not inundated with remote work), ask them for assistance whenever you need it. Maybe they could take the kids on a walk or lend a hand with meal prep. Your partner can’t read your mind, so specify exactly what you need and how they can help.
13. Set Work Boundaries...
Just because you’re working from home doesn’t mean you have endless time to do everything that’s thrown at you.Your boss probably doesn’t understand what you’re dealing with, so be transparent by sharing your active work hours, creating clear “no-contact” times, and asking for accommodation (e.g. fewer meetings, a slightly-adjusted workload, extended timelines).
14. ...Then Set Family Boundaries
With you working from home, your kids will still have demands and your partner may occasionally make unreasonable requests. But when you’re in “work mode,” your family needs to understand that “no means no.”
Here are some tips on setting boundaries with your family:
- Set non-negotiable “work times” when you shouldn’t be disturbed.
- Place a flippable sign on your workspace’s door to visually tell family members when it’s okay to knock – and when to steer clear.
- If you can, ask your partner to manage all child-related needs while you work. Do the same when it’s their turn.
15. Clean for 15 Minutes Every Day
When you spend more time at home, you (and your kids) are creating more messes than usual. Disorganized houses are a distraction, so nip things in the bud by setting aside 15 minutes every day to tackle smaller messes.
Waiting for your coffee? Wipe down counters or sweep the floor. Kids brushing their teeth? Clean the bathroom mirror or give the toilet a quick swish. Things will feel a lot more manageable when it’s time to deep-clean kitchens and bathrooms.Even young kids can help out with cleaning tasks, so set a timer to treat cleaning like a fun activity (instead of a chore). Puracy Natural Multi-Surface Cleaner can clean just about any surface in your home – and it’s safe to use around even the smallest family members.
Puracy Is Here to Help
The health of your family has always been at the heart of Puracy. That’s why we’ve developed the best, most effective natural cleaning and body products on the market today. As we face times of change and uncertainty, you can count on Puracy to provide the same peace of mind it always has.