During the COVID-19 outbreak, we have seen a sharp increase in the numbers of people working from home. For many of us, managing the transition from the office to our homes can be tough.
We’ve asked GWU member and game worker, Ellen Cunningham (an experienced WFH-er), to come up with her top tips for those of us who have, by circumstance, been forced to work from home.
Ellen’s Top Working From Home Tips
“Remember that your value is not linked to your productivity”
A large mental block for people getting work done from home is the sudden responsibility they have for managing their own time/work. Freedom to manage yourself can be amazing, but it can also create its own issues. The first thing to recognise is that your value as a person is not linked to your productivity. Whether you are working just to survive, or whether you love the job you do, your sense of worth shouldn’t be defined by how productive you are, or aren’t.
Don’t compare your own productivity to that of others’. This never ends well. What “productivity” means is different for every person. For me, daily work is just a series of small tasks. Completing work tasks is just like completing other tasks, how quickly/efficiently you do them is not a reflection of your worth.
“If you can, create a dedicated separate work space.”
I know this is harder now than it’s likely ever been for many people. There’s a housing crisis and everyone is on lockdown so you’re likely crammed into a small space with people you’re used to relaxing, and not working, with.
My advice is to choose a specific spot to work in, let everyone in your household know that you are working and doing a job and need to focus and stick in a pair of earbuds/headphones. Even if you don’t listen to music, it sends a message of separation and focus
“Structure is your buddy”
Lack of structure will just result in working in a panic at the last minute to meet deadlines; a distinctly unpleasant experience. Get up early, plan your day hour by hour, stop working at a specific time and get regular sleep hours. I like to write down a plan for myself outlining general goals that I want to complete each day.
These plans I write are flexible and often change but they also provide structure and achievable goals for me to work toward which brings me to…
“Set realistic goals”
Do not fall for the trap of waiting for inspiration to strike. If you ever gave yourself the task to “Finish playing this giant open world RPG” you may already know that large, delayed and vague goals do not end well. Instead try something along the lines of “I will complete this single quest step” instead.
Outline embarrassingly tiny, short, realistic, specific, measurable and achievable goals (this also doubles as a good tip for dealing with any kind of procrastination btw).
“Disconnect from social media”
Social media is a cruel time vampire living off your creative energy and focus. I highly suggest you try out disconnection! At least for the vast majority of your work hours. If you struggle to disconnect you can schedule time for social media in your work structure.
You absolutely will become distracted or need a break during the work day but do not return to the cold embrace of Twitter if she can be avoided (she is a cruel mistress). I read, do Tai Chi, paint, play video games or work on my own side projects.