More people now than ever are working from home due to COVID-19. When quarantine started, everybody who wasn’t an essential worker was encouraged to work remotely if possible. This was in order to reduce the risk of exposure between employees. Many jobs can’t be done remotely, but for the ones that can, it has become an entirely different type of workday. It can be difficult to mix work and leisure and to have the same space for the place you work and the place you relax. Even if your “work” is schoolwork or an internship instead of a paid job, not having a physical separation between work and home can prove hard to manage.
For me personally, I have encountered two types of remote work: one being assignments you are expected to complete independently, and the other being scheduled hours that you spend either on zoom or doing assigned tasks. Each poses its own set of challenges. Doing independent assignments sometimes results in procrastination and putting off the work. When your work involves long hours on zoom meetings, it can be tough to pay attention for long periods of time. This is true especially while staring at a computer screen. I have compiled some tips for both scenarios that have helped me and may help you if you are doing remote work this summer.
For Independent Work
- Make sure you keep track of your deadlines. Sometimes when you are left to your own devices, it can be easy to forget what you are supposed to be doing. You let the time slip away. Have a calendar or somewhere you can write down when things are due, so deadlines don’t creep up on you!
- If your work is in any way creative, focus on brainstorming. For example, this summer I am writing for GirlSpring. Not only does this work entail actually writing articles, but I also have to think of things to write about! Get creative at spotting things in your daily life that may help you come up with ideas. Have a place where you can jot those ideas down so they don’t get lost in your brain.
- Incentivize doing your work with a reward. When you are expected to work independently (ie not in a scheduled time block), it is so easy to procrastinate and put off your work. Find some way to get yourself to actually sit down and complete your assignments. For me, its coffee and a snack!
For Scheduled Hours
- Stay hydrated and nourished. This is something we all tend to forget about or let go by the wayside, myself included. But your body and mind simply cannot function and stay focused without proper hydration and nourishment. Keep water by you while you are “at work” so you can fill up on 8 glasses a day. Make sure you eat a meal before your shift starts if you are working for long periods of time, so you’re not starving during your shift!
- Take enough breaks. Hopefully, whoever you are working for schedules breaks in for you. Especially if you are staring at a computer for your work, you have to be able to get up to stretch, walk around, go to the bathroom, fill up your water, etc. If you feel yourself zoning out, that’s a sign that it’s time to get up! And if your supervisor isn’t letting you take enough breaks, bring it up—breaks are essential to putting forth your best work.
- Have beverages and snacks that keep you interested! For me, sitting on zoom for five hours just gets boring. It feels way longer than five hours in “real life,” and I start to zone out or even nod off. Having something to munch on can help you pay attention—and it also incentivizes you to keep going, just like for independent work. Recently I have been loving kombucha, fruit, and popcorn, and I always have coffee!
Hopefully, some of these tips can help you if you are struggling with remote work this summer. Most of us aren’t used to having to work from home, and it takes some adjusting. These are just some things that work for me—every person is different, so try out different ways to keep yourself motivated, and do what works for you!