Keep Calm and Carry On: What We’re Doing to Stay Productive (and Sane) While Working From Home
During our various 2020 New Year celebrations, none of us would have guessed that a few months later, we’d be facing a worldwide pandemic. It’s all too easy to let moments of stress, isolation, or fear take over our thoughts and affect our days. So now – perhaps more than most of us have experienced ever before – it’s crucial for us to stay connected and keep our days as “normal” as possible.
Here at Auxana, we’re incredibly grateful to have each others’ support during these strange times. Here’s what we’ve all been doing to stay productive – and sane – while working from home and practicing social distancing.
Beth Lebowitz, CEO
- What I’m Doing to Stay Productive: It is easy to get overwhelmed with daily tasks, projects, and goals, so keeping organized is crucial. Especially during a time when it feels like everything has been turned upside down! I try to only have one inbox open at a time and block time for each of my General Counsel clients as well as for my Auxana projects, and to be totally present and engaged with what I’m working on at the time. Stopping alerts and turning off distractions helps a lot. I also use the brain.fm app for some great “deep work” focus music.
- What I’m Doing to Stay Sane: Lots of walks and bike rides outside with my girls; the fresh air helps all of us, especially if we’ve been inside for too long. We are also doing a lot of art projects and baking. During the time when I’m with my girls, I typically leave my mobile in the office so that I can focus on being present with my family. And, I have been loving my new Peloton! The goal trackers and achievement badges are really motivating and it has been a great escape from stressful times.
Valerie Spengler, Chief Revenue Officer
- What I’m Doing to Stay Productive: Trying to keep as much “normal” as possible in our routine has kept us on track, and kept my toddlers from experiencing too much unrest. I still use my 5:30am alarm to give me time to shower before they wake up and make them lunches in their Bentgo boxes to put in the fridge. I then “pack” my own lunch before heading up to my office, to minimize going down to the kitchen (because it’s right by the laundry room, which I can’t resist!).
- I have re-established the art of organizing my To-Do list as such: Quarterly Goals, Monthly Goals, Weekly Goals, and Daily Tasks. This helps put some much-needed blinders on so I can stay focused.
- What I’m Doing to Stay Sane: It’s important for me to stay realistic about work hours. We are so used to having social contact during an office work day to help break up the time. I find that for every hour of “office” work time, it takes me around 40 minutes to complete the same task from home.
- Also, keeping the windows open for fresh air helps me stay alert. That, and an abundant supply of chocolate.
Tiffany Christianson, COO
- What I’m Doing to Stay Productive: I’m identifying specific tasks for the day to keep my attention from getting too fragmented. Also, I’m making sure to stay honest with myself about what my kids need – like real and focused attention (and lunch and snacks because hungry tummies don’t care about conference calls!!) – in order to be happy and successful while doing school from home.
- What I’m Doing to Stay Sane: Getting outside for even a little bit really helps me. I’m also recognizing the good – like gratitude for basic things, more family time, and being less rushed every day – that is happening as a result of living much of life from our house. I’m also making pretty areas for each person in our family to get work/schoolwork done. These things pull me out of rough spells.
Matt Adams, Chief Strategy Officer
- What I’m Doing to Stay Productive: I’m normally super calendar driven, but with so many events, meetings, and activities canceled, it’s easy to feel lost in the day. I started using a to-do list app that lets me schedule my daily tasks. Any.do has been a fun find as it’s simple but keeps me looking to my calendar for things to do, when, and what’s next. Staying in control of all my tasks with set times leads to productivity.
- What I’m Doing to Stay Sane: A lot of Facetime/video chats have been great. I’ve been checking in on others and offering help. Being a servant to others is a good way to keep the big picture in mind, ease the burden for others, and be a good human.
- Between all that, I have also been getting in bike rides and workouts, playing with the kids, watching movies, and working on house projects.
Stacy Mirkay, Social Media & Brand Advisor
- What I’m Doing to Stay Productive: I typically do everything in person, so I’m learning to use video conferencing and FaceTime for work, as well as with friends and family, and I’m actually enjoying it! I’m participating in some online classes that I’ve been wanting to take, but hadn’t had the time.
- Also, my laundry has never been so caught up, and I’m tackling my closet next.
- What I’m Doing to Stay Sane: I’m a control freak and need exercise to keep me calm. Keeping a routine including waking up at a regular time and “getting ready” for work, and scheduling in classes during down time has helped my busy brain stay focused. I’m going outdoors, bike riding, taking walks, and have found a few online cardio and yoga classes that help calm me.
Chris Pruitt, Digital Marketing Manager
- What I’m Doing to Stay Productive: I have been using this planner for about a year now: https://bestself.co/collections/featured/products/self-journal. I make a list of the top three tasks I need to accomplish that day, along with my work goal. Outlining my day is helpful for me to stick to a schedule as much as possible.
- I have a tween and two teens who are all doing online learning while I’m working from home. We’ve created a family schedule and chore chart so everyone has assigned household responsibilities, and set work or school time. In the morning, the older two are helping their middle school sister so I can work separately.
- What I’m Doing to Stay Sane: I am getting up about an hour before the rest of my family so I can workout, plan my day, and have my coffee. My girls and I take a mid-morning break to walk our dog Daisy, and get some fresh air every day. This is helping me stay in the moment and focus on the right actions. We have a pretty big backyard, and we designated the corner with a table as space to get away from everyone else as-needed. I might be using it the most with my coffee and laptop.
- At the end of the day, we are having dinner as a family, with rotating cleanup and cooking duties. We have been finishing our day with either a movie or family reading time with hot tea – or wine. We’ve also utilized Zoom for some virtual “family dinners” with friends.
Rachel Beauvais, Content Writer
- What I’m Doing to Stay Productive: Keeping a daily routine is crucial for me – Getting up, putting myself together, making tea & breakfast, and sticking to as “normal” a schedule as possible. It would be easy for me to go into “sloth” mode and let myself work from my bed, stay in my pajamas all day, etc., but I don’t want to develop bad habits during this time.
- Taking a break by doing something active every day also helps keep me energized and in a positive, productive headspace.
- What I’m Doing to Stay Sane: I’m fighting my introverted-instincts to go “full hermit” by getting outside to walk my dogs, and feel the sun and breeze on my skin. I love to cook and bake, so I’ve also been experimenting with new recipes (I have a new Le Creuset dutch oven that I’ve been having a blast using).
- While I’m usually the type of person who prefers to text, I’ve actually been enjoying having video-chats with friends and family. Getting to see the faces of my loved-ones always puts a smile on mine.