Since a lot more of us are working from home right now, I wanted to share some tips for how to work from home effectively. Whether working from home is a new 2020 development or if you’ve been working from home for a while, these are my BEST TIPS for being productive while working from home.
I’ve been working remotely for years and understand how difficult it can be to stay motivated and on-task when you’re in your own home. These are all things that truly benefit me. I think they can help you too!
1. KEEP YOUR WAKE-UP TIME CONSISTENT
I’m never going to tell you that in order to be productive, you have to get up at 5 am and have a perfect morning routine. But when working from home, it’s way too easy to sleep late or wake up whenever you want. I find that setting my alarm each weekday so I wake up around the same time ensures I get the most productive hours out of my day.
Don’t get me wrong, I sleep in sometimes because I’m a night owl. But those days are never as productive as they could be. Choose a time that fits you and your schedule and stick with it. If you start your day with consistency, you’ll automatically get more done.
2. GET PRESENTABLE
It’s kind of the dream to be able to work from home in your pj’s all day, right? I can’t lie…this is one that I’m not particularly good at myself. But I always feel less energetic on days when I stay in my pj’s and don’t make myself look somewhat presentable.
I’m not saying you have to wear office clothing. Even just changing into fresh clothing (that’s not what you slept in) can help you feel better. It’s important to feel good when working from home, so I usually wear my most comfortable, yet decent looking loungewear and do a little something to my face.
Some of the loungewear I live in:
3. CREATE A SEPARATE WORKSPACE
To set boundaries, designate a specific area of your home as your work zone. For variety, you may choose to have more than one workspace.
Make sure this space is an enjoyable place to be and isn’t in the center of where your daily activities take place. It’s best if you can set up a space that’s not where you regularly eat or gather. It keeps working from home a more pleasant experience and helps it from feeling like it’s invading all areas of your life.
If you live in a studio or a small space, try adding a petite desk off to the side or using only a small space somewhere that’s not in the center of your living space. Here are some decently priced desk options that don’t take up a ton of space:
Once you’ve settled on your workspace, make it a pleasant place to be! Add personal touches, whether that means decorating or simply using notebooks and pens that appeal to you. I’m linking my very favorite pens, some great notebooks, and some pretty desk items:
4. GET ERGONOMIC
Above, I mentioned how sitting and staring at a computer all day can really take a toll on your body. In order to avoid aches, pains, and injury, it’s essential to make sure your space is ergonomic for working at home.
If you work on a laptop, make sure you raise it to eye level. Otherwise, you can develop “tech neck” or a pinched nerve. It happened to me and it’s immensely painful. I use a laptop desk along with a separate keyboard and trackpad for the desktop area. Many people use standing desks and swear by them. This is another option to consider.
Of course, part of the appeal of a laptop is being able to move around. In the past, I was guilty of sitting on the sofa at night with my laptop on top of a pillow in my lap. This causes heat buildup and is horrible for the laptop. Using a lap desk elevates the laptop a bit and helps alleviate laptop wear and tear.
I’m also throwing in a sidenote about wearing blue light glasses to help with eye strain. I’m including some of my most used products below, along with some other options:
5. KEEP YOUR SPACE CLEAN
It’s easy to let our spaces get messy. But it’s so much more motivating to start your day in a fresh, clean, organized space. Make sure everything has a place. At the end of each day, take ten minutes to place everything where it belongs so that when you show up the next morning, your space is a pleasant place to be.
6. FIND TIME TO MOVE AND STRETCH
Earlier in my life, I wasn’t big into stretching. But sitting for long periods at your computer can do a number on you. It compresses your spine, affects your posture, and can even cause pinched nerves.
Finding a few minutes in your day to do some lengthening stretches will help your body avoid aches and injury – yes injury from sitting too long. Trust me…I ended up in physical therapy for several months due to a pinched nerve that developed simply from me sitting at a computer too long.
Finding time to move your body is important too. Go for a walk outside (or even around your home) or do an online workout. It helps ease stress and gives you more energy so you feel happier and more energized.
