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Learn about the different ways in which you can overcome a slump in productivity while working from home.

6 Ways to overcome a productivity slump while working from home

The pandemic has taken a toll on all of us. It has forced millions of professionals worldwide to work from their homes. Women have been hit harder than men, since they have had to overhaul their work-life balance to match their new daily routine. This has led to a fall in productivity and motivation. In scientific parlance, this is known as the third-quarter phenomenon. Studies have shown that people who have been isolated for extended periods in space stations, submarines, or bunkers experience agitation, demotivation, and restlessness. 

Thankfully, there are some steps you can take to ease out of this slump – and maybe even thrive in the present situation.

1. Dress up in work attire

Dressing up for work is something that we take for granted. In addition to letting us express our unique sense of style, it also helps us get into a professional mindset. According to experts, dressing up enables us to feel we are in control. In these trying times, when we are overwhelmed with anxiety, this feeling of control goes a long way in allowing us to relax. Therefore, you may want to wear your office clothes at home, style your hair, and apply some light make-up - just the way you would if you were going to office.

However, for a woman on the go, dressing up inside the house may not always be practical. In such cases, you could explore a middle path by wearing a formal blouse or a top and pair it up with comfortable harem pants.

2. Set boundaries

According to a study conducted by indeed.com, more than 50 percent of the participants described their feelings towards the pandemic as ‘worried’, ‘cautious’, and ‘concerned’. To counter these effects, it is important to set boundaries. For example, once you’re done for the day, turn off your work-related notifications. This will give you a sense of getting away from work.

Another good practice is to have a separate and dedicated workstation at your home. This enables you to physically distance yourself from your workplace outside office hours, reinforcing the feeling that you have truly disconnected for the day.

Related: 10 Tips to stay motivated during the lockdown when you aren’t working from home

3. Get a house help

Let’s face it! There’s still only one lady in the house and it’s not him. Sure, men now help out with household errands more than ever before. Still, when it comes to taking the pet dog to the vet, guess who the children run to?

With work-related tasks taking up more of your time at home than usual, employing an efficient domestic help is a great idea. It is up to you to decide whether you need them to assist you in the kitchen, or handle the general cleaning and maintenance.

Make sure that you follow all the pandemic protocols when allowing an outsider inside your home. Ensure that the elderly and the children observe social distancing. Sanitise all outside personnel thoroughly before letting them inside your home.

4. Work as a team, especially when you’re home

Your family is likely to have a house help. However, there may be instances when the help may not be around. Therefore, it is important to have a frank and healthy discussion with your husband as well as children to share responsibilities of household work. This will not only help tackle the work quickly but also ensure that every member of the family realises the importance of contributing to household chores.

For example, you may want to take over cooking while your husband assists with chopping vegetables. Your children could take over the responsibility of washing the dishes while mopping and sweeping tasks could be distributed evenly among the family.

Related: 5 Ways to explore new things during the lockdown when working from home

5. Maintain a to-do list

When working from the confines of your home, it is hard to keep track of your tasks. Maintaining a to-do list helps to keep your priorities straight. At the beginning of each workday, you can review your to-do list to ensure that you adhere to your deadlines. 

If you follow a to-do list strictly, it can significantly alleviate your work stress. Of course, this would involve a disciplined approach. Do not deviate from the list or lose focus. This simple technique has, time and again, proven to be effective.

6. Take small but frequent breaks

As the adage goes, all work and no play makes Jack a dull boy. So, short breaks should be an indispensable part of your daily work routine. According to one study, taking regular breaks during a workday increases job satisfaction and reduces attrition. This rule also applies to women professionals. 

Taking regular breaks is crucial to our mental well-being. It enables us to realise that work time is not infinite and that it has to stop by the end of the day. It also helps us to get into a rhythm of delivering our work by (colloquially speaking) getting into the groove.

With an unprecedented vaccination drive underway at a global level to fight COVID-19, we can safely assume that life will return to normalcy very soon. Till then, the techniques listed above should help us to successfully navigate the treacherous terrains of working from home. Look at these work habits that can boost your professional life.