How to be productive when working from home

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We’re all spending more time in our homes. Some of us, myself included, had to bring the office to our house and learn to share it with family members and even pets. Adapting to working from home without any previous prep can be hard, especially when you lack the space and still haven’t grown used to your new habits.

I’m now readapting to the old routine I followed when I worked from home last year and that previous experience is helping me get back on track easily. So I decided to write down what I believe to be 10 essential things to take into account if you want to be productive and organized when working from home.

Even more, than in a regular office, I find that a strict routine is essential when you’re working from home. You don’t have colleagues to keep you accountable for your hours, habits and posture during the day, and you don’t have to rely on public transportation schedules or the traffic to know when you should leave the house in the morning. The lack of physical boundaries also makes it especially hard to be able to switch between home and office mode and this is even worse if you don’t have an actual home office separated from your bedroom or living room.

There are 10 things you can take into account that will be applicable to people in most situations and will help shape your overall mindset and habits during this time.

Tweak your morning routine to accommodate this new way of working. Your lack of commute means more time to do things. Try to understand what will be beneficial to keep in the morning but consider shifting some of your old habits to turn into afternoon or evening habits. You can now use this extra time to cook your lunch in advance, clean your house, exercise, or sleep an extra hour. Your pick.

Your living area is now your working space as well, so if you’re behind your cleaning routine, now’s the time to make it perfect. An untidy, unorganized environment generates high levels of stress, reduces productivity, and overall shifts your focus to the mess instead of the work in front of you. Make this a top priority during your first few days working at home.

Make sure to start, pause, and finish working at the same time, every day, and, if possible, using the same routine you would in regular office hours.

As much as it is comfy to work in your PJ’s, please don’t. After you finish your morning routine, change into something extra comfy but make sure you picked an outfit that you wouldn’t fall asleep wearing.

Make a ritual out of setting up your workstation in the morning and put everything away at the end of the day. This creates the illusion that there’s a limit between your working hours and your free time.

Prepping your lunch the night before or in the morning also helps you stay in track during the day and avoid cooking meals from scratch during your lunch break. All of the cooking and cleanup in the middle of your day can be more stressful than relaxing so it’s important that you try to overcome the tendency of fixing your meals during your break.

If you have to take your dog outside during the day, make sure to set a couple of alarms on your phone so you go at the same time every single day. This way you won’t have to constantly worry whether they need to go outside. I also recommend you to free more time in the morning, before you start working, to play and do a bigger workout with your dog. Unless your dog it over-the-top high energy, this will probably guarantee that he will feel calmer and sleepier during the first part of your workday.

If there’s someone else in your household working from home and you’re sharing the same space, establish simple boundaries regarding your working hours, working space, and breaks. Are you going to take calls during the day, listen to music out loud, or bring hot drinks and food to the desk? Figure out beforehand what will make the other person feel comfortable during these days, as it can be hard to adapt to work from home while lacking the proper space and conditions.

Make sure you take regular, hourly breaks during the day. If you live in a small space, remember to stretch frequently, open up the windows, and let the fresh air in or even engage in super quick five-minute cleaning sessions just to move a little.

Finally, don’t forget to drink plenty of water during the day. Just keep a water bottle nearby and challenge yourself to drink it until lunch break and then refill it at that time.

FTC: This video is sponsored by CuriosityStream.

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