Many people are having to work from home at the moment due to COVID-19, and are having a hard time doing so. For those who have never had to work from home, getting into the swing of things can be incredibly difficult, and can leave you feeling like a failure.
However, all it takes is a little know-how and you’ll soon be ready to do your best work at home. Below, you’ll find 14 work from home hacks that could help you to revolutionize your working day.
Do Some Exercise Before You Start
If you’re already into exercise, great. If not, now is the time to get into it. Doing exercise before you sit down to work has so many benefits, and will leave you feeling mega accomplished for the rest of the day. Even a walk can make a big difference to your productivity levels and mindset.
Doing exercise before work gives you an excuse to wear proper clothes and provides a cognitive boost that will help to carry you over the next few hours. You don’t have to do anything crazy, and even just 20 minutes can make a difference. Try it for yourself and you’ll see what a difference it can make to your mindset.
Break Your Work up Into Chunks
You can’t realistically expect to sit down and get through the entirety of your work without taking a break. In fact, sitting down without knowing when your next break can be can leave you feeling tired already – and often leads to procrastination.
Instead, break your work up into chunks. Work intensely for 25 minutes, and use a timer so you can stay focused. Then, take a 3-5 minute break. You don’t want the break to be too long, as it’ll get you out of the mindset. You can do this a few times until you’ve completed a decent amount of work, and then take a longer break.
This method is scientifically proven to increase your output in comparison to attempting to work for hours at a time.
Pay Attention to When You’re at Your Most Productive
Everybody is unique, and you may find that you get into a state of flow at a different time to everybody else. You may find that you feel better early in the morning, or if you have a family, it may be later at night when everybody else has gone to bed.
Try to save the real, deep work for when you feel most productive. You can then schedule lighter tasks that aren’t as taxing for the hours you feel like relaxing. Work with your own body and rhythms, not against them.
Work Standing Up
Working standing up can help you to stay more alert. Stand up desks and even bike desks are available, and they can ensure you stay moving and don’t get into the habit of sitting down all day. Sitting down all day is very unhealthy, and has a negative effect on productivity.
If you don’t like the idea of having to stand up all the time, a hybrid desk that you can change as you see fit will be the better option for you. This may seem like a huge investment, but if you want to ensure the maximum output at home, it’ll be one of the best things you decide to do.
Add Plants to Your Workspace
Plants help to remove pollutants and help you to breathe cleaner air. They also give you a nicer environment, which is nice when you’re not used to working from home. They make us happier when we look at them, too, and the mood boost can be a welcome feeling when we’re slogging through work.
Have a Designated Workspace
Working from your bed, your sofa, and any other place you feel like sitting can feel great for a while, but it can also mean getting less done. If you sit somewhere you associate with relaxing, you’ll struggle to finish what you need to finish.
Find a designated workspace where you can sit and get things done without feeling the need to move. Sometimes, a change of scenery can have a positive impact on your mindset if you’re beginning to lag, but you should still have your main spot for working. Ideally, this will be a spot with a door away from distractions, but not everybody has that. In this case, try to make it as private as you can. Noise cancelling headphones can help you to block out distractions and get things done.
Some people find that music helps them to concentrate, but not if it’s too wordy. Test it out and see how you feel. If you feel like music slows you down, you could always try white noise.
Use Tools to Ensure Everything Runs Smoothly
There are tools you can use to ensure everything runs smoothly. Take a look at the ways remote team management tools can keep you working efficiently and you’ll see for yourself how beneficial they can be.
Set Boundaries With Friends/Family Members
Whether you live with family members/friends or they are just looking to connect with you over the phone, make sure you set clear boundaries. If you’re constantly answering the phone when they call or solving their problems when they come to you, they aren’t going to understand that you’re actually working.
Set boundaries, come up with starting/finishing times for the day, and make sure people you live with know only to disturb you in an emergency.
Lock Your Phone Away
So that you’re not tempted to check your notifications or answer the phone, lock your phone away. If you have a safe or another box you can lock it in, then do that at the start of the day. You should find that you feel so much more productive with your phone out of the way.
Find Ways to Block out Other Distractions
If you know other things distract you, such as saved videos and social media, then find a way to block them out. Use a different browser so that you’re not tempted to look at these things, and consider blocking social media platforms during working hours. There are browser add-ons you can use that will allow you to set your own hours so you’re not tempted to look at social media during that time.
This might seem strange, but wearing shoes alongside wearing actual clothes and not pyjamas or loungewear can make a huge difference to your mindset. You should find that you’re less likely to cross your legs or slouch, and that they help you to sit up straighter.
Have a Mental Dump Zone
Grab a notebook and keep it nearby so that you can use it as your mental dump zone. You’re always going to have the odd thought that pops into your head, and you won’t want to forget about it. Write down the random things that pop into your head that you want to look into later on, and you’ll have peace of mind knowing these thoughts aren’t going anywhere. You can then come back to these things when you have more space to do so.
Have a Maximum of Three Things That You Must Achieve
Making your to-do list too long will only leave you disheartened when you can’t get it all done, or at the very least, burnt out. Have a maximum of three things that you want to achieve for the day, and anything you get done on top of those three things will be a great bonus. Make sure you only commit to doing what you absolutely have to in a day. Making your to-do list as long as your arm will not help you to become more productive. If anything, it can stop you from getting the essential tasks done as you could procrastinate with smaller, less important tasks.
Have a Set Time to Finish
Have a set time that you commit to being done with work everyday. The issue with working from home is that you can end up working late into the night. It can be difficult to separate work from home, and if you procrastinate during the day then you may end up working during ungodly hours.
Aim to be finished at the same time you would in your physical job. Treat it like a real deadline, and aim to be finished even earlier if you can. Being able to have downtime and let your work go for the rest of the day is so important, or you’ll end up feeling like all you do is work at home. You still need to focus on downtime and filling your personal time with beneficial things that make you feel full again so you’re ready to go again the next day.
Working from home can have many benefits, but it’s understandably tough for a lot of people right now. See what you can incorporate from this list and watch how your day and productivity transforms.