Today I’m sharing my 10 tips for working from home to improve your mood and productivity.
When you don’t have a home office, seeing pretty pictures of workspaces on Instagram can leave you dreaming about owning the perfect desk. Don’t worry – it is possible to be productive and focus on your work at home without a pristine workspace.
I’ve been working from home since March and here are a few things I’ve found that are helping me through this very strange time.
1. Don’t worry if you’re not always productive
When I first started working from home, I was worried because I knew I wasn’t being as productive as I would be in the office. It’s important to remember that it’s going to take a while to get into a routine and figure out what works for you.
We’re going through a really tough time right now and it’s okay to feel worried or upset by that. Don’t be too hard on yourself, things will get back to normal in the end.
2. Change your workspace
Moving to a different room and changing environment can improve how you feel and set you on course for a focused afternoon. I often start my day sitting on the sofa in the living room because it has so much natural light in the morning. After midday, I move to the dining room and sit at the table to switch-up my workspace.
3. Write down your to-do list
This sounds like a simple one doesn’t it? Writing a to-do list is something I would do in the office every day without fail. However now I’m working from home and have so many virtual meetings, I forget that I can still use a notepad and pen to write down my priorities for the day.
There’s something about seeing everything written down that makes you feel like you can get through your day and makes your mind feel a bit less muddled. Make your to-do list pretty with fun headings and felt tip pens if you can – but don’t use it as procrastination, I know what you’re thinking!
4. Take regular breaks
It’s so easy to forget to take a lunch break. I’ve sometimes got to 4pm and realised I’ve been working non-stop since 8am – I wouldn’t recommend this one bit!
It’s important to get up from your desk every hour too. Stand up, make a cuppa, stretch your legs or read a book for 15 minutes. Short breaks like this can help you to restart your mind and be ready for the next task.
5. Listen to music
Listening to music can help you to focus on your work and it can lift your mood at the same time. I always listen to a Taylor Swift album or songs from a musical (You Can’t Stop the Beat from Hairspray makes you feel like you can do anything).
If you’re stuck for ideas, I have some great songs in my March monthly playlist – including a link to a more relaxing Spotify playlist if that’s more your cup of tea.
6. Keep to a routine
Okay, who’s guilty of going to a virtual meeting wearing their pyjamas? While it may be super comfy, the more you work from your bed and don’t get dressed, the harder it will be to feel like you’re ready for the day. Getting up at a set time, showering and being dressed for when you start work can give you a productive morning and you’ll feel 10x better for it too.
However, it is totally okay to have days where you don’t feel like getting up. Loungewear is perfect for those days and if you don’t go on camera in your Zoom meeting, no one will ever know!
7. Write down things that distract you and come back to them later
There are more distractions at home than in the office: I’m always thinking about when the hoovering needs doing, if the kitchen needs cleaning or there are clothes that need bringing in from the washing line.
Instead of letting these things distract you, write them down so you know you won’t forget about them, and you can Google search your favourite dogs after work.
8. Set up social chats as well as meetings
When working from home you can really miss your colleagues. These are the people you spend eight hours a day with, every day. Your colleagues help pick you up when you’re down, make you laugh when you want to cry and support you when you need help at work.
Therefore, it’s important to have social time with your colleagues to replace the office chit-chat, outside of your regular ‘business’ meetings. Put something in the calendar with the person you usually have a laugh with, it could help remind you of the fun you’ll have when you’re back in the office.
9. Reward yourself when you complete a task
It can be really hard to knuckle down and focus on a task when you’re working from home. Therefore, give yourself rewards for completing big or small tasks. Having these incentives to get the work done can give you that push to power through your to-do list (and eat all of the chocolate you want to).
10. Stick to your working hours
If you finish your working day at 5pm, stop working at 5pm. I’ve stayed an hour over my finishing time while I’ve been working from home and would I have done that if I was in the office? Well maybe, but I’m doing it a lot more now.
Know when to stop and let yourself have an evening. Close your laptop and finish your working day with a nice walk to get some fresh air and exercise.
Thank you for reading my 10 tips for working from home!
What are your tips? Let me know how you’re doing in the comments! I hope you’re all keeping well xx