I know we’re all working from home more than ever. It takes resilience and flexibility to make this work while being productive.
Below I’m sharing the most important ways you’ll be more productive working from home.
I know they’ll go against most of what you’ve heard. But then again, most life advice on the internet is pretty out of touch with reality, so I don’t think that’s strange.
Change work spots
By all means, change your work spot. I know productivity tip number one is to have a designated workspace. Though that can be nice to have at times, it’s even nicer to move around. The lack of coworkers at home, energy, and inspiration means we have to create our own. For me, changing my work spot helps.
In the morning, I like starting work on my couch. By the end of the morning when I start losing focus, I move to the dining table. Late in the afternoon, I might switch to the bed or couch again.
Don’t be too rigid
If your job allows you flexible working hours, take advantage of it. With flexible working hours I mean, do you have deadlines and you need to get things done by x date or time? Great. Because if you wake up and you feel totally, utterly resistant to working, you can just take some time off. When your mind feels dull, the best thing to do usually is to get some movement in. Go outside, get a takeout coffee in your neighborhood and support your locals.
It’s easy to get obsessed with your calendar. Maybe last week you planned to do x task on Tuesday morning, but now that it is Tuesday morning, you really don’t feel it. Learn to differentiate between “my soul doesn’t feel it” and “I’m just procrastinating now.” The latter needs a kick in the butt; the first needs some proper me-time.
Write everything down in your calendar
You might think this goes against what I just said but let me explain. Having a packed calendar with all your tasks scheduled down to the hour is great for an overview. When you can see within one glance what needs to get done, when, and how long of a time you’ve estimated for it, you can see where you can be flexible. If you had x task for Tuesday morning 9 to 12, just drag the task to 4 – 7.
I know not everyone has that much flexibility but grab it where you can. Sometimes you sit down with your laptop, and you just know you’ll waste the 2 hours to come. Because you don’t feel it. Your conscience is fooling you: the task won’t get done any quicker than if you had just gone outside for a walk and had a change of scenery – the opposite actually.
Cook your own food
If you work a lot on your laptop, tasks like cooking can be grounding and refreshing. It might not feel like that when you first start, but I promise it’s worth it. Preferably pick a dish that requires a fair bit of chopping.
Have an activity ready
When you feel dull, unfocused, and really over your work, a grounding activity can change the course of your day and your mind. For me, these grounding activities are:
- A 20-minute Melissa wood health Pilates workout
- Taking my camera out to take some pictures in the neighborhood
- Walk the dog
- Catch some sun on the balcony (without a phone)
You will work better when you really feel like working and getting things done. Maybe that doesn’t sound realistic to you but try it out. Some days you might feel more like crushing all the tedious tasks; other days feel more creative. And yes, sometimes what needs to get done needs to get done.
When you can, allow yourself a little more space to feel it out and get a sense of what you naturally feel like doing. When you don’t feel resistance, it’s easier to get the job done – and the quality usually is better!
Fill your fridge with healthy snacks
Give yourself the right energy kicks by always stocking up on healthy snacks. My favorites are walnuts and dates (I get these at Costco), ingredients for a smoothie: banana, frozen mango spinach, maca powder, oats, agave syrup. I also like to have a couple of different healthy nut bars on hand (no sugar!).
Get up early
I work best when the world is silent, and in my house at that’s anywhere before 9 am. When I look back on my days, I notice that the biggest portion of the work always gets done in the early hours, and I really like that.
Somehow when I’m not 100% awake yet, I’m not so scared of the big/boring/difficult tasks, and I just do it.
Law of the least effort
When you have to force being productive, just stop and do the opposite instead. Most productivity advice goes something like this: sit at your desk, even when you don’t feel it. Get up at 5 am and just go and do it. Don’t let yourself get up for a snack until the task gets done. I don’t know about you, but that kind of advice makes me a rebel.
Treat yourself like the grown-up you are and allow yourself to do things when and how you feel like it. When you give yourself space to be, you will still get the job done. But then it doesn’t feel like torture – and that makes all the difference.