We didn’t know it was coming, but suddenly many workers across the country are all working from home at the same time. For many at the time, this may have sounded exciting: pajamas all day, extra time in bed, no commuting, snacks within walking distance, etc, but working from home does present some challenges.
Some workers may find their productivity increases when allowed to work in the comfort of their own home, but for others there are numerous distractions and it’s hard to concentrate: the dog needs to be walked, clothes need to be washed, the kids won’t settle down, etc. Don’t worry, though! There are ways to get around this and keep your productivity levels as high as possible. Check out our tips on how to reduce distractions and stay on track while working from home.
Find a nice, quiet room that you want to set up your desk in. It also helps if the room has a window so you can look outside for peace and serenity when you’re starting to get stressed. The color you’re surrounded by also plays a part, so maybe consider painting the walls a calming shade such as pastel blue or green. Grab a couple of plants to join you in the room, or a cactus if you don’t have the greenest of thumbs.
We also recommend having a set office space. When you have a designated area for work, it’s easier to get in the right mindset and focus on your job rather than the many tempting procrastinations throughout the house, like the TV, video game console or the kitchenful of food.
If you plan on working from home for a while, then it makes sense to invest in good accessories to help facilitate the change. A sturdy office chair is a must, as is making sure you’re sitting in an ergonomically correct position at your desk. If sitting down for too long at once isn’t working out for you, you could consider a standing desk and switch between standing up and sitting down throughout the day. Here are a few stretches you can do at your desk to help with aches and pains of sitting too long.
Help to protect your eyes by purchasing an anti-glare screen to prevent sun and light glare. This should make looking at the screen easier on your eyes and reduce eyestrain that can lead to headaches. Speaking of eyestrain, try following the 20-20-20 rule. Every 20 minutes, stop looking at your screen and instead stare at something 20 yards away and hold for 20 seconds so your eyes can refocus.
You may scoff at this one, especially if you are a sweatpants advocate. But, changing into work-day attire that is not too different from you what may have worn to the office, might help convince your brain that it’s time to motivate. Rather than the cozy plaid flannel pants you slept in, a clean shirt and some pants might be all the trigger you need to get you geared up for an efficient day of getting things done.
Before you begin the day’s work, spend a few minutes creating a to-do list of what you want to achieve during the day. When you’re done with that, write an even shorter list of tasks you know you can complete in the next few hours. This helps you remember and plan for each chore, and also breaks your day down into more digestible chunks. You’ll get a buzz every time you check off a task, giving you a productivity boost.
If you prefer to use a tool to keep track of your goals and accomplishments, there are severals mobile apps that can help you out.
You start off the day with your desk nice and tidy, but by 6 p.m. it’s covered in papers, sticky notes, snack packets and empty coffee mugs. Don’t leave it all for your tomorrow self—straighten it up now! Also, don’t use the rest of your space for storage because as the saying goes “a cluttered room is a cluttered mind,” so if you want a clear mindset make sure you’re not surrounded by junk.
We’re not going out on a limb here, but you can be more efficient if you plan your day out. If you can map out your day ahead of time with your Zoom meetings, time blocked out to tackle your to-do list and your breaks, you’re bound to be more productive.
You may want to check out the app RescueTime, a time-tracking tool that can help you breakdown your activities by whether or not they are productive (meetings, research, inspiration breaks) or distractions (social media browsing). The app will help you focus on the time best spent.
When you decide to take a break, it can be all-too tempting to grab your cell phone and flick through social media. But a better way to recharge is to read something relevant to your work to get inspiration or to walk around the block. Even being outside for as little as 10 minutes is enough to clear your head and help you focus more on the tasks to come.
As we’ve mentioned, social media can definitely be a productivity-suck. Sometimes it’s as easy as turning off your phone, TV and tablet so you can zero in on that work to-do list. Sorry to say it, but the lure of the endless social media scroll will not lead to crossing off accomplishments.
If you are really struggling to stay away, check out the app Offtime, which can help you limit that social screen-time during the work day.
Without the commute home at the end of the work day, it might be hard to remember your work day should come to an end. Be sure to finish up your day, set your schedule and to-do-list for tomorrow and shut that computer. It’s time to rejuvenate.
Hopefully these tips will help you be more productive when working from home. Getting a good night’s sleep each night may also help. Check out our latest article on how to design your bedroom for a deeper sleep. Make sure you register with Ask Team Clean to get more advice and rewards sent to you!