The UBC community and the world are experiencing a number of changes to our lives and daily routines during the COVID-19 outbreak. With many faculty and staff working remotely, students studying online, and physical distancing measures keeping us in our homes, we asked UBC Okanagan health and wellness counsellors for some guidance on how to stay productive in our new-found workspaces.
Here are some tips to help combat potential distractions and stay motivated.
1 – Create a designated workspace
Even if you are limited to a small area, it’s important to separate your study or workspace from where you sleep or relax. Your space should be set up with all the necessary supplies and be as far from your bed as possible.
2- Follow a regular routine
Keep to your regular wake-up and sleeping times, ensuring you get at least eight hours of sleep. Get ready for the day as you normally would; get dressed, brush your teeth, make your bed and show up to “the office” or “the study group” on time.
3 – Communicate with family members or roommates
If you are sharing a space with others, ensure they know your work hours and respect your “do not disturb” time.
4 – Take regular breaks
Block out time for work, followed by short breaks. Eat lunch, engage in social media, and get outside—remembering to keep at least two metres between you and others. Sunlight, fresh air, nature and exercise nurture the body and soul.
5 – Find your window of productivity
Determine when you are typically the most productive during the day. If you are most productive in the morning, start early and use that time for your most important work. If you are best at night, start a bit later and work into the evening.
6 – Start out your day strong
Start with your most important work, then check and follow-up with emails or smaller tasks later in the day. Make sure to communicate your schedule with your coworkers and friends so they know when it’s best to reach you.
7 – Support yourself
Check-in with how you talk to yourself. Are you a nagging parent, yelling critic, or a supportive coach? Sometimes we can berate ourselves into doing better or working harder. Unfortunately, this can lead to avoidance or procrastination of our work. Try being a “supportive coach” instead. Be kind to yourself and speak in an encouraging voice.
8 – Connect and collaborate
Continue to work collaboratively with others while finding new ways to connect. Virtual meetings, FaceTime and a good old-fashioned phone call are all great ways to stay socially connected.
9 – Prep for tomorrow
When you finish for the day, leave your desk ready for the next morning with work and tasks that will kick-off your day. Your start will be more productive if you don’t have to open files or decide where to focus your time.
10 – Sign off
Ensure there is a clear end to your workday — a time when you shut down work and no longer check emails or work on projects. Protect this time, as it will help you sustain your motivation over the long term.