In the past 6 months, since I’ve started working exclusively on the blog, I’ve spent most of my time working from home. Moreover, even when I was working for multinational companies, we used to work from home for two days every week.
And let me tell you something, I’m usually more productive at home. I used to let all the complex tasks for those days because that’s when I would focus best.
Nonetheless, I’ve known many people so different than me. People who complain that they feel a negative impact on their productivity when working from home.
But I think it’s all about creating a routine, making a plan and sticking to it.
That, and many other habits that will help you stay productive when you work from home.
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Healthy habits to stay productive when you work from home
Develop a morning routine
No matter if I was going to the office or working from home, I would create morning habits and stuck to them.
That’s even more important to have when you don’t leave your house for work. It will jumpstart your day and get you ready to tick off some of those items on your to-do list.
Learn from some of the most successful people and wake up at the same time every day, no matter if that is 6 AM or 8 AM.
By waking up at the same time daily your body clock will stabilize, helping your productivity to raise, improving your sleep, and decreasing possible insomnia and sleep deprivation.
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Unwind with a coffee and a book, listen to an interesting podcast, read some valuable articles, or cook and eat something healthy and delicious.
Don’t forget to take some vitamins that will help your organism function better. Ritual has some great vegan certified, gluten and allergen-free, non-GMO vitamins for women.
Some of my favorite podcasts are business-related, but I also like to learn about psychology, culture, the way the brain works, or travel. Here are just a few of my favorite ones:
- How I built this – listening to some of the most successful entrepreneurs out there and their stories always gets me motivated to accomplish more, and gives me that “I can do this” attitude.
- Invisibilia – Latin for invisible things, talks about the unseeable forces that control human behavior and shape our ideas, beliefs, and assumptions.
- Simple Pin Podcast – I’ve learned so many useful things on Pinterest marketing by listening to Kate’s podcast. I often go back to certain episodes for refreshers. Check out my Pinterest marketing strategy here.
- Earn your Happy podcast – well, the name pretty much says it all. Such a great podcast to start your day with.
- Yoga Girl conversations from the heart podcast – if you follow her on Instagram you know she’s all about creating that lovely life, acceptance, and love. “The light you are seeking is within your own heart”
- The Travel Diaries – The Travel Diaries is a weekly interview series where entertainment and travel journalist Holly Rubenstein chats to a special guest about the travel experiences that have shaped their lives and their adventures around the world.
I would also include a few minutes for meditation. If you haven’t tried that yet and don’t know where to start from, Hemi Sync and Headspace are 2 useful resources I’ve used and you might also enjoy.
“Meditation will not carry you to another world, but it will reveal the most profound and awesome dimensions of the world in which you already live. Calmly contemplating these dimensions and bringing them into the service of compassion and kindness is the right way to make rapid gains in meditation as well as in life.” – Zen Master Hsing Yun
Be conscious about the indoor air quality
It is very important that the room you will spend most of your day in is refreshed.
Maintaining good indoor air quality is crucial not only against allergens and the prevention of respiratory problems. It is necessary for the brain to be oxygenated, which will have a direct impact on your productivity.
When you think of it, it is much easier to control the indoor air quality when you work from home. That’s because you have direct control over your surroundings.
Here are a few things you can do:
- open the windows every morning and throughout the day and let some fresh air in
- invest in an air purifier – I’ve done a lot of research and have found this one to be preferred by experts, however, you can go for a more affordable effective version
- use aromatherapy for a feel-good mood – I have this diffuser and use it daily, especially with some citrus essential oils that always boost up my mood. I also love lavender, Serenity, Motivate, and Balance.
- vacuum the carpets and area rugs at least once or twice a week with a vacuum cleaner equipped with a HEPA filter
- change the filters of your air conditioning or air heating
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Take breaks and move
Did you know even a 30-second microbreak can increase your productivity by up to 13%? Or that a 15-second break from staring at your computer screen every ten minutes can reduce your fatigue by 50%?
That’s why you’ll really want to stop every now and then. But don’t just stare at your phone and replace one screen with another.
Step outside for a 15-minute walk. Take some air and move a little.
Do some 15-minute yoga for relaxation, stretching, or a more intense sequence that will get your blood running and make you feel better. Alo Moves has plenty of shorter and longer videos for every need and mood.
And even if you feel like you don’t have 15 minutes, take advantage of every little time you can spare to disconnect – 5 minutes could just do the trick. Studies show that taking regular breaks of 2 minutes increased productivity by 11.15%.
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Make a day plan/content schedule
I always find it easier to accomplish more and not lose focus whenever I have a clear vision of my to-do list. Especially when I have a day plan, but I also have week plans and overall to-do lists.
Each morning, I put it all down on paper (or in an excel file) and tick things off once I get them done.
That gives me a sense of accomplishment and makes me feel productive, avoiding to get off-track. On top of that, studies have shown that by having a to-do list you are 42% more likely to achieve your goals, thus be more productive.
