Let’s face it, being at home all day every day is hard. I’ve been working from home a couple days a week for a few years now, but doing it full time is a pretty big adjustment to me as well. Hopefully you found my Remote Working Survival Guide Part One helpful and took away some useful tips. For Part two I wanted to touch on some recommendations to be more productive and focused while at home. These methods suit me but establishing daily habits that work for you can take a while, so feel free to adapt them to your needs.
1) Keep your shoes on to be productive
This may sound like odd advice, but I’ve always found that wearing shoes inside helps to keep me focused. If you get overly comfortable at home it’s easy to procrastinate. As soon as I slip on a pair of trainers or boots, I switch into work mode, which means I am less likely to lounge on the sofa. Some people go as far as dressing for work while at home, it’s not something that I do, but if it works for you, continue doing it. Adjusting to remote working is all about trial and error, it can take some time to get the routine right for you.
2) Get housework out of the way early
One of the advantages of being at home is the convenience of doing household chores. Completing any kind of tasks adds to a feeling of achievement and getting laundry done early can kick your day into gear. For me, it provides a sense of clarity and energy first thing. I’m not at my best in the mornings and washing up or wiping down surfaces helps to wake me up a bit more. I can then spend the rest of the day concentrating on my work.
3) Look after yourself
Taking care of your physical wellbeing while at home is important but can often be neglected. Most of us don’t have office spaces at home or swivel chairs, however there are steps we take to work effectively. First things first, try to work sitting up at a desk or a table rather than lying in bed or on the sofa. As tempting as it can be, working for long periods lying down can cause serious damage to your back or exacerbate any existing conditions.
Don’t worry about not having a desk or ergonomic chair, I use my dining table and sit on a straight-backed chair so that I’m not hunched over my laptop. You have the freedom to be resourceful at home. If you’re unable to buy specialised equipment or lack the space for it then utilise what you already have instead. I would recommend that you invest in some seat pads though, as sitting for hours on end isn’t great for your glutes. Gym balls are also great, they straighten your posture and you can incorporate a little exercise throughout the day.
Staying active while you work remotely is challenging but achievable…
4) Fitness isn’t a fair-weather friend
Speaking of exercise, this is something that I’ve really struggled with since being at home full time. I used to love going to the gym but since they have closed I’ve not been motivated to workout at all. I’m also not walking around as much. Truthfully, I’m now doing under 900 steps per day, whereas when I was going to the office I would easily walk over 8,000 daily. It’s a steep drop in activity and something I’m keen to improve. Luckily, I have a decent amount of workout equipment at home and some parks nearby where I can take a stroll or even attempt a bit of a run.
Staying active while you work remotely is challenging but achievable with a little motivation and resources to hand. I’ve been watching some workout and yoga videos on YouTube and Pinterest, which come in handy. I also have a stack of resistance bands that I use to stretch even while I’m sitting at my laptop, and a punchbag in my basement to get the heart racing. You don’t need a lot of space or equipment to work out if all you want to do is sit ups, crunches and planking. Do you have a garden or terrace? Take advantage of that, grab a skipping rope, kick a ball about or do some outdoor yoga while the weather is nice.
Any amount of exercise you can fit in will be beneficial, you can even get your colleagues to participate via WhatsApp or Skype if you miss working out with others. It will help you feel energised and will counteract any extra food intake you’ve had while being at home (my snacking has increased exponentially!).
5) Break up the day
Just because you’re no longer physically going into an office, it doesn’t mean you won’t need to take breaks. Scheduling time away from your desk adds a sense of normalcy and prevents you from overworking. People often feel paranoid about how much they are doing at home, which leads them to overcompensate with their time. This isn’t sustainable and can make you feel overwhelmed. There is nothing wrong with you taking a break in the morning, afternoon or lunch. You are entitled to this time and it can help you reboot if you’re starting to feel listless. I always lock my laptop screen so that I can’t see any new emails or instant messages coming through while I am taking a break. It’s a good idea to practise distancing yourself from work periodically so that you have little work life balance.
Do you have any tips for being more productive at home? Is there something essential you can’t work without? Why not share your dos and don’ts in the comments.