With recent circumstances, working from home has become the new norm. I can’t help myself, I have to read all the articles, even before I was working from home..how to be productive, six workouts to do in your living room, why you should ditch the snacks, and so on and so on. Let’s be real, do I remember what any of them said? No. Did I ditch the snacks? Definitely not. One thing I did learn is that a lot of us are currently in the same boat. We’re just trying to get through this weird time in life while sobbing into a bowl of tomato and basil penne.
After speaking to a lot of people about their routines, I’ve realised that everyone has their own thing which suits them. I’ve worked from home before so I’ve been lucky enough to learn little tips and tricks that separate me being at home for work, to me being at home for leisure.
MORNINGS SET THE TONE OF THE DAY
Since working from home, my body clock has changed. When going into the office, I would give myself half an hour from when I woke up till when I left for work. Now, I’m up by six, scrolling through photos of my nephew, getting lost in coffee, sunshine, and fresh sheets while whispering sweet nothings. To get my brain going, I read my book, meditate or do a crossword for a good 30 minutes before I open the laptop. For me, there’s no better way to start the day.
BE COMFY IN WHAT YOU WEAR
If you can be productive at home in your work clothes then please, go for it. Personally, I am not sitting in my living room in 15 denier stockings and a light grey cardigan. The luxury of being home is that you can wear whatever you want and be comfortable. Being a summer gal from Sydney, the less clothes I can wear, the better. I usually go for sportswear — shorts and a tank.
FIND YOUR SUNSHINE
The environment around you has a very large impact on how productive you are — that’s everything from temperature, light and noise. I’m someone who needs the sun, and finding the sunniest, brightest bit of the flat is usually where I set up work for the day. That can be anywhere from the balcony, the window sill, the breakfast bar.
Not only does the sun feel amazing, but it can also reduce stress and blood pressure, therefore increasing your focus of attention to whatever task you’re working on.
TAKE A BREAK
A really effective way of making sure you take breaks is by trying the Pomodoro Technique. Used by millions of people around the world, this tool involves working in 25 minute chunks on one task, followed by a short break.
During these 25 minutes, you work on this single task with absolutely no interruptions. Once the timer goes off, you’ll be able to see that by focussing on one thing, you’re actually able to get a lot done. Take a five minute break and do something that isn’t work related, like a walk around the block or a quick meditation, then come back to the Pomodoro Technique.
PUT YOUR RECORDS ON
Some people need absolute silence, but others just need a banger. I mean, I run a music blog so you know which way I’m swinging. Music has been a huge part of my life ever since I was a teenager and I find it extremely therapeutic and motivating when I’m working.
Music has been shown to have positive cognitive effects and assist with performance. I’m not saying go blast some DMX and get crunk in your living room (unless you’re on your five minute podomoro break), but find something that works with you. This can be classical music, jazz, soft listening or simply the radio in the background.
My music of choice is always the NPR Tiny Desk Concerts. These are relaxed, intimate performances that are enough to put me in a feel good work mood.
YOUR AFTER WORK ROUTINE IS IMPORTANT
Your after-work routine is just as important as your daily work routine. Once I’ve clocked off, I always make sure I have a shower, brushed my teeth and done a face mask/scrub. Changing out of the clothes I’ve been in all day really helps me separate the working day into a relaxing evening. There may be an ice cold beer and an episode of The Office involved as well.
Working from home definitely has its benefits and can be very productive. It’s important to still have some form of human contact — whether it’s a quick morning call with your co-worker or spending the evening with your partner. It’s all about finding your rhythm, having balance and getting stuff done!