Working from home? These tips will make you feel more productive than ever
Working from home can be both a liberating dream… and an overwhelming reality. Yes, you’ll have the most eco-friendly commute ever and more time to spend with your pets (or indoor plant friends), but you also may find yourself staring at a computer screen until 11 p.m. still responding to emails. You’ve been there too?
So if you’re looking for ways to recharge your WFH life with productivity, here are tips to help you manage the perks and the obstacles that come with working from home.
12 tips to make working from home more productive
1. Set the tone for your day by making your bed
Make your bed. We’ve all likely heard these three little words a million times. But research shows making our beds helps improve productivity and improves our sleep, which is essential for brain functioning.
And something tells us we don’t even need science to show us how a nice-looking bed makes us feel a little less disheveled and a little more put together!
2. Drink water
Oddly enough, working from home can make it harder to stay hydrated. In between Zoom meetings and home distractions (pets, kiddos, dirty dishes), sipping on water easily becomes an afterthought. But seeing as our brains are mostly water, it makes sense that hydration is integral to brain function. And studies show H20 is critical for improving concentration, maintaining focus, and boosting comprehension and reasoning.
Tip: if you’re not sure that you’re getting enough fluids, check out this calculator to get a relative gauge of how much you should be drinking.
3. Create a different morning “commute”
Working from home means your mornings won’t be spent walking to a subway platform or driving through traffic (hooray!). But we’ve found that this time in the a.m. is essential for daily mental preparation.
Shonda Rhimes, executive producer, author, actress, and superwoman, told Vulture on Facebook that her morning routine includes having a “tiny little dance party.” We already loved her, but now we love her even more!
So, be like Shonda — turn on some tunes and bust a move. Or go for a quick walk, have a cup of coffee in silence, or do a few stretches. Just do anything besides moving straight from your pillowcase to your computer screen.
4. Put on something different from what you slept in
Plenty of studies show that clothing has a symbolic meaning to us, which makes it a trigger for improved attention and psychological processes. TBH, you won’t find us putting on eyeshadow, curling our hair, or wearing jeans (heck no). But we will put on comfy pants and a clean shirt — or a blouse, if video conferences are involved. We’re believers that as long as you feel good, that’s what matters.
Our ethically made and eco-friendly, crews and hoodies make for excellent cozy, cute work from home clothes —just saying! 🙂
5. Make a happy work space
Lots of experts stress the importance of having a “designated work space.” But we know not everyone has the room for a completely distinct work area in their home. Plus, we don’t all feel most productive at a big desk with pencil holders and filing accessories. And that’s ok!
Whether your happy work space is the bar in your kitchen or a corner in your living room, make it comfortable for you. (Although, we wouldn’t recommend working from a couch or your bed.) For us, the WFH essentials include: working outlets, lots of counter space, and ideally an indoor plant in sight.
6. Take breaks
It’s so easy to let four hours whizz by until you hit a total brain breaking point. When this happens, a three-minute Instagram scroll or quick YouTube dive at your desk seems like the perfect brief escape. But research on human behavior shows that 15 minute breaks after longer sessions of productive work match our own natural cycles. And the more in sync we feel with our natural rhythm as we work, the more productive we are.
So, take 15 minutes (at least) to eat a meal somewhere besides your desk, go for a walk, or play with your pet. Your brain will thank you!
7. Don’t be afraid of background noise
Not dealing with chatty colleagues is a beautiful perk of remote work. But for us, putting on a podcast we’ve already listened to, playing music without lyrics, or even turning on the History channel can make us feel more motivated, and a little less alone.
Tip: check out the YouTube channel myNoise for background sounds that’ll make you feel like you’re sitting in a cafe, a restaurant, or beach. Oh la la.
8. Remember to leave “the office”
Stepping out of the office can be a lot harder when “the office” is your kitchen table. But we’re all human, which means we all need time to recharge, soak up some natural light, and get fresh air.
Rebecca Shaddix, a marketing entrepreneur, CEO, writer, and master of the WFH game, told us that physically leaving the house also helps her engage with a community that is no longer built into her everyday routine. For her, even walking to the end of the block and back renews her focus and boosts her appreciation for her surroundings.
9. Cluster your meetings
If you have control over your schedule, Shaddix also recommends clustering meetings. That way, it’ll be easier to dedicate concentrated focus during those time chunks and also minimize interruptions when you’re trying to work on other projects.
10. Manage your phone distractions
For some of us, putting our phones in a different room is key to getting work done. However, if your phone is a part of your workflow, but you find yourself checking Instagram every 11 minutes — take advantage of different apps that help resist the use of other apps (yes, we know, it sounds silly but it helps!).
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Here are three apps that help us stay focused:
- Forest: Specify how long you need/want to focus and the countdown timer will mute notifications until your time is up. And you’ll feel extra motivated because the longer you stay on track, the bigger your tree grows (and if you ditch the app to check Snapchat — your plant will stop growing and wilt, sad).
- Flipd: This tool allows you to “lock” certain apps for a period of time (FYI: once it’s locked you’ve really got to wait until the timer is up to get access again).
- SelfControl: You can block access to websites, your mail servers, or anything else on the internet for a set period of time. (It’s like Flipd but for your computer.)
11. Be mindful of how you’re sitting
Posture is powerful! Good posture is important for our balance and physical health, and has even been linked to helping boost our moods and overall well-being. So sit tall, you’ll make your spine and your mood happy!
12. Make yourself stop working
At first, working from home can seem like an awesome way to achieve that ideal “work life balance.” But without the sounds of co-workers shuffling out of the office or a train schedule to remind you to stop working — it’s easy to get caught up and forget to turn off your work day.
Give yourself a time range for when to say “that’s enough for today.” Maybe it’s between 6 pm and 7:30 p.m. (But if you’re a productive night owl, try to stop working at least 30 minutes before going to bed.) We also find that making plans is a helpful way to force ourselves to stop — even if it’s something as simple as having a solo dinner date or a chat on the phone with your mom.
Of course, your WFH life is going to look a lot different from someone else’s. We all have different routines, responsibilities, and natural rhythms. Just remember to find a sense of harmony in your life in a way that feels sustainable to you. 🌱
Spending more time at home recently? Check out these reads:
- What to stock in your plant-based pantry, plus 10 must-make recipes
- 7 podcasts that will help you live more sustainably right now
- 11 self-love book that will remind you to be your own bff