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  • Stacey Baker

How to keep yourself productive during a crisis.

Everybody works a little differently.

Some people need constant, unbroken silence to bang out their spreadsheets, emails, and other workday what-have-yous. Some put on Metallica and rock out.

On a regular week, we keeps a playlist of (majority of Radio 2!) on a quiet simmer (the no-vocal instrumentals make for great, distraction-free noise, and reminds us that we’re very, very cool). But this is not a regular week.

Many employees having to “self quarantine” from the coronavirus, the possibility of telecommuting for the foreseeable future, and facing an unprecedented amount of kid, roommate, and German shepherd puppy-shaped distractions.

Since pretty much everyone reading this sentence is in the same boat—and could probably use some input on how to keep the existential dread at bay—we wanted to come up with a few things that might help when it comes to staying productive during this very unknown time.

How do you work from home with your kids off school during the coronavirus crisis, without driving your entire family up the wall?

Good question. It was one of the first raised when school was canceled to prevent spread of the virus known as COVID-19. Facebook zinged with ideas -- from taking long hikes in the great outdoors to having your kids make their own solar system in their living room.

Because while schools are closed for who knows how long and daycares may close soon, every parent wants advice on how to handle this strange world, where gatherings are discouraged, museums and libraries are closed, sports are off and your kids have to learn from home.

Here are a few ideas to help us all through.

Set a schedule

A color-coded schedule circulated on social media with blocks for academic time, creative time, fresh air and screen time. And then there was a snarky parody that showed up with “fight over toys,” “raid pantry” and “binge watch shows.” Regardless, the experts agree: Stick to a routine.

Make your own cubicle

Set up an office for yourself, off-limits, where mom and dad can work and it’s off-limits for kids. A door would be nice, but half a dining room table could work too. Even a closet door that blocks your view of the rest of the house could be helpful.

Give your kids their own school work space, nearby if they need some help and encouragement from you. That way, you can leave it set up for the next few weeks.

Take a break and get outside

While doctors advise avoiding indoor playdates, outside bike riding is great. So is playing on your backyard swing set or taking the dog for a walk. Maybe you can do it while you’re taking that conference call, if you don’t have to present or take notes.

Connect electronically

Staying in touch with your colleagues is of the upmost importance during this time. You have to remember that you are all in the same boat, so the processes that took 4 people when you were sat in the office, will still take the same amount now.

It is also a great was to ensure that you are still heading in the right direction. Keep in contact with others will remind you that you are still part of a team, and that you are still relied on by others.

Reward yourself

Working from home can be hard, whether it be because you cannot get out of your space, or you just struggle to disconnect from office/home life. When you manage to complete a task, get up, take a walk around, get a coffee, do something that you find rewarding, and that allows you to get away. Then make sure you get straight back to it!

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