Whether you love it or hate it, working from home is now a fact of life for many of us. As lockdown restrictions begin to relax, it’s time for many businesses to make a decision about whether to shut down the old office for good. If you find that you are now working from home for good, it’s time time to really dig deep into how you’re going to stay productive. Here are our 5 top tips to help you stay productive when working from home in the long term:
Make your bed to start the day
It might sound overly simple, but it’s incredibly powerful. Making your bed is so quick and easy that it’s often ignored – unless you have someone nagging you to do it.
However, did you know that each task you complete helps build a routine for completing other tasks too? Making your bed every morning might be a small victory all by itself, but the impact of it will continue throughout the day.
Get properly dressed for a productive day of work
During the last year, you’ve probably spent more time in pyjamas than ever before. It’s easy, and comfortable, we get it. BUT, if you’re dressed for bed, your brain won’t wake up fully. Getting dressed for work every single day is an important step in being productive.
Like with making your bed, getting dressed and prepared for work is in itself a task that you can check off each day to start building a productive mindset.
Hide your TV – Seriously
Have you ever sat down for 10 minutes to watch some TV, only to suddenly lose hours? Of course you have. Who could blame you. Netflix, Amazon, Disney+, Apple TV (kind of), are all sat there waiting for you to switch on and lose yourself in just one more episode.
If you’re like me, the only real way to be safe and productive when working from home is to remove the temptation altogether.
Whatever room you are working in from home it should be entertainment distraction free. This means no TV, no Games console, no magazines or novels.
Your work place needs to be a place of work if you want to remain productive.
Set rules for house visitors
Throughout the COVID pandemic, you’ve not had to worry about unannounced visitors much, if at all. Once lockdown restrictions are over, we’re all going to want to pop and visit friends and family at their homes. It’s going to be great!
With the change in work patterns though, you will need to set some ground rules for people coming to see you. You need to treat your home as your place of work during certain times if you want to stay productive.
When somebody comes to visit your unannounced during your work time, remind yourself that it’s your place of work they have come to visit. How would you have reacted if they’d shown up at your old place of work? Quick hello to arrange more suitable meet up would be my guess, and that’s how you need to act when working from home.
If you are going to be working regular hours, make sure your friends and family know about them to avoid seeming rude if they do turn up unannounced and you have to hurry them away.
The same goes for phone calls. It’s very easy to relax and catch up with a friend from home, after all, the boss is watching over your shoulder. But it’s a slippery slide that can lead to lost hours and days in terms of productivity.
Treat your breaks with respect
There are three aspects to doing breaks from work properly:
- Schedule them in advance
- Don’t cut them short
- Don’t use them for non-work related chores
To stay productive, you need to schedule your breaks up front. This allows you to properly plan your day in the knowledge that your going to get some down time. You should aim to have a break at least every 3-4 hours of work if you can.
Each break should be at least 15 minutes long. This is enough time to allow your break to process the previous few hours of work and to mentally prepare yourself to return to work in a productive mindset.
Breaks are called breaks for a reason. You need to stop. There is very little point in taking a break and then proceeding to do some house work such cleaning or DIY. If you want to stay productive, consider spending 15 minutes stretching or meditating. Avoid electronic screens during your break, you get enough of them the rest of the day, and even a small break is great for your ability to pay attention when you return to work.
Summary for being productive when working from home
In summary, if you want to be productive when working from home after lock down, you’ve got to :
- Start the day off right by completing simple tasks like making your bed
- Get out of your PJs and switch over to work dress
- Get away from the distractions and trappings of home entertainment
- Remember that your at work when it comes to friends and family calling on your during work time
- Take real breaks to rejuvenate yourself ready to get back to a productive session.
What are some of your pro tips for remaining productive whilst working from home?