With the world turned upside down, thanks to COVID-19, so much of our lives have changed, including a decline in mental health and productivity. It truly is hard to get things done during these trying times.
Thankfully, there are ways to boost morale and productivity. For those working at home, here are some suggestions.
Get More Sunlight
Studies have shown that adequate sunlight helps you stay happy and focused. Without enough exposure, your serotonin levels drop, causing unproductivity and low moods.
What to Do: To increase sunlight exposure, go outside during breaks. You may also consider making renovations in your home like adding a skylight or French Doors. Whatever you choose, make sure to get the recommended amount of sunlight. Making these changes is a good investment and you may reap other benefits as well:
- Improving sleep quality
- Reducing blood pressure
- Strengthening your immune system
Have a Dedicated Work Area
Since working from home became the norm, we’ve heard it time and time again–have a space exclusive for working.
The psychology behind this is when you work on the same spot routinely, your brain will associate this as the area where you get things done.
If you have a workstation, that’s good. But if you work in areas for rest and relaxation, it can become a problem.
For example, if you work from the comforts of your bed, you might be experiencing sleep disruption or insomnia. Your bed has become associated with staying alert, hindering you from a good night’s sleep.
What to Do: Decide on a spot, whether it’s an area or a room, that has privacy for voice and video calls, and has little to no noise.
Keep it organized by decluttering at the end of the day. On top of this, you should transform it into an environment you want to work in, by either putting ergonomic furniture or pretty decor.
According to a study by the University of Sussex in the UK, multitasking may be hurting your brain physically.
They found that participants who use different gadgets simultaneously have a lower gray-matter density in a brain area called the anterior cingulate cortex. This area is linked to emotional control and decision-making, empathy, and the brain’s response to rewards.
What to Do: Stop trying to do everything at once, and start doing one task at a time with your full attention. This way, you’ll increase productivity and the quality of your work while saving your little gray cells.
Prepare a To-Do List the Night Before and Commit to It
At work, it almost always feels like the tasks are endless and you scramble to finish getting done. But with the amount of pending work, where do you even begin?
What To Do: Before calling it a day, dedicate 15 to 30 minutes to plan out tomorrow. Doing this practice will minimize stress for the working day since your tasks have already been laid out. All you need to do is accomplish one and move on to the next.
Setting a list will also help indicate when you’re done for the day. You may get tempted and do more than the designated load, but commit to your set tasks and instead choose to make time to rest and relax.
Put a Limit on Calls
Voice and video calls are now a norm in the corporate world. They are seemingly easier since the other person is just a click away. However, these calls may be tiring you out more than you know.
During a video conference, your brain has to work harder in reading facial expressions and decoding voice tones. There is also the possibility of delay or disconnection which makes it more difficult if you’re the person being addressed.
What to Do: Setting a cap will help you avoid Zoom fatigue and general burnout. Depending on your line of work, know your limit and find what works best for your schedule and mental health.
Would it be better to schedule all meetings at the start of the week? Are you okay with two meetings a day?
Once you’ve settled on a system and hit your cap, politely ask to be excluded. If you can’t tap out, opt to turn off the camera and take frequent breaks.
Lastly, Take Care of Yourself
The healthier you are the more productive you’ll be. And when you’re at your A-game, you get to finish work early and have more free time. So make sure to get enough sleep, eat healthier, stay hydrated, exercise moderately, and quit any bad habits.