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It’s been a thrill to work from home for the better part of the year, but let’s be honest… there are a lot of distractions. My cat is pretty needy and too cute to ignore, I’m always reaching for the next thing in the fridge, and it’s been hard to create separation between my leisure space and workspace. After several months of scientific research on how to be more productive, I’m providing a brief description of what I learned on how to make the most of your work from home productivity. It’s becoming a reality of the world to WFH, so make sure you’re ready for the long haul. It’s definitely worth investing in for your productivity and quality of life! The investment could be time or money, but either way you’ll be happy that you committed if you follow these simple steps, in your own personalized manner.
Humans have evolved over hundreds of generations to be hunter-gatherers. Being stuck to a computer for 8 hours per day is extremely novel to humans, and it’s important to recognize that. We’re made to move!
A short walk after lunch is much more effective for waking you up and keeping you productive than a coffee would ever be. While we’re on the subject of coffee, make sure you try no to have any caffeine after 2pm, as it affects your quality of sleep tremendously.
Take breaks. Walk around. Do a ridiculous stretch-yawn. If you take “movement breaks” to step away from your home desk within moderation, you’ll actually be much more productive!
Get Better Quality of Sleep
This is probably the most important thing to keep you productive and proactive. When you consider your sleep schedule, the quality of sleep is much more important than the quantity of sleep. Try not to think about your hours spent sleeping, but rather how you slept based on multiple factors. Here are the critical factors to consider for quality sleep:
Room Temperature: Your body wants to be at optimal temperature to fall asleep. The easiest way to control this is to keep your bedroom at a cool 68°F.
Body temperature: If you work out, do you do so in the morning, afternoon or evening? Science tells us that the best time to work out is actually in the late afternoon or evening, because it raises your body temperature at the right time for it to optimally cool down by the time you go to bed. Try to aim for 3pm - 6pm for your workouts for the best quality of sleep. Another way to do this is to have a bath, sauna, or hot tub at that 3pm - 6pm time slot.
Mind Association: It’s proven through research that you will have a better sleep if you separate the parts of your day. Make sure that you don’t set up your home office in your bedroom, as this is more likely to make you think about all the things you have to do for tomorrow! Sleep and falling asleep is about relaxation. Your mind should be in total bliss, not thinking about work (even if you love your job like me).
Control your Sunlight Exposure: Try to go for a walk as soon as you wake up. Just get dressed and step outside before you even have a coffee. It sounds difficult, but you don’t even have to think about anything while you’re walking, you can just be a zombie and the natural sunlight will help you to wake up and be more productive.
Use your “Distraction Tools” as “Proactive Tools”
I hate my phone. Every time I get an email or any other notification I can’t help but peek at it. I do work from my phone periodically and need it next to me during work hours. So instead of letting it be a distraction, I turn my phone into a powerful tool that helps me get through the day!
I talk to Siri all day long. The most powerful tool on your phone is actually…. A timer???
Tell Siri (or whatever voice control system you use) to set a timer for however long you feel is the best time to focus on one particular task. Science tells you that you shouldn’t spend more than two hours on any one task, because you burn out and lose focus. Do this even for tasks that you enjoy, because you can always come back to it and enjoy it again later! Separate your day between the things you dread and the things you enjoy to feel better. At the end of the day, you will feel more productive and your quality of life will be better if you follow this simple tip. You can also use any calendar app on your phone or computer, but the sound of the timer when it goes off is annoying enough to really drive the fact that your quality of work on this task is only going to get worse from this point, so focus on something else and come back to it later to really get the best out of yourself and your work!
Get Set Up from Home
It’s an important investment to really get yourself prepared with the right home office equipment. If you’re like me, my company has no intention of ever going back to the office. So I invested in myself and my work to feel better about the eight hours I spend every day on my desk.
It’s really nice having a modern desk with enough space to have things all over my desk. Science also tells us to be neat and tidy, because a cluttered desk is a cluttered mind, but that’s something that I cannot do. I have an organized chaos in my home office, and that’s the way I like it. Sorry science, I’m usually with you but I just can’t give up this habit!
I also invested in an amazing chair. I am so unbelievably happy with it, it’s so comfortable and the lumbar support really helps with my back pain. My home office chair is better than any chair I’ve ever had at any office!
Personalize Your Workspace
Get a desk that fits your style. Really make your home office your own. If you can identify with the space in which you work, you’re much more likely to drive creative work and get the results you want. Are you into more modern desks for your home office or an antique desk? Do you need a standing desk? Check out how to pick the right desk for you here.
Homedesk has modern lights and industrial lights. We even have home office lamps that charge your phone! This is my favourite one, because I need my phone by me all day long and it’s so easy to just place it on my lamp!
Use your free time effectively! The hobbies you choose directly affect your quality of life. Exercise and meditation will help you to sleep better, focus more, and create better outputs. Another great hobby is to learn languages. There are hundreds of free resources online to learn any language you desire. Learning a language increases your concentration skills and also your native language verbal communication skills, along with many other benefits. There are a ton of hobbies that you can take up that are good for your mind and body, so think about what you can do with your limited free time to really create the best version of yourself. Wanna learn an instrument? Schedule time with your friends? Travel? These also fall into this category!
An example of a bad habit is being on your phone for an hour in bed before falling asleep! Try to leave your phone in a different room than your bedroom when you’re falling asleep to avoid distractions and get a better night’s rest. Your bed is only for sleeping, and even if you feel like looking at your phone in bed relaxes you, it’s actually bad for your health.
We’re all looking for some motivation. It’s pretty hard to work 40 hour weeks from home! But it’s a reality now, so we have to learn to adjust and have fun with this societal shift. Make the best of your workspace and try to have fun with this opportunity!