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How to Improve Your Productivity While Working From Home

24 Mar 2022

Working from home has become a common sight in our pandemic stricken world. Here are tested ways to help you stay the master of your productivity!

Nothing over the past few years has changed my life quite as profoundly as the changing world of work. Think about it – in less than a year people have gone from planning their lives around the century old nine-to-five workweek to increasingly working from home, by fairly flexible schedules, and quite often in outfits that are not even suitable for a quick grocery store run. 

For many of us work meetings are held over zoom, colleague chatter has moved to messaging apps, and your bustling work cafe has been replaced by a lone kitchen table. This change, which no economist, sociologist, or anthropologist could have predicted, is now but a mere pandemic after-thought. 

Say what you want about the merits and drawbacks of the old setup, it had one thing going for it – people were used to it. We knew what to expect, how to plan our workdays, and how to maintain productivity at more or less constant levels. The rapid disruption has jeopardized that comfortable certainty so much so that many of us are struggling to keep our productivity and motivation levels sufficient.

I’ll use this blog post to highlight which measures and guiding principles will serve your productivity well in general and will be particularly useful when stuck at home.

Ditch the Nine-to-Five Workday

Very few things are so primed for revamp as the notorious nine-to-five workday. Introduced as a groundbreaking innovation in the early 20th century by Henry Ford, it has long outlived its usefulness. 

Think about it – the world has become far more economically, socially, and technologically developed and global productivity levels have gone through the roof, but we are still stuck with this regime. 

Indeed, studies have shown that these days the nine-to-five does more harm than good as people tend to overwork, are prone to burn out, and are showing lower overall levels of productivity. A recent column in the Economist argues that people, who can rid themselves of the tyranny of time, can manage the work-life balance better, are more productive, and have a stronger sense of “belonging” to their organization

The solution - Flexible working

If you are a run-of-the-mill office worker there is a solid chance that you can apply at least a couple of the following principles while working from home (or even in office):

Create a Workplace That Boosts Productivity

There is nothing quite like giving your home office a face lift. It’s fun and it lets your creativity blossom. More importantly – if you do it right, it will boost your productivity exponentially. Here is what a productive workplace looks like:

  • Keep your workplace clean and orderly. Invest some time in cleaning your desk. While you are at it - clean up the entire apartment. Why? There is nothing quite as distracting as throwing a quick glance around the apartment and seeing chores that have to be done. However, once you start doing that, you can wave your productivity goodbye!
  • Find the right spot. Try to avoid working from your bed, couch, or kitchen. You associate those places with other things that are bound to sap your productivity. It sure is easier to get things done if a comfy pillow or a fridge are not right next to you. All you need is a chair, a table, your laptop, a couple of pens, a notebook, and a water bottle.
  • Choose the right colors. A University of Texas study has shown that colors like beige, gray, white, orange, and purple tend to induce sadness and depression among some workers. Vibrant and bright colors are the best pick. Green and blue improve efficiency and focus; yellow energizes people and spurs innovation; red raises productivity for those performing physical activity. An extra tip - regardless of the color, always keep your workplace light!
  • Fresh air matters. If you work from home, don’t forget to let in fresh air. An air filter is also not a bad investment.
  • Get yourself some plants. Since green is also the color that induces peace, getting some nature next to your laptop is sure to help you maintain calm and boost efficiency.

Create and Maintain a Morning Routine

Say what you want about your pre-pandemic experience – at least you were used to a certain, reliable morning routine. Usually, by the time you got to the office, you had jumped through a couple of hoops that more or less prepared you for the day ahead. Usually it involved getting prepared, walking, driving, or cycling to work, and maybe having breakfast in between. This is Habits 101.

Changing the morning routine is about the hardest thing the ordinary person can do. Fortunately for us Covid-19 has done the disrupting for us, thus throwing us an opportunity to completely reinvent our mornings. Some of you may already have indulged in the “sleep late, work in pajamas” temptation. 

To lay the foundations of a truly productive workday, do what other successful people do – pack your mornings with a set of positive habits! When I started working from home, everything was in flux and my productivity suffered from that. However, soon enough, I built a solid morning routine that, whenever I finish it, makes me feel great!

Here’s what I do: (1) wake up; (2) take my dog for a walk; (3) do some stretching exercises; (4) take a shower; (5) put on my work clothes; and (6) prepare a light breakfast. Regardless of what your morning routine looks like, I suggest packing a bunch of easy to do, small tasks in there. Having done them, it will already make you feel like a winner by 9 am! And the entire day is only ahead of you!

Don’t Forget to Socialize

We humans require social interaction to maintain our sanity. This is even more the case during the pandemic with isolation, disconnection, and loneliness increasing the risks to our mental health. At work we met colleagues in the hallways or in the cafeteria. Now we are mostly stuck at home alone or with a couple of family members.

While meeting in person may be hard, you can still call your colleagues during breaks or have a video call over lunch. Even when you have to talk about work stuff, I suggest calling them using the video call function on whatever app you use. 

Why? First, it’s quicker to talk things over rather than chat or write emails. Second and most important, hearing a colleague’s voice or seeing their face reveals more about their opinions and feelings regarding a certain question, preventing miscommunication or misinterpretation linked to text messages. An added benefit is just recharging your social meter thus reducing feelings of isolation.

Remember To Stick to Your Schedule

Probably the most important thing is to remember that you have to set boundaries and stick to them. As I highlighted in a previous blog post, people tend to sleepwalk into overworking. Those working from home are particularly vulnerable to falling into that trap. 

BePrime is a good way to manage your time, set goals and tasks, and review your activities so that you can be the master of your life.

Author: Lote Steina

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Life doesen't have a do-over.
Commit to it! BePrime!
Life doesen't have a do-over.
Commit to it! BePrime!