• Nineteen Magazine

5 Ways To Be More Productive At Home

Working from home is not my cup of tea. There are just so many distractions. Like the dog who is constantly barking next door or the pile of dishes, I have been avoiding for two days. Then on top of that, there are all the extra temptations that come from working in your leisure, relaxation, and self-care spaces. For example, the constant siren call of my bed to come and lay down for just a quick cat nap which inevitably turns into a two-hour snooze fest or the beckoning of my flat screen T.V. to watch ‘only one short’ episode of The Office.

As much of a challenge as it is for me to work from home, I don’t really have a choice in the matter. As a Pennsylvanian university student, I was not invited back to campus and all of my classes are being taught fully remotely this semester. Thankfully, there are a few things I have learned in the last few months while interning and studying remotely which have helped me increase my at-home productivity ten-fold.

I know what you’re thinking I am going to say. Set a schedule. Make lists. Set time aside to relax. Don’t work in your bed. Blah Blah. Blah. And yeah, all those things are good advice, but if you are reading this you either don’t follow them and never will or you do follow them and still aren’t experiencing the levels of productivity you desire. So let’s talk about some things you haven’t heard that will increase your productivity. Here are eight habits I have developed in the past year that have helped me meet my deadlines and so much more.

Take Breaks

Taking regular breaks is key for me. By getting up and moving around once at least every hour, I find that I am more focused and energized when I’m back at my desk staring at my computer screen again. Some people might want to set alarms to remind themselves to stretch their legs, but a good rule of thumb for me is to get up whenever I feel antsy, feel my attention drifting, or feel like I’m about to fall asleep. During my short five to ten minute breaks, I usually like to get a little sugar (maybe some fruit or a small piece of candy), drink a cup of cold water, read a short article out of my favorite magazine, or take a quick stroll around my yard. These quick breaks help me clear my mind and get ready to come back to my work less distracted.

Work Outside

Working outside has been a game-changer for me. I truly believe the fresh air and sunshine help me think and the lack of distractions from devices inside my house keeps me focused. The benefits of working outside are endless from helping to boost your mood to giving you an opportunity to finally meet your neighbors.

Listen To Music After Working

For years, I was in the habit of listening to music while I worked, but in recent months I have come to the conclusion that it is not a productive habit for myself. I get way too lost in the lyrics and changing/skipping songs becomes a time-waster. I thought I was doing just fine getting my work done while listening to music until one day when I finally tried working without it and was able to complete my tasks over twice as fast. Afterward, I was able to enjoy listening to my favorite album even more because I wasn’t trying to do work at the same time. Honestly, that’s what I call a win-win situation.

Don’t Work When You Are Too Hungry

Oftentimes in the past, I would work on an empty stomach and use food as a motivator to get my work done. I would make deals with myself like as soon as I finish XYZ, I’ll go have lunch. It doesn’t sound like such a terrible idea, but what it actually caused me to do was either rush through my work or do a very poor job on it because my hunger clouded my brain. In short, it’s better to give your brain and body the good food it wants and needs. If you do, you’ll find your body and brain are kind to you in return.

Work Less

I know this sounds crazy, but working crazy hours and never giving yourself a break doesn’t necessarily make you more productive. In my experience, taking a few well deserved days completely off from work helped me come back ready to rock with a new refreshed perspective. Remember burn-out is real and you want to do everything you can to prevent that while still doing what you need to do to achieve your goals.

Working from home is definitely a challenge, but by doing these five easy things I’ve been able to manage myself better than any in-person boss could. Give them a try and see how you too can increase your productivity.

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