In the new “stay at home” environment that you’ve suddenly found yourself in within the last few weeks, you’ve likely faced a number of challenges; And having to adjust your previous schedule (both work and family life), to a completely new “at-home” routine is almost certainly at the top of the list.
In this new reality, you may be working from home full-time for the first time, while also tackling obstacles like having your spouse also working under the same roof, and potentially even having your children home from school as well. The most important thing therefore becomes balancing your schedule wisely, and minimizing distractions in order to increase work from home productivity…
In this article, we’ll address some major tips for working from home effectively, (especially in light of the current crisis). These will include some of the best work from home productivity tools, and work from home accessories that can make life easier and more manageable.
We’ll also discuss some of the benefits of working from home so you can be sure you’re taking advantage of as many as possible. Finally, we’ll take a look at how to maintain your mental health while working from home, so you can avoid any “working from home anxiety” or depression stemming from isolation. Read on to learn more…
Work From Home Productivity Essentials
Before you can work from home successfully, you first have to set yourself up for that success! Luckily, this isn’t that difficult, but it does take persistence. Let’s take a look at 7 tips for working from home effectively…
1) Claim & Create Your Work Space
First things first. If there’s multiple people now in your house 24/7, you have to claim your space – then make it yours. A comfortable work space — with most importantly a comfortable chair – is one of the major keys to work from home productivity.
Keep in mind that this doesn’t have to be an entire room devoted just for you to work, (although it would certainly be an added perk)! You may also need to get creative and determine how to carve out a work space for yourself in a room you’re sharing.
Wherever you land within your home, make sure it’s a location where you feel inspired – and ideally not in your bedroom. With the work/life balance you’re hoping to create, you want to separate your business needs from your personal needs, and trying to work in the same place you sleep could give your brain mixed signals that may dull your productivity and even make you more tired.
If moving out of your bedroom means entering a shared space, this is an area where noise-canceling headphones make an essential work from home accessory, to block out anything around you that you don’t need to be hearing when you really need to focus.
2) Determine How You’re Most Productive
Next, one of the key benefits of working from home to take advantage of right now is that you get to determine how you’re most productive, and run with it. For instance, if you find that you complete certain tasks better with music on in the background, line up your motivation song list, (and pull out those headphones if needed).
Or, you may determine that you like to stand and work for much of the day instead of sitting. You can actually test this out by building a makeshift standing desk, to determine if you like it, before investing in the real thing. A standing desk can make one of the best work from home accessories, and can also help counter the many negative health effects of sitting too often during the day; In addition, it can also help increase energy levels and productivity for many.
In addition to how you work, you may also find that other things make a difference in your productivity as well, such as establishing a “pre-work” routine that gets you in the proper mindset for an accomplished day. Whether you get outdoors to clear your mind, fit in a pre-work exercise routine, fuel up with some healthy food, or all of the above, doing the same thing daily can help you get geared up for your at-home work-day.
3) Design Your Schedule & Set Your Boundaries
Next, another major benefit of working from home is that you can plan your day in order to accomplish the most. Especially if your work-from-home life also involves having your children in the house when they’re usually at school, you need to figure out which hours in the day you’re going to work versus take care of family needs – or how you will split up tasks with your spouse or significant other.
The most important thing is to plan out your schedule in advance and stick to it. Consider a zero-based schedule to assist with planning your entire day – not just work tasks. This method of scheduling takes into account everything, from things that take hours to ones that just take minutes.
This type of scheduling is not meant to over-stress or over-schedule you, but instead, help you devote time to things with meaning and value, over time-wasters like scrolling through social media, or taking longer on certain projects than needed. By giving a time goal to everything you do in a day, you can easily spot time-wasters and plan better the following day.
The goal is that you get to a place where your life is much more fulfilled, and you’ll find that there really is time for everything, maybe you just weren’t utilizing it correctly.
As a final note, make sure that everyone in your family – and even your friends – are aware of your new planned schedule. Many people suddenly take “working from home” to mean “always free to talk or help”, but you have to create firm working vs. personal boundaries, voice them, and stick to them.
