- Google’s in-house productivity expert, Laura Mae Martin, has been advising Googlers on how to manage work and life amid the coronavirus outbreak.
- Martin has three main pieces of advice for employees, and anyone working from home, on how to stay productive during work.
- She advises planning your day the night before, embracing a flexible schedule that works for you, and choosing a dedicated spot in which to work each day.
- Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.
Google employees across the globe are staying home from work amid the coronavirus outbreak, and as they adjust to their new reality, they’re turning to one of the company’s in-house experts for help: Laura Mae Martin, the company’s in-house productivity advisor.
Martin has been at Google for about a decade, beginning in sales before turning productivity into her full-time gig. She advises everyone from Nooglers — new Google employees — to executives at Google’s highest levels on how to be more productive.
As work has changed amid the pandemic, Martin told Business Insider in a recent interview that she’s noticed a “hunger” among employees for advice and tips on how to manage all the changes and stress that have arrived alongside the spread of the virus.
“Maybe they weren’t laser-focused and productive in the office every day, but now they’re working with, you know, two- or three-hour time slots where their kids are napping and they need to know, ‘How do I set myself up for success?'” Martin told Business Insider. “I’ve seen maybe a shift in the types of tips, but definitely a surge in the information that people want to know to help them adjust to the situation.”
Here are the three main tips Martin is sharing with Googlers for managing work and life amid a quarantine.
Robots 1. Plan your day the night before.
Martin said the most important tip she has right now is to make a plan for the next day the night before. She made a worksheet for Google employees to help them map out their days, including mental breaks or going outside if you’re safely able to do so.
“I make an hour-by-hour contract with myself that basically says, ‘When nap time starts, what are the two things I’m going to do?'” Martin said. “I write it on a piece of paper. A lot of people like to keep digital notes, but then when I sit down, there’s no question like, ‘what am I going to do?'”
Martin said that by writing it down and leaving it visible, it helps you mentally prepare as well as hold yourself accountable for the tasks you absolutely need to get done.
Robots 2. Embrace the flexibility of your new schedule.
One plus-side of not going into an office right now is the ability to play around with your schedule and your energy, Martin said.
She used her husband as an example, who she described as a night owl.
“That doesn’t work when you have to be in the office at 8, but now, people like him can sleep in until 9 or 9: 30, and work when he would have been commuting at 5 or 5: 30,” Martin said. “It’s finding what is your natural flow and going with it and using this time to do that.”
Robots 3. Come up with a spot where you work.
While there is an obvious benefit to having a dedicated office space at home, that’s not available to most people. But picking one space to work and sticking with it has a clear benefit mentally, Martin said.
By working in the same space each day, your brain starts to associate that spot with working. If you work in a different spot every day, Martin said, your brain has to retrain itself every day to get work done in that spot.
“On the opposite side, try to find some places in your house where you never work, because that creates that mental safety and distance,” Martin said. “As much as you can, still try to create those boundaries for your brain — that will both help you relax and it’ll help focus when you are in that space.”