As I write this, I am sitting in my bed, sipping a hot cup of coffee, looking outside the window as the weather is pretty amazing today. It is drizzling out there which makes the room pleasantly cool and all I want is another cup of hot coffee.
Working from home is a privilege which we all are awarded within times like these (COVID19) when the last thing we should be wanting is to go out of our homes. The situation out there is critical but we all will be fine.
For me, the phrase 'work-from-home' always elicited an image of an entrepreneur working from his home office or some co-working space or some European themed coffee house. To me, it was always like this, a desk with a laptop on it, with a coffee cup lying beside it, and a pair of headphones to make the scene perfect. A doorbell never rang in my imagination, or my neighbor’s child never starts crying, or suddenly the WiFi never stops working. The imaginations are perfect, but the reality is what we have to live with.
I am working from home for around four months now continuously for the first time in my life and within this period of time, my thoughts have changed multiple times. Is working from home really a privilege? Well, it can be and it can’t be, depends on how you are doing it.
So here I have jotted down a few productivity tips to help you guys making your working from home days really productive and make you feel great eventually.
#1. Make a morning routine
For the first 2-3 days, I just got out of bed and started working as who needs to get up from the bed and actually get dressed while working from home. Okay, that didn’t work out for sure.
On most of the days, I found myself skipping breakfast or delaying it till it is lunchtime just because I was not feeling fresh or active or wanting to do anything at all. So, getting myself a morning routine was the first thing I worked on.
Having your routine fixed, just like in the old times when we used to go to office daily, works wonders for you as your mind and body know what are they supposed to do next.
So, yes, get yourself a morning routine, that can differ for every one of us. But at least start with setting an alarm, get a shower, change into your work clothes, or at least get out of your pajamas!!
#2. Find your ‘Spot’
I have noticed a lot of things but the thing that topped the list is to not liking your working environment space. So, decide a corner of your home where you can just go in and check-in, where you can feel like working.
Think about it, isn’t this a golden opportunity for you to customize your working space just the way you like it. Decorate it the way you want, add small elements to the place, be it plants, table clock, or your favorite superhero idol. Have fun decorating your workspace.
#3. Schedule your day in advance
True saying – “If it doesn’t get scheduled, it doesn’t get done”. Just like the grocery shopping list, if the item is not on the list, there is a very small chance of you ending up buying it.
There are a lot of apps out there in the market which can help you in doing that. But my all-time favorite will be Google Calendar. Use this to plan your calls, your break slots, your meetings, and everything else you need to schedule in your day.
And if you like using pen and paper instead of mobile apps (just like me), then you can always make To-Do lists. They have done wonders for me, hope they work for you too.
What planning does is, it frees up your mind and takes down all the stress from it. Your day will look like more productive to you, and you can still get time for other things as well.
#4. Decide your check out time
Working from home does not mean you have an entire day with you.
While planning your day, plan your check out time as well, the time at which you have to check out from your work, physically as well as mentally. I know I know, it is easier said than done, but can’t we even give it a try.
You have a life outside your work as well. Dedicate some time of your day to it. If you have kids at your home and they are aware of this then it is proven that they are less likely to interrupt you in your working hours. So, isn’t it a win-win situation.
#5. Eat well & Hydrate yourself
Now that you are working from home, you might be out of excuses to grab that burger your office canteen is offering you, or that piece of cake because one of the colleagues is having his birthday today.
Choose for yourself and choose wisely because eventually, you get what you choose.
Your wisdom and your health are the things no one can ever take away from you. Eat healthily, eat freshly available products. Also, drink a lot of water as I am sure we all are guilty of doing this at least once. We forget to drink water until water itself comes in front of us and ask us to drink it.
#6. Take breaks
Your job doesn’t end at scheduling things, you have to execute them as well.
You need breaks, your body needs breaks. Mental breaks, physical breaks. Get outside, grab a cup of green tea and have it while standing in the balcony, then come back even stronger, and get your tasks done.
But, taking a conference call while walking in the home doesn’t count. Let me tell you what works for me. I generally call my parents, talk to them for 10-15 minutes and that’s it. This re-energizes me to do my work with even more focus.
#7. Connect with people 'face to face'
Working from home can become lonely sometimes. Just you and your laptop, or some virtual faces. And we are humans, we want connection, we need connection. Only socializing can stop you from becoming a zombie.
Talk to people. Ask people to visit you or go and visit them. Meet people in person, listen to their stories, what are they up to these days. Talking to people in person or maybe even face timing them makes us feel more real which messaging can not provide us with. Or find a group of people to connect with on a daily basis. That can make you feel much better.
So yeah, that’s it for now. These are some of the tips that have helped me improve my productivity during these days. I would love to hear from you what are the struggles you are facing while working-from-home. And how are you coping with them?