The past year has seen a surge of more professionals working from home. While others jumped right in and loved the new setup, some are still trying to find that sweet spot between work and rest. Sometimes it’s tempting to go back to bed when the emails start coming in. Here’s how you can boost your productivity:
Mentally Prepare Yourself
Some people can jump right into their laptops first thing in the morning. But others take more time to get ready.
If you’re part of the latter, try beginning the day with silence or meditation. If you’re the former, try creating a to-do list to get your day organized. Doing so will help you mentally map out the time needed for each task.
Stick to a Schedule
A random schedule every day will make it easier for unplanned activities to creep in. Suddenly, that 30-minute gardening in the morning turns into four hours of weeding, cleaning the yard, and watering the shrubs.
If you’re a freelancer, create a schedule that works for you and commit to it. If you’re a regular employee working from 9-5, then you have to clock in and do the work as your company expects you to.
Have a Dedicated Workspace
It’s easy to be lax and just relax when you’re working from the bed. Those new bamboo sheets will beckon you to hit the snooze button and sleep in. But even if you’re working from your bedroom, there’s a way to get into the grind: have your own workstation.
The good thing is that your workspace no longer needs to be that cramped cubicle in your office. Need inspiration? Go to social media and search for the best work at home setups. Add some plants, a painting, a photo, or a vision board to your work area. Then start color coordinating in your favorite colors! Your own personalized workspace will help motivate you to get to work.
Invest in a Good Chair and Other Equipment
One of the best things you can invest in while working from home is a good ergonomic office chair. You can’t sit around doing video calls all day if you’re uncomfortable. It will cause backaches and a lot of stress, which will undoubtedly lead to less productivity.
Some professionals swear by a top-of-the-line gaming chair. But if you can’t afford it, you can always get a quality memory foam cushion. It’s a cheaper alternative that does the job.
Aside from a chair, a computer monitor riser is another must-have. Make sure that your monitor is set at eye-level, so you don’t suffer from neck pain. Other essentials to add to your list are an ergonomic mouse and keyboard wrist rest.
Use the Pomodoro Technique
This is a tried and tested method for productivity, whether you’re working from home or in the office. Developed by Francesco Cirillo in the late 1980s, this time management method will get you into hustle mode. Simply put, the technique lets you break down your work into 25-minute tasks separated by short breaks. Here’s the step-by-step:
- Choose a project to work on
- Do focused work on it for 25 to 30 minutes
- Take a short break
- Repeat for 4 sessions
- Take a longer break
- Mark each session as “done” (or you can just put a tick or checkmark) in a notebook
Each session should be long enough to get significant work done, and short enough so that it doesn’t get as stressful as working for hours non stop.
Let Your Family in on Your Schedule
Some of our biggest distractions can come from family members who want our attention. To minimize this, carefully explain your working hours to household members. If you have younger kids at home, plot a schedule with your partner or any other adult, so they can help you with the household tasks.
Respect Your Rest Day
Working 8 hours or more every day, including weekends, may make you feel productive. It’s especially tempting to do this when you’re working from home, since the lines between work and rest can become blurred. But working without a break definitely won’t be sustainable. Pretty soon, you’ll feel burnt out.
To avoid this, take one to two days off in the week for activities that refresh you. Enjoy nature, discover a new restaurant, spend time with loved ones, or learn a new hobby. And definitely clock in enough hours of sleep!
You can also schedule a longer break from work within the year. Think three days to a week, if your employer allows it. Use the time to travel or take a personal retreat. This can be your time to unwind and enjoy the fruit of your labor.
Working from home can be an enjoyable and productive time. Balanced with preparation and rest, it can be a setup you’ll want to commit to for a long time.
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