Stay Productive Working From Home

Chloe Tong
21 April, 2020

Do you feel less motivated working from home? It’s totally understandable! Home is a place of rest and comfort, especially if you are used to working at your office or attending classes at school. While working from home can feel great at first, it may result in a drop in productivity over a period of time. Your brain just isn’t used to working intensively in this setting! Don’t worry though, we’re here to give you some tips and tricks to stay motivated and productive while working from home!

Get Ready

Working in pyjamas seems to be one of the best things about working from home, it may actually lower your productivity. It seems convenient to just roll out of bed and boot up your laptop in time for your first Zoom/Teams meeting. But before long you will want to get back into bed again. Mornings are usually when we’re the most productive, so don’t miss this timeframe!

The solution is simple: get ready in the morning! You don’t have to go full business attire, but it will help if you change into something casual. Wear contacts (if you do that for work) and put some makeup on! You definitely don’t want to stain your pillow with makeup. By going through your usual morning routine, you’re telling your brain that it’s time for work, and you’ll be up and productive in no time!

Have Regular Meal Times

This can sound like a no brainer, but a lot of us actually fall into irregular eating times when we work from home! Since there’s no set lunch time and the kitchen is only a few steps away, it’s easy to fall into the ‘I’ll just find something to eat when I’m hungry’ mindset. This can make us lose steam after we eat, as it feels like we were working nonstop.

Also, we’ll be prone to snacking if we don’t have set meal times working from home, which isn’t healthy (especially when we’re exercising less!). Be sure to set aside time for breakfast and lunch so you can take a break and re-energise before continuing working again. Having lunch at the time that you usually do for work is a good place to start!

Create a Workspace

Remember when we said your brain isn’t used to working so intensively in the setting of your home? Trick your brain into work mode by setting up a workspace. You will only work in this space/set up, so you have a clear separation of where you work and rest. Try working at your dining table or at a specific corner of your home.

If you choose to work in your bedroom or on your bed, try to change up the environment by sitting on the edge of your bed or on the floor (Protip: get a foldable laptop desk!). Make sure you are comfortable and there’s ample light. Leave all the things you need there, so you’ll be less inclined to move around. This will guarantee that you won’t be distracted easily!

Try the Pomodoro Technique

This is basically a time management technique that’s supposed to help you focus and boost productivity. Basically you are going to work for 25 minutes (a ‘pomodoro’) and take a 5 minute break. After 4 pomodoros, you can take a longer break for about 15-20 minutes. While keeping time seems tedious, there’s plenty of online pomodoro timers and apps available.

The idea behind it is that you only have 25 minutes each time to make progress on your task at hand, so there’s a sense of urgency for you to get on with it. The forced breaks help reduce the burn out that we’ll experience after hours of work by telling us to get up and take a breather. No better time to try this out than when you’re working from home! Tip: Use a Pomodoro app on your phone so you’ll be less inclined to check your social media (it’s hard, we know).

Eliminate Distractions

The biggest setback working from home is that you are going to be easily distracted by, well, everything. Like Tik Toks, endless cat videos on YouTube, that new Netflix series (ahem, Tiger King), and all the sales going on online etc. Well, get rid of these distractions!

Download a productivity timer like the Forest app so you won’t check your social media (you wouldn’t want to kill that cute sunflower you’re planting!). You can also download a timed website blocker like Self Control to block access to sites that will distract you.

Say goodbye to your edgy mirror selfie sessions for a bit and put your phone away somewhere far from your workspace. It should be somewhere kind of ‘hard to access’ like under your bed or on top of your shelf or in another room entirely. Every time you have the urge to check your phone? You’ll have to leave your seat, go to the spot where you put your phone and take it out. The act of having to go to such lengths will deter you from wanting to check your phone and get back to work!

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