We’re several months into the Covid-19 pandemic and most of us have transitioned to working and collaborating remotely. No doubt at the outset this seemed like an ideal arrangement – no commuting, casual wear and a welcome respite from office life.
In reality, it’s been rather challenging.
Yes, we’re saving time, money and have more flexibility than ever before. But the line between home and work life has blurred, requiring many of us to juggle priorities and distractions like never before. But the line between home and work life has blurred, requiring many of us to juggle priorities and distractions like never before. From restless kids to binge snacking, there are countless potential interruptions to contend with.
As such, many of us are experiencing acute physical and mental fatigue. Left unchecked, we run the risk of burning out.
So, what can you do to overcome this and get back to being your most productive self? Here are a few suggestions that will help you power through 2021:
Prioritize individual tasks
Day in and day out, we juggle competing responsibilities and tasks. But no matter how skilled we think we are at multitasking, it’s not ideal, especially when it comes to work productivity.
According to clinical psychologists, doing multiple things at once increases exhaustion as you must constantly shift between competing demands on your attention and concentration. You’ll end up going back and forth between each task, without completing any one to its fullest potential.
What’s the remedy for this? Devote more of your mental resources to one task at a time and minimize any distractions. Turn off your phone, close any extra browser tabs and set guidelines for bored kids. If you can’t resist the temptation, there are programs out there that can block access to social media during work hours.
Have a distanced self-talk
One of the biggest hurdles to overcoming remote work blues is our minds. With the lines blurring between our professional and personal lives, our body’s energy reserves are being pushed to the brink. This combined with the added stress of Covid-19 can overwhelm people and cause them to plunge into an endless cycle of negative emotions.
This is an unhealthy concoction, as it saps our mental health as well as our motivation to do good work.
What’s the solution? Try giving yourself a distanced self-talk to take the edge off. Think about a time when someone came to you in need of advice. No doubt, their emotions were preventing them from seeing the bigger picture. Not being personally invested in the outcome, you were able to assess things objectively and help them out.
The same principle applies here. Clinical studies show that switching up your internal monologue from the 1st person to 2nd or 3rd person creates the necessary space you need to see your remote working situation objectively without being overwhelmed. Instead of I, me or mine, try using your name or pronouns like he and she. Research shows that speaking about your experiences in a foreign language can help too.
Strange as it may seem, this disassociation helps you maintain self-control and make wiser decisions, no matter your situation or personal history. You have full access to your circumstances without being at the mercy of your emotions.
Keep in mind, this exercise isn’t something you should do 24/7 or out loud 😉.
Adjust your collaboration habits
Video conferencing is a vital tool for any team looking to collaborate on projects remotely. In lieu of in-person conversations and interactions, it allows companies to get things done without losing out on communication or productivity.
However, the medium also puts a lot more pressure on each individual. During a video call, our attention can be split between the person speaking, the other screens in the background and watching how we look; we always need to be on.
To prevent a video overload, adjust how you collaborate remotely. From time to time, turn off the video during collaboration sessions for a visual break. Where possible, try spacing out and combining meetings to protect your energy levels and give your mind some time to “recuperate.”
Set aside time to socialize with co-workers
Everyone knows that end-of-day watercooler chitchat is an essential part of the workplace experience. It lets you bond with co-workers, maintains company morale and allows you to decompress from a long workday. When you’re working remotely, you miss out on these things and feelings of isolation can creep in.
To get around this, try taking micro-breaks to let your body recharge. Use this time to do some light exercise and get the blood flowing. Use those collaboration tools to set chat threads or video calls with colleagues to periodically connect and share.
Stick to your pre-Covid work routine
When you’re sitting at home, it can be difficult to keep a routine in place. Everything you want is within reach and discipline can go out the window. Bad habits are a chore to break.
To get around this, you need to look for creative ways to replicate your pre-pandemic routine. Consider the following:
- Take an official lunch break to avoid over-snacking.
- Replicate that work commute by stretching your legs and strolling around your neighbourhood. This will give you the space to transition from work to home mode.
- When possible, put away your computer or any work materials when you’re finished for the day to maintain that line between work and personal time. This will reduce the temptation to do job-related tasks afterhours.