Two months into 2021 and the country still finds itself in lockdown, causing many businesses to move back to home-working and self isolation. Although this is the third national lockdown, working from home is still new to many, and it can be difficult to maintain focus and stay inspired, not to mention how mentally draining being locked in your house can be.
Fortunately we have some tips to get you through lockdown working, and keep your productivity high.
1. Stay Organised
Keep your routine in place: This is such a simple step, yet can so easily be overlooked while away from the office or studio. Getting up, washed and dressed to start your day is not a revelation, but while working from home it can become so easy to roll out of bed onto your desk chair.
Begin the working day by creating a list of the tasks you need to accomplish that day, or better yet for the week. This can help you plan and break up the hours of the day into more manageable chunks of time.
2. Take regular breaks
If possible, take your scheduled break away from your desk, giving your mind a well needed rest in preparation for a busy afternoon and boosting your chances of staying creative in lockdown.
Throughout the working day in the office you’d likely be having small breaks from your desk. This may be things like discussing a project with a colleague, meetings with the team, or even getting up to make a round of tea and coffee. Although small, the impact of this time up from your desk can ultimately lead to better productivity. Micro-breaks can be short, 20 second even, but during this time resetting your posture, performing some stretches, or taking a moment to clear your mind, can keep you comfortable and productive.
Get outside. This could be before you start your day, during a lunch break or the evening, but whether it’s the fresh air or change in scenery, leaving the house is vital to both productivity and staying creative in lockdown. You never know, the spark of your next creation may come after enjoying a gentle stroll or a unique moment in nature.
3. Make time for hobbies
Picking up an old skill or learning a new one can get those creative juices flowing. Whether it be painting, cooking, photography, writing, or picking up a good book, indulging in a hobby after the working day is over can help relax the mind, and take away the stresses of the day. Not to mention building a skill can feel rewarding during a time where finding a positive mindset can seem near impossible.
Lockdown hobbies have boomed throughout 2020, and there are many resources out there when it comes to picking up a new skill. Inktober is a great one for drawing, where you are given a list of prompts for each day of October, and are required to create a quick drawing in response to the prompt, and post it to Instagram. Many tapped into their baking skills during 2020, but if you’re new to baking then Bon Appetit has an excellent guide to better baking.
Exercise and meditation is also crucial in reducing your stress and anxiety, and staying creative in lockdown. Many exercise classes have moved online, so although you can’t get down to your local gym or yoga studio anymore, live teaching is available online through Zoom, which has been a lifesaver throughout the pandemic. And if money is a bit tight, or you don’t fancy being on camera, there are many free tutorials you can access through YouTube.
4. Workspace Set-up
Firstly, having a space to work is the most important part of home working. Working from your bed or the sofa is not a good idea. The bed or sofa is an area your mind associates with relaxation, and bringing your work into this space can be terrible for your sleep quality, as you will likely continue thinking about your work during your downtime, making it difficult to ‘switch off’ at the end of the day. Setting up at the dining table, or better yet investing in a desk will allow you to create a workspace environment that is only used for business. This will allow you to transition into ‘work mode’ with ease, and aid your daily routine.
Good lighting is key. Although the days are starting to get lighter, the cold, gloomy British weather is far from over yet, and by mid-afternoon it is still getting dark. Making the most of the natural light throughout the day is excellent, but what should you do on those miserable, rainy days? Task lighting is useful for the desk where you’ll be performing tasks like reading, writing, or computer work. Desk lighting provides a bright, focused light that allows you to easily see the details of what you are doing without straining your eyes.
Ergonomics. Working from home often means sitting in the same spot for 7 hours a day, so keeping comfortable and checking your posture can not only help with productivity, but also should be considered for your overall health. Investing in a high quality, ergonomic desk chair can help keep your posture in check. With this in place you should also be checking your screen height, and be sure that your feet can sit flat and comfortably on the floor. If you don’t have access to a desk chair, try using cushions to make your seating more comfortable. Keeping a jumper or blanket to hand is also useful during these colder months.
“A tidy desk is a tidy mind” - make sure you are tidying your desk at the end of each day, throwing any rubbish away, and clearing that desktop of any unwanted items. As we are in the midst of a pandemic, be sure to wipe down your desk on a regular basis to remain as hygienic as possible.
Staying creative in lockdown can be a challenge, but by keeping our tips in mind, you can tackle the root causes of fatigue and maximise your chances of keeping engaged and productive while at home.
Are you looking for sources of inspiration? Take a look at our case studies for examples of our previous projects and some of the designs we have worked on over the years.
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