My boyfriend and I are currently attempting to submit all our final deadlines and sit our second/third year exams within the comfort of my family home.
and there’s limited wine and NO McDonalds to get us through. It’s very likely, with our current lockdown, that you’re finding yourself in a very similar situation. Up in Durham i’m a Queen at working from the comforts of my room but turns out i’m crap at doing so in Sheffield. I think it’s because in my head i’ve very clearly associated Durham with work and Sheffield with chill. It’s been a major struggle to try get into a form of routine or get stuck into work. At a loose end I reached out via my Instagram story for some much needed advice and lots of people delivered!! I thought i’d make a post collating my tips and the one’s you lovely lot sent me in order to try and help you all get settled into home-working!
MAKE A TO-DO LIST
I LOVE a list. When i’m at university I make a huge to-do list every Sunday listing all my tasks for the week ahead. As the week goes on I keep adding little tasks to it. It’s always worked for me and keeps me motivated to push through tasks. However, in our current circumstances my work ethic has dropped massively. That’s due to a contribution of being in a new environment, adjusting to working without library/uni resources and just simply due to trying to handle the fact we are in a global pandemic and cannot leave our homes. Lot’s of you sent in messages about producing daily to-do lists with much (much) smaller and simpler tasks on.
– Write one paragraph of your Victorian Literature Essay
– Read 20 pages of ? book
– Sort out sock drawer
By breaking up your to-do list into much more manageable tasks you’re making yourself feel more productive even if it’s not the level of productivity you’re used to working at. It’s about coming to terms with the fact it’s currently impossible to work like normal, for ANYBODY, so take it easy on yourself. Set little, realistic goals and make yourself feel much better when you see a fully ticked off list at 5pm rather than one with endless amounts of things still left to do.
CREATE A SCHEDULE
Monday to Friday is still the working week for the majority of us despite spending it at home on the sofa, treat it like one. As depressing as it sounds, set that alarm for the morning. Pick a realistic time to wake every day (Mon-Fri only- give yourself a lie in on weekends) and stick to it. Organise a working daily schedule, including breaks etc. We managed to succeed in sticking to a routine (kind-of) today, we still slacked in places however, that’s allowed. Adjusting to a completely new routine is hard so don’t be too hard on yourself. Here’s our routine that i’m hoping we can continue to stick to!
Wake Up and Get Ready | 9.30 am -10.30 am
Work Session 1 | 10.30 am – 1pm
Lunch | 1 pm – 1.30 pm
Work Session 2 | 1.30 pm – 2.30 pm
Exercise and Chill | 2.30 pm – 3.30 pm
Work Session 3 | 3.30pm – 5pm (chill allowed in this time, if shattered/finished)
Tea | 6.30 pm
This technique was developed in the 1980s and involves breaking down work into chunks. For example, working at 25 minute intervals then allowing yourself a 5 minute break after each one. You can change the timed intervals in order to fit within your own schedules, such as 1 hour on/ hour off or 1 hour 30 / 30 minute break.
There’s also multiple youtube videos (search ‘study with me, pomodoro’) where you can work virtually alongside someone else to the set 25/5 intervals. I use these quite a lot in Durham and often find watching someone else working really motivating !!
My bestie Meg also informed me of an app you can download on your mac called ‘focus’ which blocks social medias and sets you work/break timers.
HAVE ‘WORK’ ITEMS
SO many people said this and I loved it. As you’re setting up a home ‘office’, scout for specific items to set it up with. For example: have a work mug, a work glass, work slippers, work notepad. Set up a proper office space at your desk or dining room table. Get a pen pot, maybe scout the house for a desk plant if you’re feeling extra. Create a space very distinct from your chill space. It’s tough to do that within the own home but little bits and bobs like the above help to make that split.
Create a little rewards system, even go for a sticker chart if needs must. I can be really harsh on myself and often never let myself feel much of a sense of accomplishment as there’s always something more I could have done. Set rewards you can enjoy either after each task you complete (a bit of chocolate or your fave snack after each one) or a bigger reward to enjoy during your breaks (sitting out in the garden with your book for 30 minutes) or at the end of the day (bottle of wine and a good film).
WORK WITH OTHERS
This one depends on you as I know a lot of people cannot work with others around. Normally, i’m that person. However, there’s currently myself, my boyfriend and my mum all trying to work from home in the same house. Sitting with them for a work session has motivated me to work more effectively, if they’re typing away I feel less like slacking. It’s not always the best method because there’s been multiple occasions where James and I have just completely distracted each other BUT it’s just about finding a balance. If you feel yourself starting to slack, take yourself off to a new spot in the house and try again.
Try not to get too frustrated if you find yourself getting distracted by the other. The one major positive from this whole situation, for me, is getting to spend uninterrupted time with James for the first proper time in our relationship. We have one more year of long distance to go come September this year so, i’m making the most of being with each other every day. The other big bonus is getting to be at home and with my family. I’m currently living properly back in my family home and it’s a little bit like walking into a few years ago again with the added plus that James is here now too. I don’t think i’ll ever really get this amount of time at home and with my family ever again really seen as i’ve moved out for university. So, i’m soaking up just being home, being healthy and safe, with the ones I love.
If you’re struggling right now, you’re really not alone. Sending you all lots of love, it’s a very manic time. I feel like real life has turned into a sci-fi movie and i’m not loving it. Scary times but, everyone’s in the same boat. Try to find little moments of gratitude in your every day, feel grateful to be with the one’s you love, feel proud to be doing your bit for the country whether it’s working on the front-line or staying at home. Remember to be kind to others and to yourself. Take it easy, stay smiling, stay home.