4) Define Your Goals & Get Organized
Next, just like you schedule your day, you also need to map out your “why” for every project. It will be much easier to stay within your given time frames if you know the goal, or end result you hope to reach for every task you do. That way, you’re moving towards a shared team destination, instead of doing a task without purpose.
In addition, certain work from home productivity tools can be used to help you manage your tasks, keep track of timing, create to-do lists, prioritize assignments and more.
Not only can these tools help you manage your work tasks – and keep your main goal for each project front and center – but many of them can be used by your entire team at once. In this way, you not only keep yourself organized and focused, but stay on track with overarching work initiatives and easily recognize how your tasks fit into the big picture.
5) Stay Connected Virtually
Next, it’s not an option to ensure you’re maintaining great communication with your coworkers – it’s an absolute must. this means using the best online tools for virtual communication across many platforms.
From product management software to shared documents to chatting tools, these work-from-home online apps can be used to maintain a steady flow of communication and streamline processes so everyone is “in the loop.”
One of the most popular work from home productivity tools for chatting is Slack. Though this app can be extremely rewarding for maintaining contact and discussing projects, it can be overwhelming if it’s new to you – but organizing Slack to meet your personal needs will make it much more manageable. In addition, Zoom is one of the most popular platforms to increase work from home productivity through video calls and screen sharing. Learn how to use it like a pro with this Zoom guide.
Not only are these productivity tools useful to help you do your job, they’re also great tools for how to maintain your mental health while working from home. Social isolation in any form can lead to sadness and disconnectivity, but having shared conversations – even mostly work-related – can help strengthen the bond of a team and reduce feelings of loneliness.
6) Prepare For Healthy Meals
Next, just because you’re no longer going into an office, you should still “prep” healthy meals and snacks in advance, to ensure you stick with a healthy and clean diet. This may include chopping up fruits and veggies in advance to easily throw into soups, salads or smoothies; pre-portioning healthy snacks like plain Greek yogurt and berries; or making a side dish or “main” course over the weekend that can be utilized in several meals.
In addition, meal replacement shakes make one of your best options for healthy, fast meals that can be made in minutes – or even made in advance. These shakes contain well-balanced nutrition for a small number of calories, and you can shake up or blend them with other healthy ingredients to make totally tasty treats.
By keeping up with a healthy diet, you’ll ensure your immune system is functioning at its best, and you can also help keep stress levels low – reducing work from home anxiety. It’s been shown that fresh, whole foods and herbs are some of the best anxiety-busters.
Plus, healthy food is fuel, and without a doubt positively impacts your work from home productivity! While fresh fruits and veggies, nuts and seeds, unsweetened dairy, and other whole foods increase energy and motivation, foods with lots of sugar or processed carbs will result in an energy slump, brain fog, and down mood.
there’s simply no reason why your diet should suffer because you work from home – Instead, it should actually get better!
7) Fit In Exercise & Quiet Time
Finally, you need to fit at-home exercise into your weekly schedule – both for total body health and also for your best mental health. Wondering how to maintain your mental health while working from home, and decrease work from home anxiety? Exercise is one of the best ways, along with getting away from all the noise for some daily quiet time (even if it’s only a very short window).
When it comes to at-home fitness, simple and effective at-home workout equipment can help. You don’t need big, fancy gym equipment to see results. And you don’t have to find hours each day for fitness… you can get awesome workout results with ultra-short yet intense workouts.
Finally, you also need daily quiet time. Whether you meditate and simply just focus on healthy breathing, jot notes down in a gratitude journal, or read something positive, all of these things can be very effective for balancing your mind and body, and regrouping your thoughts. Many people find this very effective to do in the beginning of the day as a motivation boost, but it can also be done at the end of the day as a relaxing wind-down.
In summary, work from home productivity depends on much more than just transporting your computer from your office to your living room. To maintain proper balance between your personal life and your work life – and ensure you get the most done in your workday – it takes pre-planning, effective daily routines, open communication, and a laser-focus on keeping up with your personal health (both physical and mental) to succeed.
Want more in-depth articles on living a healthy lifestyle and being your best self, daily? Find professional health, nutrition and fitness advice on the 310 Nutrition Blog.