I have always admired people who worked from home. From my perception, they worked less and had more free time to do also other things like pursuing a passion, going for a walk in the park in the middle of the day or resolving certain administrative issues. Overall, I believed they were more relaxed and happier in their lives.
Now that I have experienced working from home, I can say that I don’t necessarily have more free time, but surely I accomplish more in my personal and professional life. I am happier, more relaxed and my creativity doesn’t feel choked.
In the beginning, it was extremely challenging to shift my perspective from a fixed working schedule, 09:00 – 19:00 to a self-designed schedule. I had plenty of times when I felt like I was shadowing the earth in vain. So deep were certain beliefs rooted.
Fortunately, I managed with time to change my perception, be more organized with my time and start feeling productive in all aspects of my life.
So, if you just started working from home and you are searching for some productivity and creativity ideas, you have come to the right place. In this post, I will be sharing 9 productivity tips for working from home.
1. Create a schedule
I have made so many schedules and routines in the past two years that I lost track of them. After many trials and errors, some things stuck with me and I noticed that they helped me be more focused and accomplish more in a day.
One of these things is planning. Organising the things I have to do before I start working on them is an ideal way to save valuable time. Often, it seemed like a waste of time to take 2-3 hours to make a plan. However, every time I did this, I felt more relaxed, my mind was sharper, and the things I accomplished were many and better done.
It is not for nothing that it is said that things planned are half accomplished. It is like you are detaching from the situation and creating a clear picture of it. Suddenly, the weight of the unknown dissolves, leaving behind enthusiasm and a desire to stick to your schedule.
Keep in mind that different people have different working styles, and it might take some trial and error to figure out your own way. It is best to experiment with different approaches until you finally determine what kind of planning works for you.
2. Designate a workspace
Having your space well divided can help you much more than you can imagine. When I first started working from home a few years ago, I did most of the work on the couch. I was very driven to do something on my own and didn’t pay too much attention to how or where I was working.
After one year, I started having acute pain in my shoulder blades, so much that at one point, I couldn’t even work. I had to go to the chiropractor a few times to put my shoulders back in the correct position.
With time, I began to create and recreate my working space. It started small, with just a little desk and a chair, which eventually expanded into a whole room.
I had so much fun decorating my office, and now I enjoy every single moment I spend there. Also, I am more productive and I feel there is a healthy delimitation between work and family.
Having a cosy home and a working space where you are comfortable and productive is key to living a balanced and fulfilling life.
TIP #1: Don’t stress about having to buy new furniture. Check your Facebook marketplace to see if you can find something you like there. In this way, you will not need to invest a large amount of money and you will help the environment too. I got most of my furniture from there.
3. Dress for success
Yes, get dressed. Don’t be careless about yourself and your appearance even if you work from home. In fact, when you arrange yourself to go to work, you don’t do it so that other people will see you, correct? You take care of yourself because it makes you feel good. It gives you confidence and power in yourself.
It is the same when you have your office at home. Since I started my freelance journey, I have had days in which I worked in my pyjamas, but surely they weren’t my best and most productive days.
It felt ok at the beginning, but after a few hours, it seemed like I was somehow lost in time. My mind couldn’t figure out if it was leisure or work, morning or afternoon and besides these, I didn’t feel good about myself.
4. Opt for healthy food and snacks
I believe you already know that what you eat throughout the day affects the way you think and act, your productivity and your concentration level.
This is just a reminder for you to opt for healthy foods and snacks that can fuel you and not drain you. Also, always have a water bottle on your desk and within your reach. I guarantee you won’t even realize when you will finish it and in this way, you will stay hydrated too.
TIP #1: If you need inspiration on what you can eat during the day or what kind of snacks can fuel your body, check out Pick up Limes. I often make the recipes she recommends, and they always turn out to be delicious.
5. Plan your breaks
It can be very easy to lose yourself in work and forget to even get up from the chair and walk a few steps. This has certainly happened to me many times. Luckily, I now have a watch that reminds me to get up every 30 minutes. You can also set a timer on your phone or laptop to notify you every 30 minutes or one hour to take a break.
Research has shown that breaks can help us reduce stress when we work. We all know that the less stress we experience, the easier it is to be more productive and creative.
TIP #1: Go for a walk and ground yourself. Put your hands on a tree or stick your feet in the ground to discharge the static energy and charge yourself with negative ions. You can find out more about grounding by reading this article.
6. Avoid distractions and time-wasters
Observe the things that distract you throughout the day and do your best to avoid them at any cost. Types of distraction; phone notifications, emails, phone calls, your husband asking what to pick up from the market or your kid who wants to play with you. Basically, anything that interrupts your flow when you feel you are fully immersed in what you are doing.
There’s a reason that distractions threaten our work output: According to a University of California Irvine study, “it takes an average of 23 minutes and 15 seconds to get back to the task.” Pretty much for a simple interruption, don’t you think?
TIP #1: What can we do instead to refresh our minds and be more creative? A good thing to do is gaze on a window. Looking out of a window can give us a quick cognitive boost. It provides a micro-break for our brains, a micro-rest that can be very helpful for our attention.
7. Develop routines
Habits can help us be more driven, focused and productive in all aspects of our lives. But it is important to cultivate uplifting routines like morning routines or evening routines that will prepare us for success.
TIP #1: Declutter and ventilate your working space before starting to work.
TIP #2: Check your to-do list and write down your priority tasks for the next day, after finishing work. In this way, you will know exactly where to start the following day.
At one point, these actions will become familiar, part of your daily life, and you will not even see them as to do things but rather, natural things that you do effortlessly.
8. Communicate your boundaries
If you are not living alone and your only concern is stopping your cat from parading in front of your laptop, then you need to communicate very clearly your boundaries.
No matter how much you intend to stick to your plan and be productive, at one point, you will be distracted. Especially if you have kids. I think many of us have experienced at least once the frustration of being completely absorbed in getting something done and being interrupted by your kid.
So having some clear boundaries can help prevent moments of frustration and feelings of guilt that often accompany such moments.
Yes, if the kids are little, we can’t expect them to understand and respect those boundaries fully. In this case, the discussion should be with the other adult that is taking care of the child.
TIP #1: I can say that many times when I told my son that I needed 5-10 minutes to finish something, he understood and gave me a few minutes to finish what I was doing. For this to work, you always, ALWAYS have to keep to your word. After those 5-10 minutes, you go and give him/her your full attention. In this way, you will create a healthy communication between you two.
9. Go easy on yourself
We have the power to be our worst judge and enemy or our best supporter and source of motivation. The choice is always at a change of perception distance.
Often, we think that we could have accomplished more in a day than we actually did. When we begin to rebuke ourselves over the things we haven’t done, instead of congratulating ourselves for the things we did do, we settle ourselves for frustration and low self-esteem, among others.
Speak kindly with yourself, using positive, encouraging and uplifting words that will settle your mind for expansion and greatness.
TIP #1: Use words wisely, especially those you use to speak with yourself in your mind. Read more about the power of words and how words shape our reality.
Working from home can be both challenging and extremely rewarding. I believe a lot has to do with how we manage to organize ourselves and find the flow that works best for each of us. There is no right plan to follow.
Still, certain things can make our workflow feel more creative, productive and fulfilling. Those things can be schedules, routines, healthy fuels for the body, communicating boundaries, gazing through a window or having a beautiful place where you enjoy working. It is up to you to find what fills your heart with joy and your mind with creativity.
If you put into practice some of the ideas presented above, please share your experience with us. It will be wonderful to know how they improved your productivity.
Remember to love yourself,
Working From Home
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