Ah working from home…. For the majority of us, work is work and home is home. But when your home suddenly becomes your workspace, it can be tricky to separate the two. And with most of the population now #wfh due to the pandemic of COVID-19, now more than ever, we need to adapt to new environments and a way of living and working.
Over the years I have spent part of my career working from home, in some way or another, and I have adopted a number of habits to ensure that I am as productive as possible. Here are my top tips for a successful day working from home:
GET EXPOSURE TO LIGHT
And by light, I mean daylight. When we commute into work, we start our days by exposing our eyes to natural light (Ok winter in the UK is pretty dark…) which helps contribute to our circadian rhythm, the natural cycle that governs our wake and sleep patterns. This light tells our body that the day has begun, and helps prompt our energy systems.
If your new working from home set up means going from bed to desk (hopefully a shower somewhere in between), then you might be missing this crucial energy booster.
Aim for ten minutes of fresh air and natural light in the morning, and once again in the afternoon for a refreshing pick me up.
MAKE A TO-DO LIST
I always begin my day by noting down a list of my tasks for the day. If you are a fan of paper and pen like me, use a notepad, journal or planner. For those of you who are more tech savy, set up a notes/stickies/google docs or look at some of the task management software available online.
If I don’t have a plan for the day I find it really hard to maintain focus and I end up getting lost in replying to immediate emails and forget the larger projects I wanted to complete. Plus, procrastination is real people. And my fridge is my favourite hang-out right now.
STRUCTURE YOUR DAY WITH PRODUCTIVITY BREAKS
I can often find, once I am invested in a project or piece of work, hours can fly by before I have remembered to take a break. This can leave me feeling exhausted, dry-eyed and even gives me backache. To combat this I have set three alarms per day to remind me to get up and have a break – 11am, 3pm and 5pm. In these breaks, I will reply to some messages, make a cup of tea or go for a walk around the block. Give it a try!
PREP YOUR FOOD IN ADVANCE
Batch cooking will save you time planning, thinking and cooking food, all of which gives you more time to prioritise other tasks that might be on your to-do list. For the past two weeks, I have batched cooked one snack (trail mix, granola, muffins), one tray of roast veggies and one grain (brown rice, quinoa, buckwheat). By having these in the fridge I only need to focus on assembling meals and throwing in some dressing and a source of protein. The healthy snacks mean that I don’t spend ages rummaging in the cupboards for a rogue chocolate bar.
By move, I don’t mean go for an hour-long run or fit in daily hit classes. Quite the opposite. With stress levels higher than ever for many of us right now, moderate movement is going to be incredibly beneficial. High-intensity exercise can trigger a release of cortisol, which can exacerbate already high-stress levels. Moderate activity such as long walks, Pilates or stretching can keep our blood flow moving, help us iron out any stiff necks and niggles and refresh our energy levels.
LIMIT YOUR PHONE TIME
Social media and the constant onslaught of notifications on your phone (who else has got Houseparty?), is going to be one of the major distractions when it comes to working from home and productivity. Try turning off screen notifications on your phone, and limit your checking of personal notifications to once per hour. There are also some great apps that can limit your time exposure to certain apps such as Offtime and AppDetox.
If you are interested in webinars for your team on how to support their health when working from home, please inquire for more information here.