For that reason, here are a few things you might want to consider and try out:
- Plan some of the most important tasks of the day for the morning – you will set the momentum, feel good for ticking them off your list, and ready to accomplish even more;
- Plan your snacks and meal times – this is not only good for productivity, but also for your daily diet;
- Sparkle in some coffee breaks and unwind;
- Write down the activities for the day by looking at the week’s tasks and prioritizing the most important ones first;
- Set a reward system with incentives to complete the tasks – having something to look forward to will increase motivation.
The Ultimate Productivity Bundle it’s a massive resource designed to help you conquer your To-Do list, reach your goals, and free up more time for yourself, and has lots of cheet sheets and planners that will make this task easier. Check it out here!
Remove your distractions
One major enemy of productivity is social media.
If you will stop every minute to check out Facebook or Instagram, you will love focus, forget what you were doing, and negatively impact productivity.
Let’s face it, I know it’s hard not to get distracted, especially when your friends and family are texting you. But that’s why you’ll want to remove all distractions.
While social media is good and can help you make and support professional connections, and sometimes even help you get information that will help you get the job done, it can also hugely affect your productivity.
A great way of tackling this is by installing a distraction blocker. Here’s what they say: “By blocking distracting websites and apps, you’ll be more focused and productive. You’ll develop healthier, more intentional digital habits, that give you control over your time and attention.”
Finish one task before moving to the other
“The quickest way to do many things is to do one thing at a time.” – Christopher Westra
While multitasking is great and sometimes necessary, I sometimes find myself losing track of what I was doing, to begin with.
I might start working on something, get another idea and move directly to that, remember I was doing something before and move between the 2. That’s the perfect recipe for not finishing any of them.
On top of that, here are a few other reasons why you’ll want to get one task done at a time:
- it conserves energy by wholly directing our energy to one task
- it promotes self-discipline
- improves our attention span
- improves productivity
Time block and set a timer for each task
Time blocking is another way of keeping yourself accountable.
While a to-do list makes you aware of what you have to do, time blocking tells you when you will do that.
On top of that, the human brain needs guardrails at work. And by time blocking, you’re giving it exactly that: a guard against distraction and the possibility to focus on one task a time.
“A 40-hour time-blocked work week, I estimate, produces the same amount of output as a 60+ hour work week pursued without structure.” – Cal Newport, “Deep Work”
You can also read Mason Currey’s “Daily Rituals: How Artists Work” book and learn about the daily rituals of Charles Darwin, Andy Warhol, Benjamin Franklin, and many more.
Create a workspace
Having your own little corner from where to do the job is great for the mindset and helps out with minimizing distractions, and consequently improving productivity.
It’s important to create a workspace you will enjoy spending time in, with plenty of natural light, cozy, comfortable vibes.
Often, that doesn’t mean you need an entire office or a room of your own. I have a table by the window and make sure I have fresh flowers to boost up my morale.
Try to ditch the clutter and any distractions, no matter if that’s a messy pile of papers or a stuck of books.
Have supplies and necessities at arm’s length – have your cup of coffee with you to help you go throughout the day, I also have my agenda where I keep all my ideas and things I learn along the way.
Another great idea is to add motivators and reminders to encourage you to get things done. Print out your objectives, your “why”, and maybe a picture of something you love. I’ve had postcards from the places I’ve been to pin on my desk.
Drink enough water or tea
We are up to 60% made of water, and good hydration goes a long way.
Especially when you are focused on the daily tasks. By staying hydrated you avoid headaches, prevent infections, and keep organs functioning properly.
When you think water is too plain, don’t go for sugary drinks. Brew a fruity tea instead, or go for a refreshing lemon ice tea.
Plan for days off
Having your own business or working for something you love can get intense. I know.
But unplugging for a day or 2 is important and will make all the difference.
Your mind and body need rest in order to function properly, and when you’re constantly working on something, you risk burnout. And that will have the exact opposite effect than expected.
Take a day off and go somewhere new, go trekking, plan for a staycation, read a book, allow yourself to relax.
Make your work easier with schedulers
There are plenty of great tools out there designed to make work easier and help you be more productive and efficient.
I use Tailwind to schedule my pins, have access to great analytics, and collaborate with likeminded people in Tribes helping each other get viral and reach more people.
You can use it not only for Pinterest, but also for scheduling Instagram, researching great hashtags, and much more.
Another great tool to help out with design and make it easy to create bulk Pinterest images, and not only, is Canva. I use it for Instagram stories, creating pins, banners for the blog or Facebook, I’ve even designed the invite for our wedding by using Canva.
Here are some extra resources you might want to invest time and money and get to the next level:
- The Ultimate Productivity Bundle
- SkillShare has some great productivity courses and has an entire category devoted to Productivity where you will learn stuff like “how to get things done with Google sheets”, “how to accomplish more with less”, and much more. Get 2 months free here!
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Becky Exploring says
These are some great strategies, Ingrid! Very useful as so many people are working from home these days. I’ve been struggling with all the time looking at screens and need to remember to put them down once in a while!
I knoow! I’ve struggled with starting so many things at once and losing track of what I was doing. I guess we just need to set a pace, get organized, and be positive. Better days are coming for sure.