Staying Productive When Working From Home
Working from home can be difficult when there’s no one else to hold you accountable! It takes discipline and willpower. Some days are easier than others, depending on what else is going on in my life. But these are a few things that I’ve used to help!
Tools For Staying Focused/On-task
Certain music can affect how well I work, but it changes and goes around in circles. I’ve started using Spotify to follow a few different playlists. I find that chilled instrumental music is good when I’m writing (having no lyrics in the music tends to help here). And Summer Waves works well as music that lifts my mood a bit but fades into the background just enough to not distract me too much. On the other end of the scale, if I’m doing some tasks that might be a bit repetitive and methodical, I pick something that gives me more energy. Knife Party is a bit of a guilty pleasure for this!
I’ve also had days where the Pomodoro method has worked well for me. It’s a method where you work for 20 minutes, take a break for 5 minutes, then repeat this cycle a few times before having a longer break of 25 minutes. I’ve been using Focus Keeper as a tool for implementing this method. If anyone has experiences with another app I’d be happy to hear your suggestions!
Having the timer is great to keep me focused on tasks, one-by-one. Sometimes it feels less daunting, especially when approaching a bigger task, to give yourself just 20 minutes to work on it in every ’round’. This way it’s also less tempting to multi-task too much or to compulsively check emails, which can be chronic time-waster activities that build up!
Know When To Have A Break!
Sometimes it’s tempting to keep pushing through a particular problem or task that you’re facing. And sometimes, it’s hard to know when to stop banging your head against that brick wall and just take a break!
I’ve heard it said many times, that if you just give yourself some space from a challenge that often the answers will come to you on their own. The challenge is learning to recognise when it’s time to step away for a while! If you’ve been trying to push through for a while and you’re still not getting anywhere, it’s probably time to take 5 (or 10, or 30)!
Productive Breaks For Body & Mind
As anyone who works at a computer all day can tell you – it feels terrible for your body. Make sure you get up now and then! Setting a timer (such as the Focus Keeper I mentioned earlier) is a good way to remind yourself of that! Do some stretching, go for a little walk, just move your body.
You could even take yourself out for a little date – get yourself some lunch at a cafe, or take a picnic to a local park. Just get out into the fresh air and sunshine! If you can, maybe even meet a friend for lunch/coffee. Going outside and seeing other people is something that can help not just your body, but your mind as well.
And of course, meditation can be a great way to get some space from your work. There are a great many apps out there for meditation these days. I usually use Calm. I love that it has different backgrounds with their own sounds (I tend to use the beach or the rain) which can integrate with whichever meditation you’re listening to. Taking a step away and letting your mind focus on something as simple as your breathing can help you be productive. It’s not 100% guaranteed success though: sometimes it works for me, sometimes it doesn’t!
Back to it!
Hopefully you’ve found some tips in here that will help you get productive! I find usually having a good mind & body break helps me come back with fresh eyes and renewed vigour. And I haven’t even mentioned caffeine! I don’t drink coffee, but I enjoy the odd cup of green tea. You do you! If you’ve got any other tips or experiences you’d like to share, I’d be glad to hear them!
Written by Chelsea Zanki