8 Tips for Working from Home

April 27, 2020

By Jillian Kamel

In lieu of the current health crisis, many companies and businesses are following our government’s advisement to practice social distancing by asking their employees to work from home where work tasks allow for being remote. To some, this feels like a breath of fresh air while to others it’s an added stress of trying to figure out how they will remain productive without the atmosphere of the office and while their kiddos are too, trying to figure out their new at home routine.

While I don’t have three kids running around, I have had to go through an adjustment period of having most of my adult work life spent in an office to working from home. That shift can be difficult, so I thought I would share some tips you can implement this week to help keep your productivity up and stress low.

  1. Get up and get dressed.  It is so easy to fall lax while working from home by taking advantage of hitting snooze an extra few times, staying in your pjs, and bumming on the couch. But after a day, or two, or three of this you start to feel downcast unorganized and scattered. Let me help you before that slump hits by telling you the number one thing I suggest for working at home and not feeling lethargic  is to get up, brush your dang teeth and change your clothes. You will feel so much better… I promise.

  2. Find a space that inspires you. Okay okay, not all of us have homes straight off a Pinterest board that are inspirational by design. But we all do have a favorite room or spot where we feel we can conquer anything. Go there! Clear off a spot, even if that means you take all the mail and never ending pile of things that collect on the dinning room table, throw them in a box to start fresh. Make sure you have firm surface, a supportive chair, and make that your new little office home. I know, grabbing a blanket and curling up on the couch sounds like way more fun. But studies show that doing so actually sends signals to the brain that it’s time to relax which make you feel more sleepy and easily distracted.

  3. Make a list. Organization is key! Start your day in your inbox, figure out what your priorities are and make a list. Thats right, pen and paper baby. And if you are anything like me the joy of crossing things off one by one will actually encourage you to keep going.

  4. Carve out time to stretch. The average American (adult) is said to have a brain span of 20 minutes to focus on one thing. And thats if we are the lucky ones. Some people averaged more like 10 or even 5 minutes. How do we combat this? By allowing quick breaks in between to reset. Now this doesn’t mean a 30 minute nap every hour. It means standing up for a quick stretch in between calls, or maybe writing an email you have been putting off and then stopping to refill your water, or going on a brisk 10 minute walk during lunch. Any little thing you can do like this will increase your productivity during your focus window.

  5. Limit caffeine intake. Drink the dang water. I hate to be the one to say it, but too much caffeine is counter productive and when working from home it can be far too easy to just keep refilling that cup. Finding focus and a rhythm when working from home can be tough, especially when your family members are in a shared space, and it’s going to take more effort than at the office. Too much coffee can contribute to being even more easily distracted and jittery. Additionally it is proven to trigger higher levels of anxiety and during times like this that is the last thing anyone needs. Moreover, while higher caffeine intake may give you a boost during the day but it may also cause poor sleep quality at night causing a never ending cycle of low energy and sluggishness.

  6. Turn off the news and turn on some music. Let’s just talk about the news for a minute. Listen, I know we need to be informed but I also know too much information, or the same information spun a different way for hours on end is not helpful. So get your dose but then turn it off and get on with your day, the news will be there and will be talking about the same thing when your work is done. Secondly, music can not only increase focus but it can also stimulate the brain to produce an increase of the neurotransmitter dopamine which is the brains motivation molecule. Research has shown that listening to music can reduce anxiety, blood pressure, and pain as well as improve sleep quality, mood, mental alertness, and memory. Who doesn’t need all that goodness?!

  7. Social media shut down. Remember what I said about the news? The same is true for social media. Without the accountability of co-workers around you, spending too much time on your phone and little time on the task at hand can be an easy trap to fall into. Not only a time sucker but also another contributor to distraction and anxiety over what is going on in the world around us. Extra tip: I fall into this and looove me some instagram. But it can take way too much of my time, my energy and honestly my spirit. So setting boundaries not just in this time of crisis but in my day to day life is super important for my mental health. I do this by setting a daily time limit for certain apps right within my phone settings. Most phones now allow you to do so and I swear every single time the little reminder comes up that I have 15 minutes left for the day, I am reminded to put it down and get back to whats in front of me. I also tend to think– wait whhhhhhat… I am already hitting my limit?! Where did the last xx minutes go?!

  8. Who doesn’t like rewards? Yup, you may not want to admit it but you can be bribed just like your children. In fact you can bribe yourself, HA! The truth is we can’t help but like to be rewarded for our good work and knowing a reward is coming can be very motivating to get things done well, at least for me. So are you hungry? Need a snack? Well, heck… you can take a minute to enjoy one of those girl scout cookies you’ve been avoiding all week, as long as you get a, b, and/or c, done before 11am. Maybe its not cookies for you but you get my drift… good work deserves a little treat.

 At the end of the day, you’re still going to go through an adjustment period but I hope these tips can help speed tat process up and give you the productivity you need to get through this crazy time. We are all in this together… I call it “alone together.” We got this!

Jillian is a business owner/photographer at Jillian Melissa Photography. For more, please visit jillianmelissaphotography.com

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