Working from Home? 10 Tips to Stay Productive

How has your “stay-home/self-isolation/quarantine” experience been this March? If you’re like me and have had your home office for over 10 years, it’s only a small change. But for many, it’s the first time entering the exciting world of the unlimited potential and skyrocketing productivity of working from home. Right??No time spent on putting makeup on, no commute, no lining up for a Subway sandwich. What else… maybe even no shower? and you only need to dress up from the waist up if you’re on Zoom. Then why do we often stare at the clock in disbelief: what?? it’s already dinner time? I know how you feel, because I know it’s hard. This is why I always look for ways to improve the way how I work from home. Here are some tips I find helpful.

  1. Your work environment is very important and its’ aesthetics plays a significant role in how much you enjoy your work. I surround myself with beautiful objects that also have special meaning: artwork, photos, etc.
  2. The lighter the better! Natural light keeps you awake, so pull up those blinds. Add some extra light with a table or floor lamp. I also have a Himalayan Salt Lamp sitting on my desk. It supposedly changes the charge of the surrounding air by producing ions that have health benefits. This may be a myth, but I like it.
  3. Make space work for you. Optimize your desk, its drawers, and all storage areas. Put all your office supplies where they are easy to reach and have some logic to it. Have a place for everything and follow your rules.
  4. Add some greenery – this is often overlooked and I do not see a lot of home offices with healthy plants in them. But they make such a big difference. They clean the air and create a nice spot to rest your eyes and feel calm during a break.
  5. Speaking of breaks: get up and go for a walk. Come back energized and full of energy. Schedule your breaks so that you have at least 2 walks a day. So helpful in today’s stressful situation.
  6. Establish the rules, for yourself and your family. Set up your office hours and let your family know that if the door to your office is closed, you are at work. If you do not have an office with a door, use headphones to send the same message.
  7. Use productivity apps. The ones I like are Tomato TimerA-Tracker, and Todoist. Calendar blocking works well for many people too. These apps help stay on track, know where you spent your time, and remind you to take active breaks.
  8. Schedule your lunchtime and stick to it. One of our strongest distractions is the fridge. Have your meals planned and portioned, and remember that sugar and too much caffeine are not your allies for a productive workday.
  9. Enhance your environment with aromatherapy. Many essential oils are well known for their properties of improved focus and concentration: vetiver, lavender, cedar wood, rosemary, peppermint, lemon, cypress, patchouli. Have a diffuser quietly working for you in your office.
  10. Find a productivity buddy. This is kind of a last resort but it may help you if anything else fails to keep you productive and accomplish all your daily goals. You can check-in with your buddy at the beginning and the end of the day and report on your wins and challenges.
  11. Bonus tip: pat yourself on the back and celebrate your success! Look at what you have accomplished at the end of the day rather than what you failed to do. Have a glass of wine with your honey, take a relaxing bath, FaceTime a friend, just make it meaningful and fun.