Time to make the donuts!
As working from home has become the new normal in recent weeks, folks who may not have been able to work from home in the past are now finding themselves in a position to change the way they work.
The pros of working from home are plentiful--among them, no stressful morning commute, less time spent getting ready for the office in the morning, more flexibility in schedule, saving money since not eating out, and more time in the day to go outside and get some fresh air.
Although many people quickly get the hang of working from home--with many folks often finding their workday becoming more productive and leaving them feeling less stressed--for some personality types, it may be a bit more difficult to adapt to this new working style.
In our current situation, our home workspace may be more difficult to work in than usual, and for working parents, the distractions are most likely even more plentiful.
However, there are many ways you can become more productive working at home.
Read on for some tips!
Environment is everything! Whether you have your own dedicated home office--lucky you!--or are sharing a dining room table with your kids eating their breakfast--there are many things you can do to make your workspace more conducive to achieving all your work goals. A few tips include the following:
-Clear off the table--make sure the table you are working on or your desk is clear of clutter. Do you have your own desk with a setup including multiple monitors or devices? Find a way to untangle any wires.
-Freshen up the space--did you know studies have not only shown that having plants around you decreases stress, but also increases productivity and creativity? Try plants that are low maintenance like this money tree, for example.
-Stay organized--similar to above, make sure you only have what you need close by. Avoid having a ton of different office supplies and old papers on your desk.
-Beautify the space--touches like fresh flowers, a scented candle, and a pretty notebook or planner can improve your mood.
One of the biggest mistakes that people working from home make? Not creating and sticking to a schedule. For some of us, it may be second nature to wake up, make coffee, go straight to your computer and work away until we realize we may need to drink some water or eat something. Try to create and stick to a schedule that works for you--wake up at the same time, make yourself get ready and eat breakfast, and take breaks to eat. A great way to kickstart your day is a walk, work out, or jog outside to get the brain working!
Perhaps the ultimate no-no when working from home is working in your pajamas! You don’t have to put high heels on and full makeup, but it’s really important when working from home to force yourself to look presentable--whether or not you have video calls or not! Take a shower, brush your teeth, brush your hair, and please, PLEASE trust us and change out of those pajamas!
Although we often take breaks when working in the office, it can be really easy to just hammer away on our keyboards all day without leaving our desks when we are at home. At the office, we often give ourselves a break by going to meetings, chatting with co-workers in the break room, leaving for lunch, or taking a walk outside. At home, we often forget to take the simplest way to take a break--walking away. Every hour or so, make yourself get up from your computer and take a break. Step outside, get yourself some water, do some stretches--these are all easy ways to take breaks.
It may be a no-brainer, but getting rid of distractions we have control over is a super-simple way to really boost your productivity throughout the day--ahem, we’re talking to you over there scrolling through Instagram! Don’t work with the TV on, resist the urge to do laundry while you work, and don’t have your phone by you. If you don’t want to miss a call you may be expecting, try this: move your phone across the room, or as far away as you can while still being able to hear it. Don’t put your phone right in front of you because it will be more tempting to check it and waste working time on social media. If you’re able to, don’t keep your email open--you’ll get distracted and tempted to stop what you’re in the middle of and get off-track!
This one can be especially hard for those with kids! Try and only snack on breaks, and avoid those cookies and chips you give the kids. Whatever you do, don’t bring food to your desk--eating while you work is a sure-fire way to overeat and under-perform. At lunch, try to stay away from heavy foods; try sticking to things like salads to avoid getting sluggish!
Although it may seem easy to set your own schedule, it’s not. Did you know by paying attention to your work “rhythm” you can drastically improve your productivity? It’s easier than you think. When you are working throughout the day, be mindful of how you work. How long does it take to get your work done depending on the time of day? Do you get more easily distracted at the end of the day? Feel sleepy after lunch? Then try to schedule your hardest or most time-consuming tasks in the morning. Try waking up 30 minutes earlier than usual and taking note of how much more work you can get done.
In the past few years, as freelancing and contracting has become so commonplace, there have been a ton of cool tools that have launched to help with productivity. Browser extensions, project management tools, apps, chat platforms, and types of timers are plenty. Many cost money, but try searching for “free productivity tools” in Google and seeing what you find. However--there are a couple of easy-breezy ways to help you organize your to-do-lists and stay on track, and they require no new downloads. One of the easiest ways to do this? ALWAYS keep a Google doc open or your computer’s Notepad program open. Whenever any new ideas or tasks pop up, fire the document up and jot it down.
On a related note, always make sure to keep a to-do list and keep it up-to-date. This can be even more difficult when working at home--in the office, we can grab a marker and come up with a joint to do-list with our team, for instance. That’s not the case at home. Whether you keep it in a notebook, planner, app, or Notepad program on your laptop, make a to-do-list and keep it updated. The best part? Crossing items off your list!
Studies have shown that sitting at a desk for an extended period without taking breaks to stretch can lead to worse back and neck pain, headaches, and even lead to carpal tunnel. But there is an easy way to avoid this. Set a reminder on your calendar--every hour or so, get up and do some easy stretches. Google “office stretches” or type into YouTube for some easy stretches you can do. You’re going to want to focus on your neck, back, and arms/hands.
As you can see, there are a ton of easy ways you can make your workspace--and work habits--more peaceful.
Now, go get going on that to-do list!