Working from home sounds like a dream come true, but keeping your productivity level high can become challenging. No need to put on actual pants; however, a few helpful additions (or subtractions) can get you back on track and productive AF.
The transition from pillow to computer can be a rough one. When heading into an office we usually spend some time commuting and use that time to prepare for the day. After the commute and in the office, you are prepped and ready, but jumping in straight from alarm to tasks can be jarring. The best way to begin is to actually begin - do not scan your social media or check personal emails, instead get right to work on the first thing on your To Do list. Reward yourself after 2-3 hours of solid work with a Facebook binge, just don’t linger too long.
Create structure for your day. Schedule time blocks within an actual calendar to keep you on task and also remind you to take breaks. You don’t have Kevin from Accounts Payable sitting on your desk and chatting about Avengers to provide that much needed breather, so make sure to create those moments for yourself. Determine an end of the work day time as well and honor it. Everyone else leaves the office at a certain time, you should get to leave your “office” too.
If possible, do not work from the couch. Although comfy and conveniently located in front of the television, it is an energy-suck. From the physical way you sit on a couch to it reminding you of those glorious naps on do-nothing days, the couch will drain you. Creating a dedicated workspace will keep you motivated…and awake. Caffeine will also help, obviously. Make sure your kitchen is stocked with the caffeinated beverage of your choice, be it an herbal tea, an easy to use Keurig, or a few bottles of your favorite cold brew, make sure you have enough for the week. Waking up and knowing you have that liquid jump start will make the waking up part far less painful.
Make sure you are comfortable in your work-from-home-workspace, aka: grab a few gadgets. A laptop stand that raises your eye level to the desired 2-3 inches below the screen is ideal. A mouse will help keep the carpal tunnel monster at bay as will a posture corrector. You may not look super cool but your shoulders will thank you for not keeping them in the perma-hunched position.
Just because your job allows you to work from home, doesn’t mean you have to. Depending on where you live, there are various co-working spaces, cafes, libraries, outdoor hotspots, or even a rooftop from time to time to check out. These spaces can help curb loneliness when working solo from home as well as provide a chance for networking and socializing. If you are a social butterfly and crave that human connection that Skype calls just don’t scratch, schedule 2-3 days of your week in a space outside of your home.
Get your best work done when you know you can. Not all of us are morning people and some of us need a little cat nap around 3pm. Take note of when you find yourself churning out tasks and schedule your most labor intensive projects for that time period each day. Schedule calls in blocks so you can shift from tasking to talking without a constant back and forth. This will help keep you focused and in the zone on one project at a time.
Music! Curate a playlist that matches your daily flow. Ease into the day, jam late-morning, sing along during your lunch break, and motivate with up beat selections throughout the afternoon. A good playlist or album can truly help propel you through the slumps.
It sounds time consuming, but meal prepping can help you stay on task throughout the day and in turn save you time. No one likes a hangry coworker, so don’t be that person even when solo. Hunger can slow your pace and have you focusing on what random items are in your fridge that could possibly resemble a sandwich. Put together a few meals or snacks the night before and have zero reason to stress or meander off task when your stomach starts getting chatty. Having meals at the ready will also provide more time to sit (away from your work) and enjoy your meal. Always try to take this time for yourself and not in-front of the computer continuing to work.
Now put a cushion on your dining room chair because no one has $900 for some ergonomic nonsense and get to work!
Now now, there is no need to wake up at some ungodly hour in order to be the CEO of the next Apple or Tesla, but perfecting the morning schedule that suits you can help with productivity, diet, mental and physical health.
You wake up every morning, get dressed, caffeinate, feed yourself, and get to work - throughout this Groundhogs Day process you find yourself thinking about that passion project or small online business you wish you could dive deeper into.