Although it’s been almost an entire year since working from home became the new normal, you might still be figuring out how to develop productive habits.
This is normal!
It may feel like you’ve adjusted to working from home, try thinking about the habits you’ve developed since you made the switch.
How do you hold yourself accountable? Do you have routines that are helping you get your work done? How many times a day are you taking a snack break? Is there a time in the day where you can do deep work or are you often distracted?
These are all guiding questions to consider when analyzing how you structure your day, and how focused you are when working from home. You may be getting the same amount of work done (or even more than usual), but are you doing it in a healthy and sustainable way that fits in with the rest of your life?
Part of having productive habits is incorporating a well-rounded life. Although that might not seem as important these days, it’s vital to your health and happiness! We’ve created a list of work from home tips that help develop healthy routines and create productive habits that support your overall well-being.
A bullet journal helps you manage your tasks, keep track of your schedule, take notes, and track how your time is being spent. It takes some time and effort to maintain but slowing down to process the tasks you must complete into written form help you focus and be realistic about your expectations.
Try keeping a book next to your computer to write down your daily to-do list. To make this easier, break down your tasks by each hour of the day. Only allow yourself to do one task per hour (or half-hour if it’s a short task). As the day progresses, cross off your tasks hour by hour. It feels good to cross off a list, but productive habits like time tracking help you to be realistic about how many hours you have in a day.
Maintain a Schedule
Sticking to a schedule during your workday is one thing, but what about your health? Without workout classes and team sports happening, your exercise habits may have shifted to a more ad hoc approach. If you can book an activity, try booking them in advance for the week. For days that you’re going for a walk, run, or doing a home workout, make an appointment for this in your calendar. Planning out the week ahead will feel more normal and like you have an agenda for the week ahead.
Put your Phone Away
The scroll is real people! Sometimes you just can’t help it. You open your phone and the notification calls to you. You must answer! It’s hard to keep distractions at bay, especially with your phone. Remember, the apps on your phone are designed to hold your attention. If you have your phone around, it’s easier to feel the need to check it. Try putting your phone out of view or even in a separate room for a few hours each day. If this makes you nervous, try it for an hour at first to see how it changes the way you focus. Having fewer distractions during work is calming and allows you to focus more deeply on the tasks at hand.
Designate a Workspace – and Keep it Tidy!
If you haven’t already done this, now is the time! Even if you live in a small space, try re-arranging furniture and minimizing the things in your home to make room for a desk or workstation. Having a place to arrive at in the morning for work is symbolic. It helps separate work from home. Secondly, keep this space tidy and only have the essentials on your desk. The fewer distractions, the easier it is to keep on track! Plus having a designated space for work allows you to develop productive habits that are work-related and not mixed in with the rest of your life.
Go for a Walk
Walks are a refreshing way to break up the day and get some fresh air. Making sure you are getting fresh air whenever possible is important. If you’re unable to go outside, try opening the window for a bit, standing up, and taking some deep breaths. Going for walks is also a nice way to let your eyes rest from staring at a screen all day.
Plan your Breaks – and Make Sure you Take Them
After you’ve listed out your daily tasks for the day, make sure you also schedule in breaks. Without taking breaks, you end up being less productive for the rest of the day. If you’re nervous about taking a break because someone might message you, send a quick update to the team to let them know you’ll be away from your desk for the next 30 mins or hour. This takes the pressure off and gives your team permission to feel like they should take reasonable breaks as well.
Use the Pomodoro Technique
The Pomodoro Technique is a way of breaking up your time in the day so you’re being productive. Use a timer and focus on one task for 25 minutes straight. Try to get as much done as you can in that 25 minutes, then once the timer goes off, stop working. Take a 5-minute break by getting up from your desk and walking around. Repeat this process throughout the day and incorporate longer breaks occasionally. You’ll find it easier to focus on tasks in short intervals and get more done!
Keep an Eye out for Zoom Fatigue
You’re no stranger to Zoom fatigue, we’re sure of it. We feel the same way! Zoom fatigue can happen if you’re spending a lot of your time on Zoom and not taking enough breaks. Although Zoom has been a great way to stay connected while working remotely, it’s not the same as meeting face to face. For tips on managing Zoom fatigue, check out our blog post here.
Use your Vacation Days
It might seem silly to use vacation days when you can’t go anywhere, but it’s very important to take time off. Try taking a Friday or Monday off to extend a weekend and get some extra rest. Using your vacation days to take some extra rest will help with productivity and refreshing your mind. Try it!
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