Working from home can be challenging, especially if you’re used to working in an office or sociable environment, and even more so with children around. It can be difficult to maintain the levels of focus and productivity needed to do a good job and can, at times, cause or worsen anxiety, burn out and stress.
However, there are many things you can do to make working from home more manageable. I have included 8 tips below that are proven to increase productivity, focus, and help you work your best life from home.
Make friends with routine.
As it will become a pretty close ally in the pursuit of productivity. As tempting as it will be to lie in, or spend the best part of the day in your PJs, this will make you feel sluggish and you’ll lose most of the day before you even get started. Working from home means you gain an hour or two from not having to commute, so spend it wisely. Spending this time planning, meditating, or with your family will release endorphins and make you feel positive, energised and ready to face the day.
Having a home office, or somewhere you can work quietly without disruption, is important. It will make you feel more focused and will allow your brain to switch on and off from work. Try to keep to one place rather than move around, as this will make it more difficult to separate your home and work life; under no circumstances should you work from your bed. Your brain will start to associate your bedroom with work time, making it harder to switch off at night time, encouraging a disrupted and bad night’s sleep.
No phone at home.
You have to be even more disciplined when working from home, especially when it comes to your phone. Limit phone use during the day for personal reasons. You wouldn’t be allowed on social media in the office, so don’t do it at home. Remove apps that are distracting, such as games and social media platforms and only use it for work purposes during work hours. You can reinstall these apps in the evenings, but try and stick to good habits. I also recommend keeping your phone in another room overnight, so it won’t be the last thing you see before going to sleep, and the first thing you reach for in the morning. This will give your brain breathing space to relax and wake up.
Working from home gives you a little more flexibility around the content you consume. But, rather than filling your headspace with anxiety-driven social media posts, use the time for personal and professional development. There are tons of free resources available. Listen to webinars, sign up to online workshops, or subscribe to a podcast, and work and learn at the same time. Your productivity levels are about to go through the roof!
Break it up.
Staring at a screen all day isn’t good for anything. Regular breaks not only help your eyes, but they are also good for clearing your head, reflecting and readjusting your perspective. If you are having a mental block, take a break for half an hour and give yourself some thinking time. You can return with a new outlook and may even have some new, great ideas! I also recommend regular stretching to prevent upper body stiffness and to increase blood flow.
Eat me, drink me.
Eating well is always important, but especially when working from home. Swap the packet of crisps with mixed nuts, and your third coffee for a glass of water. Bad snacking habits will make you tired and unmotivated and too much sugar is bad for concentration levels. Small changes in diet and hydration will leave you feeling instantly refreshed, awake and focused.
Be the woman with the plan.
If you want to achieve your goals, increase productivity, keep up morale, find new clients etc etc etc, planning is essential. Planning your day, or your week helps you to set achievable goals, track your success and develop new ideas. Planning is also great for emptying your mind, leaving space for thoughts and idea development. I also recommend making a ‘Not to-do list’, consisting of bad habits, such as lying in, scrolling on Facebook or working from the sofa, to help you stay on track and maintain high levels of productivity.
Hold yourself accountable.
Loneliness can creep in quickly when working from home. Naturally, we thrive in social situations, so our motivation can plummet when we are on our own. Find an accountability partner, either a friend, colleague or family member, to help keep each other on track, to manage each other’s mental health and check in with each other. Having someone you can talk to, and someone who understands will keep you going, even on the worst days.