So it’s not only during times of crisis, and the recent pandemic that results in people working from home is it. Many people work from their home offices, whether employed or self-employed, and boy can it sometimes be difficult to keep yourself focused, productive, and healthy.
I am one of those people that work from home, and I have to admit that in the past I could have torn my hair out when I wasn’t feeling on top of my game, and there was no one there to cheer me on and “have my back, “make me a coffee and have a good old chinwag. I would slouch, snack, and not get enough fresh air, all leading to lethargy and low mood.
In this article, I’m going to share with you some key tips and advice that I and others use to help keep ourselves motivated and on track to being productive and healthy working from home.
It all starts with a mindset. If you have the right mindset, you really can achieve anything, and having and maintaining a structure and routine is so important when working from the home office.
It starts with keeping the same routine you would have if you had to leave for the office.
So if you normally get up, go for a run, do yoga, walk the pooch, and then do that. Getting up and getting dressed is the key to start the day. Have you noticed how much more alive you feel when you’ve dragged yourself out of your pit and brushed your gnashers? Yeah, feels good, isn’t it?
Mel Robbins talks about the 5-second rule in her work and has written a book called the “The 5 Second Rule, “which fundamentally says that if you don’t do something within the first 5 seconds of thinking about it, you won’t do it.
Another way is to make a picture of how you feel when you’re up, ready to go, the flow of feel-good hormones that literally floods your body, and that endorphin boost that we hear so much about. Make that picture so real with all the feelings, sights, and sounds that your physiology will change, and you’ll jump out of bed.
Get your work clothes on like you would if you were going to the office, none of this working from your bed in your PJs lark, just won’t work, believe me, I’ve tried it. Dressing as though we were at the office, creates a different set of circumstances in your brain. Your neural pathways will recognise it’s time for work and act accordingly.
Have a space that is your “office “. Space away from distractions. A spare room that you can make into an office if you have the space is great, if not a place where you can work uninterrupted without noise and distractions. That includes your mobile phone. If you need a phone for work, ask your employer to provide you with one, or if you are your own employer either, one keeps your phone in another room, even switched off during working hours or two, get a pay as you go for those business calls you might need to make. Keep off social media when you should be working. As much as I love social media, it’s a massive distraction and just another way of procrastinating.
Make a plan so that you know what you need to do that day. You could use a whiteboard, diary, or fancy stationary whichever works best for you. A tip here to help with prioritizing, write down the order of importance of the tasks being completed, making sure you complete the highest priority ones first. You could use methods such as the MOSCOW method
M – Must. This must be done today by a certain time
S – Should – I should do it today- This is next on your list
C- Could – could do this and can leave it as other things take priority
W- Would – will do it when I’ve done everything else.
When you have completed a task, tick it off, put a line through it, whichever works best you in the sense of achievement. The tip here – don’t wipe them off when you’ve done them, that way it’s out of sight out of mind. By leaving them up, you can see what you have achieved, especially for the visual people, works a treat.
Part of establishing a good routine is to set a work pattern that suits you and your circumstances. It doesn’t have to be 9-5, especially if you have some say and control over when you work. Work when you know you do your best and are your most motivated.
Keep to healthy food and regular meal times. Skipping food and not keeping hydrated will affect concentration levels and eating lots of carbohydrates in the afternoon, have you noticed how sluggish that makes you feel. Stick to protein and salad and plenty of water.
Getting into good sleep habits helps with concentration and mood. How often have you felt tired, moody, and bad-tempered? Part of a good sleep pattern has a cut off time for work. A time that allows you enough time to wind down before you go to bed and get a good night’s sleep. Do you find yourself tossing and turning not being able to settle and relax if you stay on your laptop or mobile phone too late? That’s the adrenaline still working.
And alcohol, yes, we all know someone who likes a tipple, and that’s ok, maybe just not on a school night. Alcohol really is best avoided if you’re working the next day, and yes, even from home. The time wasted due to hangovers in the UK in 2018 was reported to be 252 hours a year, that’s a fair bit, 10 and a half days. Caffeine, too, avoid it like the plague.
Always make sure you start to unwind at least an hour before bed. Taking a bath or shower helps to wash away the day’s thoughts, and sometimes we need to do that.
Bedtime should be a relaxing time, something you look forward to. And the best thing of all is to go to bed at the end of a productive day and cuddle up, whether it’s with your teddy or your partner.
On a serious note, there is evidence to suggest that the hormone Oxytocin ( also called the cuddle or love hormone ), which is released during sex, has links to help deal with anxiety, which has got to be a good thing.