First and foremost, I hope everyone reading this is healthy, safe, and not having too difficult of a transition to whatever your new circumstances are. While it was difficult for me to leave my home at Babson for the remainder of the semester, I have been finding solace in that this unfortunate circumstance presents a unique opportunity to re-define my lifestyle. The increased flexibility of remote learning and working can allow us to make more defined decisions about how we spend our energy.
With that said, I have 5 distinct things I have done to ensure that I am efficient and productive outside of a formal work setting. I hope you all can benefit from these tips. Do not hesitate to reach out for a consultation if you would like some more help setting up an effective routine.
Step 1: Make a list of your priorities.
In the more comfortable setting of our homes, it’s easy to muddle our priorities. Many of us may have found much more Netflix binging or media scrolling than usual. To help prevent this, try physically writing down all your priorities and obligations — health, school, work, personal projects, family duties, etc. Then, try to the best of your ability to prioritize these.
When I did this exercise, this is what my list looked like:
- Keep up good mental/physical health
- Maintain academics
- Produce quality work for Calyx
- Grow ALT
- Create/maintain strong, lasting connections
Step 2: Make a list of habits that you want to stop, start, and continue.
This new environment presents an opportunity to create new habits, or end old ones that were no longer serving you. Write down a list of habits that are important to you. It can be helpful to divide them up between habits that you want to stop, start, and continue.
Here is what my list of habits looks like:
Stop: Snoozing my alarm in the morning
Start: Taking a daily walk, doing 2 full yoga sessions daily (min 5 days/week)
Continue: Journal twice daily, taking time on Sundays for goal review and self care
Step 3: Set up a system to keep you accountable for your time.
The best way I’ve found for myself and most of my peers to do this is by keeping a calendar. With lots of online meetings/appointments, it’s important to make sure you’re on top of them. We no longer have the structure of having to physically go to a different space, so it’s more important now than ever to create time boundaries for yourself in terms of when you get up, when your working hours are, and when you are going to have down time and check in with friends. Everything is going to take a little more effort right now, but scheduling it can make it run a lot more smoothly, and ensure that you’re keeping those priorities from step 1 in line, and there is space for your habits in step 2.
Here is a video showing how I blocked my calendar for my first week of remote working/learning:
I go more in depth into this process in this blog post.
Step 4: Set up a system for you to keep accountable for your tasks.
Entirely online classes can be difficult to manage, and every professor is going to be doing things differently. So, I’ve found it helpful to consolidate everything into one place where I can reference all of my work as a dashboard organized first by subject and then by due-date. I use Trello for this, and if you’re looking to set up a system let me know, I can help!
Here is a video of how I did my Trello for this week:
I go more in depth to this process in this blog post.
Step 5: Establish boundaries with yourself and those around you.
Now that most of us are around family or people who aren’t used to us being around in a working state, we can all benefit from having an honest conversation about what we need from one another to be successful. It can be as simple as giving a signal that you are focusing and would like not to be disturbed, like wearing headphones. Or, maybe you need to ask the other members of the household what you can do to make sure your presence won’t interfere with their usual routine. Everyone has to make some concessions right now, and the best thing you can do is communicate your needs, as well as what you are willing to do to contribute.
I hope these tips can contribute to creating a positive beginning to your transition. I encourage everyone to think about how this new situation creates an opportunity for growth.
Again, if you’re struggling to manage yourself during this time, please don’t hesitate to schedule a consultation! I will be posting more tips about work routines and ways we can stay productive and positive during this time. 🙂