Working from home may not be a novel concept for some, but for many, it is a jarring change from what they have been doing for the longest time.
The COVID-19 pandemic has forced many workplaces to make unprecedented decisions. As part of the efforts to maintain some normalcy while keeping ample social distance, working from home became part of the usual office setup.
If you are one of those relegated to this new arrangement, and you are unsure how to use your time and stay productive while working from home, here are a few tips for you.
1. Develop a daily morning routine.
Having a daily routine is essential if you want to make the most out of your time at home. Remember that a productive workday often begins with a productive morning. Create a plan for your weekday mornings (which you can even extend to weekends) and try to schedule fruitful habits such as eating breakfast, working out, and showering.
Developing a routine for good morning habits does not only impact your workday, it even helps improve your health in general, preventing you from skipping meals or dodging workouts. After all, a regular routine works wonders for babies, so why won’t it be great for you?
2. Set a regular work schedule.
Staying at home can be a struggle as it becomes harder to resist the temptation of a comfortable bed and distracting TV shows. But this can be mitigated with the help of a regular work schedule. Don’t let the new, much cozier environment keep you from the strict schedule you have always followed in the workplace.
Of course, there will be situations that call for a little bit of flexibility, but too much flexibility can result in bad habits. If possible, try to keep the same hours set in the workplace. For example, if your schedule usually begins at 9 am, then be at your workstation at 9 am. It is even helpful to keep the same break times. If you were able to maintain a consistent schedule in the workplace, you can definitely do the same at home.
3. Delegate a specific workspace.
Probably one of the best things you can do in order to stay productive while working from home is to designate a specific workspace. Lugging your laptop around while you lounge on the couch or in bed is a doable option, of course, and one of the beauties of working from home is the ability to work in your pajamas. But this may not do much for your productivity.
In order to remain focused at work, try to recreate the environment you had in the office. If you have enough space in your house, you can allocate one room for a home office. But don’t worry about not having enough room. Simply placing a desk and chair in one nook of your living room works great! Even using the dining room table or a countertop does the trick in keeping your workspace separate from the areas you associate with sleep and relaxation.
4. Prepare your meals ahead of time.
If there’s one thing that can put you off track from your consistent routine, it’s realizing in the middle of a report that you haven’t prepared lunch yet. This may not be as big of an issue if you live alone, but if you have your kids with you, this can be a problem. Instead of living on canned food and instant ramen, why don’t you try food prepping?
Food prepping can be a godsend to people who work from home. During the weekend, plan all the meals you are going to eat for the week. After planning and buying your grocery list, prepare all these meals. Depending on your preference, you can simply prepare the cut-up ingredients in a ziploc bag and cook the meal whenever you need it or cook all your meals in batches and simply reheat them during busy days.
5. Limit your social media time.
Social media is not innately evil, but it can be a productivity trap. Whether you are in the office or at home, social media can be a tempting distraction, but without a boss or colleagues looking over your shoulder, it is easier to lose track of time at home.
Protect your productivity by limiting the time you spend for social media. If you are the type of person who can do this by sheer willpower (or turning off the wifi), then by all means, do so. But for the rest of us, the most practical solution is to install apps or browser extensions that block social media sites or allow you to use them for only a limited window of time.
6. Take a break from time to time.
Breaks do not hinder productivity. On the contrary, taking a break can clear your mind, allowing you to focus on your work and come up with fresh ideas, increasing your productivity rate. It is best if you can go outside and take a short walk. Try to breathe in fresh air and get some sun. If you have a dog, walk him. Doing this increases your productivity as well as your overall health.
If taking a break outside your home is not an option, you can still relax by simply looking out the window or drinking a hot cup of coffee (or tea). A power nap is also good, as long as you keep an alarm clock beside you.
The new work-at-home arrangement may be outside your comfort zone, but it does not have to keep you from accomplishing important things. Using these tips, it is simple and doable to stay productive while working from home.