I’ve been working from home for so long now that I don’t even know how I could go back to a 9 to 5 job. However, I know it’s not for everyone. With the current global situation, whether you are happy to remain at home to work or not, here are some tips that I have gathered over the years that helped me improve my productivity, and, even if I love working from home, my sanity! So here they are, in no particular order:
1- Stay hydrated while working
This is probably my number one tip because it makes everything else easier. You most likely have access to fresh water at home. Make use of this confined situation and increase your water intake. If you are not very much into drinking plain water, try herbal tea. But remember that water is the best drink by far for your body; the more you drink it, the more you’ll get used to it and appreciate it.
2- Open your windows
I used to open my windows every day for at least 15 minutes (yes, I live in Canada and I still managed to do it during the winter!). However, I’ve noticed that I am losing this habit completely when we moved to an apartment with aircon. Fresh air is so much better than the filtered air travelling through pipes connected to hundreds of apartments. This fresh air sanitizes your home, expels bacteria, and makes the dust go away, at least part of it.
3- Go out at least once a day
Go out! Breath in fresh air and take in the natural light (or even the sun if it’s a sunny day!); it’s some natural light therapy. You’ll feel happier, more motivated and far more productive at work after your little walk. This has been shown in many studies such as this one from Forbes.
Of course, some studies have shown that even looking at a screensaver with a picture of greenery can have a great effect. But experiencing some fresh air and natural light is so much better, even for a short 15 minutes.
Stretching is easy, and you should actually stretch every 30 minutes. It’s important to move your body often to ensure your metabolism stays active. You don’t even need to get up. You can read your emails and stretch your arms and legs at the same time. Here are 10 easy chair yoga poses that you can use regularly while staying at your desk.
5- Get movin’
Some apps, such as Fitbit (this post is not sponsored) can remind you to walk at least 250 steps every hour. You can stretch every 30 minutes without leaving your chair, but it’s also important that you take a few steps regularly. After a while, your metabolism is almost inactive and that’s usually when you start snacking. Your need for movement is mistaken for boredom, and our will for productivity and our sweet tooth transforms that need in craving for junk food. Of course, you can snack, but only if you are still hungry after walking for a few minutes, and maybe coupling with my #1 tip, drinking a glass of water.
6- Eat healthily
No excuse. You are working from home, you don’t have to go to the closest vending machine to have a chocolate bar as a snack instead of a healthy lunch. You can grab a couple of fresh food from your fridge and prepare, in less than 5 minutes, a delicious healthy meal. If you don’t have anything in your fridge, well maybe now is the time to get your steps in, and to go outside! Go to the grocery store, and pick up some veggies, fruits, carbs and healthy protein. However, I highly encourage you to have these ready for the next few days. Grocery shopping is time-consuming after all, and not always a pleasant task.
Please, whatever happens, try not to rely too much on canned food, especially canned meat or fish. There are so many other ways to have your proteins than rely on these. They have no nutrients and are far from being high-quality food. If you love your steak, choose the quality instead of the quantity and the convenience, it’s never a good choice regarding perishable food.
7- Use the Pomodoro method
Being productive is one thing but first, you need to find a way to reach your deep focused state. Deep focus is when nothing interferes with your current task. You need to isolate yourself, ignoring all external solicitation including emails and social media.
I know that it’s not always easy. We are four adults living in a 700 square feet apartment when we are all home, we need to find some ways to isolate without forcing everyone else to stop living for hours. My solution is to set some deep focus music (available for free on YouTube or Spotify) and use headphones.
If you have little ones, use their nap time to work fully focused. I know by experience, that your children can learn very well that now is not the time to disturb Mom or Dad. Of course, I don’t pretend that I can get a 4-year-old quiet for 3 hours waiting for me to finish my deep work. But you can set some 20 to 30 minutes block when your children are playing. These are 30 valuable minutes that you have to do your most demanding tasks. I was managing a 12 employees company while having a 6-year-old and a 9-year-old homeschooled for 6 months without any other help than a cleaning lady 4 hours a week. It’s all a matter of sensible planning and flexibility.
These tips are already a lot to put in practice, so I will stop here. However, I already have on the burner some tips to help you enjoy your home more and some tips to maintain your health using natural preventive tools; so stay tuned, you can subscribe to our newsletter! We are currently running a 20-day challenge, that we will soon transform in a more convenient Pdf booklet. You will receive it for free along with our weekly newsletter/post.
Stay safe, stay healthy and stay active!
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