I’m a huge fan of Athleta for activewear…specifically the Powervita fabric pieces. They’re flattering, supportive, smoothing, and give compression while being extremely comfortable. I wear the leggings for both workouts and for lounging. Even after years of use, they look as good as new and have been totally worth the money for me. Below are some of my favorite styles. You can see more color options when you click each product.
7. FUEL YOUR BODY
Most people can’t eat healthy 100% of the time…myself included! Confession: I’m a huge coffee drinker. So I pretty much sip on coffee throughout my entire morning. It’s a ritual for me and I’m not giving it up.
I find it super easy to get into lunch and snack ruts while working from home. I recently discovered Daily Harvest, which has given me a wide variety of healthy choices for lunch with their harvest bowls and flatbreads. I also love their smoothies for energizing snacks. I keep the Scoops and Bites on hand for evening snacks. Because everything is truly healthy, it’s been totally worth it to me for keeping my energy up and reducing my sugar cravings, without making me feel deprived. You can get $25 off your first Daily Harvest box HERE.
If a service like Daily Harvest isn’t for you, mindfully shop for foods with less sugar and flour/starchy carbs. Both of those dramatically increase brain fog and sluggishness. Eating less (or eliminating them altogether) will increase your energy so you can be more productive.
I can’t stress enough how important it is to drink plenty of water during the day. I know, I know…everyone says this about everything. But without it, our bodies stay mildly dehydrated, which affects our focus, energy, sleep, skin, and basically every function in our entire body! Be sure you get your full intake of water every single day! I sip from a large tumbler all throughout my day (and take extra sips during my breaks). I refill it 3-4x each day. This ensures I reach my allotment.
Here are some of my food and kitchen essentials:
8. TALK TO PEOPLE
This is HUGE! Working remotely can be very isolating. Even if you’re an introvert, checking in with colleagues, friends, or family during the day helps you feel less lonely during the week.
My colleagues, friends and I swear by the Marco Polo app. It’s a video app that functions like texting in that you can watch a Polo and then reply back at your leisure. Sometimes we’re on at the same time and go back and forth. FaceTime, Skype, Zoom, are also great communication options while working from home. It always amazes me how grouchy I can get if I don’t talk to anyone for most of the day.
9. TAKE BREAKS
Give your body a break from sitting down for hours at a time. Break every hour for ten minutes.
Walk around. Facetime. Do some laundry. Eat.
Sometimes I walk around my house or outside while checking my emails or catching up on Marco Polo convos with my friends.
Unless you have a meeting or a deadline, try to avoid eating lunch at your workspace. Take a legitimate 30-60 minute lunch break. Treat your at-home job just as you would any other job and give yourself a mid-day mental and physical break.
You may think you’re wasting time, but you’re giving your mind and your body exactly what it needs.
No one needs to be sitting in a chair for hours at a time.
10. WHAT ABOUT ERRANDS?
Flexibility is one of the greatest benefits of working from home. You can work when you want and come and go as you please. But I find that putting aside a specific day and time for errands allows for much greater productivity throughout my week.
I handle my errands in one of three ways. I run errands…
- At the beginning of my day or at lunch…with a time limit. It’s easy for errands to take longer than planned. I give myself a time limit and make myself come back home, even if I’m not finished. Pro: I find stores to be much less crowded in the mornings, so this is actually a great time for errand running. Con: If I have a few errands, this usually means I have to go out on another day to finish them.
- At the end of my day with no time limit. Pros: I’m finished with my daily tasks and can take as long as I need to take to run errands. If I wait and run errands at night, there are less crowds. Cons: Sometimes I linger a little too long and take longer than I normally would. Nighttime errands bring on more of a safety risk.
- On the weekend. I prefer Sundays over Saturdays since stores are less crowded.
I hope you enjoyed these tips to help you work from home and be productive. Working from home effectively can be difficult but extremely rewarding! Each of these tips has helped me with productivity, health, organization, motivation, and so much more. I’d love to hear if you have other tips to share in the comments below!
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