Being in the midst of a pandemic comes with many life changes (and I mean, MANY!), one of which starting to work from home. If you are anything like me, you use to go into an office every day. Maybe pick up a Starbucks on the road. Due to the rise of COVID-19, you are most likely walking all the way (very far) from your bedroom to a kitchen table to (drum roll please!), work from home. All in the same sweatpants you’ve worn for the past three days…yikes!
For me, this has meant a serious lack of productivity, back pains constantly (hunching over that laptop you know?!) and a struggle focusing. The worst part is I literally cannot stop eating because I sit a whole two feet away from my kitchen full of delicious food. As easy as it sounds on paper, working from home is hard!
8 Ways to Be Productive If You Work From Home
Get ready in the mornings
Getting ready in the mornings may seem like a simple tip if you learning how to be productive working from home. But, those people who are rollin out of bed in their sweatpants (was me until about 2 weeks ago), may have a lack of focus while transitioning that to work from home life style!
Think about it this way, while you are asleep – you are relaxed, you are tired – if you wear those same clothes to work, it’s more likely that you’ll take on that mindset.
Make sure you get ready in the mornings. I know it’s weird to fully get dressed while working from home, so I like to wear some sort of sweater, leggings and socks. I put a bunch of my favoriteWFH outfits here if you want to check them out.
Batch your work
Batching your work will be a game changer to stay focused while you work from home. Trying to simply focus on everything at once, while having the distractions of your house, is not feasible. In my case, I have a TV nearby, my kitchen, my boyfriend…you name it.
What I’ve started to do is actually use a timer (my favorite one is here) to focus. I will literally set the timer for an hour or two and give myself 1-2 tasks to complete in that time period. I try and batch the same type of task to help! Batching my work really helps skyrocket my productivity.
Take breaks throughout the day
For the first few weeks while working from home, I was not taking breaks throughout the day. I would simply wake up, roll out of bed and head to my computer until five pm! Taking breaks throughout the day is so important is working smart from home.
For me, this has meant getting outside. Sometimes I’ll take a conference call am only listening to from a walk, or even just go stand outside in my courtyard for five minutes. The sun really makes a difference in your productivity!
Outline your work space
People always say there’s an important difference in keeping work ‘at work’, which is difficult if you work from home. That’s why you have to outline your workspace if you are starting to have a home office. Your productivity will sky rocket, promise. Mine is a small section of my kitchen table where I have a monitor and a nice background so I look OK on video calls, it really helps.
Create a calendar
Scheduling is one of the most important aspects of working from home, and I do that with a calendar (google calendar) and Trello.
For me, I’ll literally block off batches of time in my work calendar where I silence ping and just get through my work. Then, I’ll use Trello to organize my to do list by due date and sort it, and be able to easily prioritize throughout the day.
Write your to do list
Making a to do list that’s too long can ruin your work from home productivity, this is why you need to create a short to do list to stay productive while working from home. I use the Ivy Lee method daily to make sure I’m staying productive throughout the day, I have an entire post on how I do this (here). It helps you focus by prioritizing only a few tasks throughout the day. I’ve started doing this specifically in Trello and it feels SO good when I can archive a task!
Use Video Conferencing
Many people working from home may turn off their video during calls, I completely disagree with this. Video conferencing will help you battle isolation, and therefore increase your focus while working from home. If this means actually putting on makeup, doing your hair, and more – then do it. Whatever you need to get some semblance of human interaction will very much improve your productivity.
Set boundaries with working hours
Having clear working hours will increase your capacity while working from home. A lot of people roll out of bed and stay working on the couch all the way until night…no no no! You must send boundaries in your working hours while working from home. This might be in your calendar for work, or just your physical calendar. I outlined my daily schedule nowadays below and you’ll see that I take a walk before and after work. This just helps me break up the day, get some Vitamin D (honestly so important) and know when I’m ‘done’ working.
It’s actually proven that you’ll be more productive when you’re working smart and not working hard. This is one way to do that.
My Work From Home schedule
In the last month, I’ve been obsessive, and yes I mean obsessive, about my work from home schedule. It is not that easy to be productive while working from home, and I have to be honest, I worked really hard to make sure this could be productive.
I also wanted to test out some things for you all to give you the best advice. So much clouding our headspace during a pandemic. Figuring out the best work from home options has really been a challenge for so many. Especially if you have kids or family near by! (Or in my case, a kitchen full of sweets)
- 7:00 am – Wake up, try and stay off my phone
- 7:15 am – Immediately get dressed & take a 30 – 45 minute walk (I like to listen to a podcast on my walk, it makes me feel less lonely)
- 8:00 am – Get home, shower and make an oat milk latte (I bought an Espresso maker off of Amazon and it has been amazing and so easy to use. And affordable! I have a DeLonghi, see on my list, but the ones I curated for you all are great). Long term I feel like this will save me a ton of money. You know, instead of going out for Starbucks or something!
- 8:30 am – Make myself a healthy breakfast!
- 9 am – Work!
- 11:30 am – Take a break for lunch (I put this time on my calendar to make sure I’m truly taking a lunch)
- 12 pm – Back to work
- 5 pm – Head back outside for a walk part 2!
- 6 pm – Do a BBG workout (Sweat by Kayla Itsines). I have the app and have been making my way through it, it’s so easy and fun!
- 7:30 pm – Make dinner, and make enough that I will be able to eat it for lunch the next day
Voila! There you have it, all my tips for being productive as you are working from home. Transitioning to a work from home lifestyle isn’t easy, but following these tips will help you stay productive.