More than ever, working from home is now commonplace – thanks to COVID 19. But in spite of all the obvious advantages, like not having to travel, how do you keep disciplined and productive while working from home?
Here are 12 handy tips:
Get a decent sleep
A good day actually begins from the previous day. To be productive and attentive on any given day, it’s vital to start that day refreshed in the first instance, and key to that is getting good and sufficient sleep.
Obviously, flexibility, which allows one to work till 12AM for example, is one of the advantages of working from home; however, even if you sleep at that time, ensure you still get minimum 6 hours 30 mins sleep – ideally 7.
Start and stay hydrated
Nothing, besides physical exertion, drains our energy and freshness faster than dehydration. It’s why the body can stay active far longer without food than water.
Every day, it’s good to begin your day with a glass of water – even if you’re going out.
Also, you should have a bottle or jug of water close by to sip from intermittently in the course of the day.
Exercising is something that working from home allows you – you can dedicate about 10 minutes of your normal travel time to some aerobics.
It shouldn’t be anything rigorous, as that will also be counterproductive. Anything that gets your heart pumping and blood flowing to your organs fast is okay. You can do any of the suggested exercises below
- 100 to 120 skips
- Three sets of 5 to 10 pushups – depending on your capability
Design and maintain a morning routine
Treat every day as you would if you were going to the office to work in the company of others.
This simply means that you should not just take each morning as it comes, you should plan it. All the things, like exercises, that I already listed should be scheduled and adhered to in a timely manner.
It might also mean that you should have a bath before starting work, or at least get out of your pyjamas into something smarter.
All these things help condition your brain into full work mode.
Create a dedicated work space
Ideally, you should have a study or extra room that you can resume at in the morning, away from all the distractions of your home. Something that programs your mind for work and also signals to other household occupants that you want minimal disturbance.
Whatever part of the house it is, it would help to have a standard work table and chair, especially one that supports good posture.
It’s also important to ensure it is well ventilated. Working in an airconditioned environment helps us stay fresher longer than in a hot or poorly ventilated space.
Stay off social media or turn off notifications
It’s very easy to get distracted by social media – from “one quick look” at a cute cat reel on Instagram to an emotional tweet about police brutality in your country, you could end up getting hooked for the next two hours.
Except your work depends on or occasionally refers you to any of the social media, it is necessary to put them away and turn off notifications till you’re on break or through with work.
Avoid sleep-inducing foods
This needs little explanation.
For me, pap (corn-based) is one food I would avoid taking if I don’t want staying awake and alert to be a battle.
Fast and reliable internet
One facility that is common and crucial for working from home is the internet. It’s what connects everyone working on a common project or staff of an organization together, in real time, while in different locations.
To keep productive while working from home, invest in fast internet or overhaul your home internet infrastructure if need be. Just figure out what works best for you – in my part of the world, where 4G is hardly an improvement on 3G – never mind having 5G – I have now settled for my mobile hotspot, discarding three other modems in the process.
Bad internet will not only slow you down, it will wear you out.
Make use of note pads or stick-it papers
It’s very easy to forget things or tasks when working from home, therefore, having note pads to quickly jot down ideas or task instructions (from a boss) could be helpful.
Take scheduled breaks
In stead of taking one long break after already getting exhausted, it’s better to have scheduled regular breaks of, say, 30 minutes after every three hours of work.
Make use of productivity apps
That we are working from home doesn’t mean it is possible to ignore everything happening around us. There are things that, by reason of our being at home, will need urgent attention. Therefore, there will be the need to remember and organize both our work and the odd home tasks.
Thankfully, there are apps that can help us create notes, reminders, and to-do lists.
Appreciate the privilege
In stead of taking liberties, appreciate the privilege of working from home – without a boss breathing down your neck every 30 minutes or having to commute for hours to and from work – and let it serve as motivation for working productively.
I found some other very useful and unusual tips on staying productive while working from home in this lovely post by Renee Halfway.