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SFU Co-op Student

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Ultimately, working from home has been a major shift for many people, and everyone has different ways of managing work and staying productive. It is important to figure out what works for you and form habits that will help you stay motivated.

There is no doubt that the COVID-19 pandemic has fundamentally changed the workplace; working from home is now being coined as “the new normal”, with remote work taking over office life as we know it. In the midst of this cultural shift, productivity can become a challenge.

So, how can co-op students stay motivated while working remotely? Here are five tips for finding productivity during a global pandemic

1. Dedicate a Workspace and Draw Boundaries

Working from home tends to blur the boundaries between work and personal life. This is especially apparent for students who live at home with parents, siblings and even pets who roam around the house. Dedicating a space for work and communicating boundaries to others you share a living space with can help get you in to the “at work” headspace. A “do not disturb” sign gets the job done as well.

Nikolina's workspace

2. Set a Daily Routine

Although a global pandemic is beyond our control, we can still decide our daily routines. Routines help manage stress levels and lend some normalcy to the challenges of working from home during a health crisis. In the morning, try to avoid waking up at the very last minute. Take a shower, exercise, eat breakfast, meditate or do some chores before starting your workday. I find that getting dressed as I normally would and making myself a cup of coffee before going online increases my motivation throughout the day. 

3. Write a To-Do List

A to-do list: that seems simple enough, right? Although many of us have a working mental list of things that need to get done, breaking down and writing out your goals for the day can help you organize and tackle your workday. Once you identify the tasks you need to complete, prioritize the most important work that needs to get done. If you find yourself having a slower start to your morning, crossing off a couple of quick tasks can increase your motivation and help you get into the flow of the day.

4. Eliminate Distractions 

Students know all too well how easy it is to get distracted while studying at home. To eliminate distractions, close the door to the room you are working in and put your phone on silent and away from sight. Keeping hydrated can reduce food cravings and snacking throughout the day.  Also, putting in earphones and listening to music can help drown out distracting conversations and noises. 

nikolina's workspace

5. Remember to Take Breaks

One of the most important strategies to remaining productive is taking regular breaks. Working for long periods without taking adequate breaks can lead to stress and exhaustion, which will make it more difficult to remain productive throughout your workday. Taking regular breaks will help you set several deadlines to work towards and motivate you to complete your tasks more quickly. Taking a 10-minute break every hour or so is usually sufficient for me.

Ultimately, working from home has been a major shift for many people, and everyone has different ways of managing work and staying productive. It is important to figure out what works for you and form habits that will help you stay motivated. I hope these tips help!

SFU Co-op Student
Nikolina Lalic is a fourth-year business major concentrating in Human Resource Management with a legal studies minor. Nikolina spent one year working in government for the Employment Standards Branch, Ministry of Labour.

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