The ability to work from home is a dream come true for many people. It helps cut down on travel expenses, the long hours in traffic, and enables one to spend more time with their family. As fun as it may sound, working from home presents new challenges as well. Distractions in the house (such as the kids, pets, or even your mom calling all the time) or your neighbour mowing the lawn can make focusing on work almost impossible.
Anyone that has worked from home (even once) understands these struggles all too well. Changing your approach can, however, help boost your productivity while making it enjoyable as well. Here are a few tips and tricks that can help boost your productivity while working from home.
1. Switch To a Healthy Diet Plan
The type of food you eat can have a significant impact on your productivity and overall health. Most processed foods (potato chips, energy drinks, lunch bars, etc.) are loaded with simple carbs and fats that only cause a spike in blood sugar levels for a moment, then crash a few minutes later. This explains why you often feel sleepy after enjoying fresh fries for lunch, affecting your productivity.
Switching to a healthy meal plan can help improve your energy levels, allowing you to push through the day without the midday crash. Focus on whole foods, and especially those rich in vitamins and minerals. Vitamins and minerals essentially help keep brain cells healthy, while whole foods fuel all body processes. Some of the foods you should consider adding to your diet plan include:
a. Berries (raspberries, blueberries, strawberries, etc.)
b. Nuts (walnuts, cashews, almonds)
c. Seeds (flax seeds, chia seeds, sunflower seeds)
d. Whole grains (oatmeal, brown rice, green corn, etc.)
f. Greens (kale, spinach, cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower, etc.)
g. Oily fish (sardines, tuna, salmon)
h. Dark chocolate
Adding these foods to your diet plan will help supplement your essential nutrient intake, boosting your energy levels even further. If possible, avoid processed foods and only have a bite on special occasions only.
2. Get Plenty of Physical Exercises
Leading an inactive lifestyle is not only bad for your health, but can also affect your creativity and productivity. Health experts advise us to get at least 30 minutes of exercise every day to help keep the blood flowing and muscles toned. Regular exercise improves your cardio health while promoting the increased flow of nutrient and oxygen-rich blood to the brain. This alone does help improve your cognitive functions and creativity.
Don’t confuse regular exercise with going to the gym. Taking on simple exercises can go a long way in improving your health and productivity. Examples of simple exercises that count include walking, jogging, swimming, practising yoga, dancing, and hiking. Taking the stairs instead of the elevator (at the mall) also counts as exercise too. If exercising alone seems boring, consider:
– Ask a friend or family member to join you
– Spend time in the gym and possibly pay for membership
– Identify and follow sports influencers on social media
3. Create a Small Home Office
How do you find working from home with kids, pets, and everyone around? Do you work from a kitchen table, the dining table, or from your bed? Your working environment might be the reason your productivity has taken a nosedive. However, creating a small home office can help eliminate most of these distractions, making it easier to focus on work.
Convert any available but unused space into a home office. The garage, attic room, balcony, or even a part of the living room are examples of areas that can double up as a home office. The office space should be big enough to accommodate a computer table, a comfortable office chair, and be well-lit. Identify a spot with plenty of natural light. Let everyone understand and respect the home office, and allow you to work just as they would if you had to go to the office.
4. Limit Your Time on Social Media
Unless your work entails working on social media, you might want to take some time off of social media during office hours. With no one to supervise, many people spend much of their time browsing and checking social media. Although you might not have noticed, you could be losing more than 50 hours of valuable time on social media distractions. Limiting social media to just a few hours a day can thus help you get some work done.
Blocking social media altogether is another solution you might want to take, especially if struggling to stay off it. There are plenty of tools (e.g., Appblock, Offtime, Focusme, etc.) that can help block all social media for specified periods. All you need is to install the apps on your phone or computer, then let it work in the background. The apps will block any attempt to access social media, including notifications, even when you reboot your phone or computer.
5. Plan Your Day Well
Most people that struggle working from home don’t have a timetable to govern them. Many will keep postponing a particular task until the last moment. If this is you, you then want to take charge and plan your day accordingly. Identify times when you are most productive (day or night), then schedule these as your work hours. Assign any other tasks, family time, and such to your free time. Having a timetable to guide you through the day can help improve your productivity and performance.
Remember to allocate at least 6 hours of your day for rest or sleep. It is only by getting enough rest/sleep that your body can self-repair and re-energise. Be sure to take a break between tasks as well.
6. Create An Everyday To-Do List
Creating a to-do list every day is one of the best ways to ensure everything is done on time. Since you’ll be working from home, why not include both home and work tasks in the list. Here is an example of a to-do list you can borrow ideas from.
a. Write a 1500-word article for Client X
b. Create five social media posts for Client Y
c. Edit articles for client Z
d. Water my plants and garden
e. Exercise for 15 minutes
f. Clean the utensils and kitchen
Creating a to-do list could also save you lots of valuable time. It makes planning and managing time relatively easy too. You don’t necessarily have to follow the to-do list to the letter, but you could do the tasks randomly. Just be sure to tick completed tasks to avoid confusion. For example, you can choose to water the garden during your break time or do it at the start or end of the day.
7. Spend Some Time Outdoors
Create time to go outside and breathe the fresh air. While you might love it indoors, you certainly don’t want to spend the entire week or month confined by the walls. Take some time to enjoy the morning sun, take a walk in the park, or even go for a drive once in a while. Going outside will allow the brain to wander beyond just the house and work, making more memories in the process. If possible, take the kids with you (if any) when going grocery shopping, to the malls, or the beach. You will be surprised how changing the environment, even for a few hours, distracts the mind, allowing you to come back refreshed and ready to get working.
8. Create a Playlist to Listen to As You Work
While this might seem counterproductive, listening to relaxing music could motivate and inspire you to work undistracted. However, the playlist should comprise soothing music, not anything that will cause your mind to wander away. Many people find classical music and instrumentals easier to listen to as they work, a reason you should try some.
Avoid creating your playlist on online music platforms or YouTube, but rather upload the playlist to your phone and/or laptop. These platforms are some of the leading causes of distraction among employees, a reason you should avoid them at all costs. Only use these platforms during your free time, and never when trying to get some work done. In addition to this, most of these online platforms may weave in distracting advertisements in between tracks, beating the purpose.
Working from home doesn’t have to be as challenging as many of us would like to think. All you need is some discipline and the right working environment. Creating a home office, staying off social media, exercising, and eating right might be all you need to boost your productivity. Watch what you eat and identify your most productive hours for work, and get as much rest as possible for the best results.