Now that most people have to work from home due to social-distancing, quarantine or state-wide lockdowns, it’s definitely an adjustment if you’re used to working in an office. Before I started my current job, I was freelancing for a bit and learned a lot about keeping myself on a good schedule. Last week was my first full week working from home and I tested out some tips to see if they helped me stay productive when working from home. I narrowed the list down my top 5 tips. I hope this helps!
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Create a Routine
Since you won’t have your typical workday routine, you’ll need to create your own. First off, I like to create a morning routine. Mine goes something like this: I wake up around 7:30, wash my face and put in my contacts and usually get dressed to workout. Most mornings I prefer working out, but if I don’t, I enjoy a nice, slow morning. I get a good 30-45 minute workout in, then shower, and make some coffee and breakfast. If I have some extra time before I start work, I like to journal, write down my goals for the day, or meditate. It’s nice to have one last little clear mind moment before you dive into a busy workday.
If you don’t have a morning routine, I highly recommend you create one. You don’t have to be super strict with it, but just give your mornings some structure. It could be as simple as waking up an hour before starting work to enjoy some coffee and a nice book. Do whatever suits you and your personality best.
I personally know that sitting at my desk working all day makes me feel pretty lousy by the end of the day, which is why I really enjoy working out in the mornings. It gives me that extra boost of energy but also gets me through the day knowing my workout is already complete. If you’re not a morning workout person, or just not a morning person at all, I just recommend a 10-15 minute walk around the neighborhood. Listen to a podcast, listen to the birds chip, or daydream about somewhere else. Just allow yourself to clear your mind and open yourself up to the coming workday without staring at a screen first thing in the morning.
Create a Designated Workspace
This step is SUPER important. Even though you’re working at home, you want to make some sort of designated workspace. This will mentally separate your work from the comfort of your home. It’s too easy to just work on the couch or spread papers out everywhere. Before you know it, you’ll end up unorganized and unable to focus. Try not to work on your bed or your couch, those places are for sleeping or relaxing, not working.
I have my laptop and desktop monitor set up on my desk in my room. I know many people also enjoy working at the kitchen counter or dining room counter, but make sure family members or roommates aren’t going to be a distraction. Gather some notebooks, pens, and any other office supplies you may need to make it seem more like a work station. I also have some plants on my desk just for an extra mood boost.
I also recommend sitting and working near a nice open window or any room that has natural light. Luckily, my room is super bright during the day, allowing sunlight to pour in and boost my mood. Try not to face a wall, because it makes you feel super closed off and can mentally take a toll. You can even prop your desk in front of a large window so you get a nice view of the outdoors and dream about when we can all actually go out again….*sigh*
I don’t know about you, but having everyone working at home means my workload has increased a TON. Everyone is scrambling to continue business as usual, but there’s definitely a tough adjustment period in this new normal. At the office I typically take breaks when I chat with coworkers, grab lunch with them or go for a walk around the block. It’s tempting to try and plow through your work full speed ahead with no breaks. I know I get caught up working and before I know it, it’s 3pm and I haven’t even eaten lunch.
If you don’t trust yourself to step away, schedule some breaks. Now I have a routine where I schedule a lunch break at 1pm, and 20 minutes at 3pm for a walk or meditation. Sometimes I even sprinkle in other breaks where I read a chapter of my book to step away from my computer for 10 minutes. Just do anything that takes your eyes off a screen and gives them a break. This can be reading, experimenting, drawing, coloring, doing yoga, etc. Experiment with what works best for you since everyone benefits from different workflows.
You could also try the Pomodoro technique. This technique uses a timer to break work into specific intervals, separated by short 5-minute breaks. Basically, you choose a task to complete and set your timer for 25 minutes. Work the full 25 minutes and then take a 5 minute break. During this break, step away from whatever you’re working on. After the 5 minutes is up, start the timer again for another 25 minutes. Continue this method until the 4th interval, and extend the break to 15-20 minutes. This helps you focus better and is one of the best ways to stay productive when working from home. Learn more about the Pomodoro technique here.
Stay Healthy – Take Care of Your Body!
While I know most of us don’t have access to all of the foods we normally ate at grocery stores, it’s still important to maintain a healthy diet. While a lot of the pastas, canned goods, and frozen items are sold out, the produce section is thriving! I still am always able to buy lettuce, salad kits, fruits, and most veggies when shopping. Since you’ll be working at home all day, it’s tempting to snack. Make sure you fill your home with healthy food, but still make sure it’s things you enjoy eating. Don’t force yourself to eat carrots if you hate carrots! There are plenty of fun recipes and snack ideas on Pinterest for inspiration. Plus, you have more time now to cook and really take time making your meals. Have fun with it!
Have a big glass or bottle of water at your work desk. I always have my giant Starbucks tumbler filled with water and I drink so much throughout the day. Staying hydrated is super important to keep your energy up, help maintain your focus, and keep your mind clear and sharp. You can use this time to take really good care of your body, and staying hydrated really works wonders for your skin, stomach, and literally all of your cells.
Incorporate workouts into your daily routine. If you aren’t a person who even hit the gym before they were all closed, take advantage of this time to get started. There are a TON of workouts on YouTube that are anywhere from 10 mins to an hour at all different levels. It seriously feels so good to build up a sweat and get your body moving. It will give you more energy, keep you alert, and help you have a great night’s sleep. I recommend stocking up on a few dumbbells, some resistance bands (my favorite!) and a yoga mat. You can do any of these exercises in your room, outside, in your garage, or literally anywhere you have some space.
I’ve also stocked up on face masks and sheet masks. I do one almost every other day. You’re home alone so no one can see you in your bright green avocado face mask! Take advantage of this time alone and get the best, most glowy skin you’ve ever had. Dive into that skincare and self care routine while also staying productive when working from home.
Set Designated Work Hours
It’s super important to set certain working hours to once again, separate your work from your home as best you can. Unless you have some extra assignments that you actually need to get done, stick to your normal work hours! I used to be in the office from about 9:30 to 5:30 or 6pm so I still stick to those hours. Luckily my team has morning meetings every day at 9:30am, so that’s a specific start time that I stick to everyday. My workload has been pretty rough this week, so I did catch myself working until 7pm because I had projects that needed to be finished. But don’t be that person who’s watching TV at 9pm and answering work emails.
You may think you’re being even more productive by working late, but it will only hurt you in the long run. Once you’re off the clock, step away from your work zone and go do something else. You will get burned out so quickly if you work nonstop. Your home will suddenly turn into a stressful environment and it will be super hard to relax. So once again, designate your work space and your work time so it’s separated from your relaxing space and chill time.
Stay Positive and Keep Pushing!
I hope these tips helped you out. I know this is a tough time and a lot of our lives are changing dramatically. Just know that everything eventually comes to an end, but we all have to stay strong and commit to positivity in the meantime. Don’t give up hope and keep working hard to stay productive when working from home. Just make sure to check in on yourself and incorporate self care into your daily routine. Get fresh air, take care of your body, enjoy your time at home and maybe learn something new. Make the most of this time and create a new routine to get your through this “new normal.”
Make sure to check out my other posts as well:
How to Set Goals in 2020 (And Achieve Them!)
How To Plan a Successful YouTube Launch
The Pinterest Hack to Get Thousands of Views on YouTube
How To Grow Your Instagram Fast
5 Easy Steps to Taking Better Instagram Photos
How & Why You Should Start Journaling
Plus, check out my YouTube videos about how to make money from home and stay creative!