April 01, 2020
8 things you should do when working from home to stay sane and productive
By R Sio
Home as the new office can either be a dream or a medley of distractions, depending on how you manage your time and the different factors that you can control.
You’ve dreamed about telecommuting your entire life, now here you are — but not by choice. Stuck at home until god knows when, you wonder how you could possibly survive writing reports while your housemates vie for the turn to watch Netflix. You think about changing the password, but you don’t want to get involved because reports won’t write themselves, buddy.
Working from home can feel like you’re in a jungle. Here are some basic tips on how to stay sane while we’re all in this together.
Put your phone on silent mode and turn vibration alerts off
For whatever reason, you might find yourself looking at your phone more frequently than when you are in an office environment. With the absence of prying eyes from coworkers and bosses, you’re more likely to distract yourself with app notifications. Set your device to Do Not Disturb mode, turn off vibration alerts, or leave it in another room far from your home office setup.
Prep as if you work in the office
Put on a nice, business casual attire before sitting down to commence your workday. This can trick your mind into optimizing your body for the task, which leads to a productive day. You can take a shower, shave your beard, pluck those protruding nose hairs, and even wear a comfortable coat and tie. While you're at it - why not check in your wallet situation just like you do on a regular office day?
Counter sluggishness by moving
Working from home means there’s no need to commute, which could lead to a sedentary lifestyle. Counter this by taking breaks to walk around the house or perform some physically intensive chores. If you use a fitness tracker, set reminders to move or take 250 steps before diving back into your virtual office responsibilities.
Avoid people like you have the virus
All things considered, the viral outbreak has triggered an unintended consequence that has benefited introverts: they now have an excuse to isolate themselves. This can work well because the last thing you need is someone distracting you when you need to get work done. You can take it to the next step by turning off notifications from all social media apps.
Divide your time like it's pizza
If your work does not require you to adhere to a strict timetable, this is your chance to achieve work-life balance. Divide 12 hours of your daily waking life into eight pizza slices, with each slice representing a specific work-related task or household activity. Distribute these slices evenly, so that you don’t end up working more than 1.5 hours at a time.
Duplicate your workplace
It pays to engage in an environment that allows you to focus on your tasks. Allot a dedicated space at home for work. If you live in a multi-room setup, convert one of them into a home office. This way, the physical barriers between your “office” and your home are clearly defined to make it easier for everyone in your family to comply with your ironclad restrictions. It’s also easier for you to avoid seeing their eyes roll whenever you tell them you’re unavailable to wash the dishes.
Start your workday earlier than usual
When you stay indoors for work, the temptation to delay tasks can become more enticing. Avoid this trap by waking up early and doing your pre-work routine before the community lockdown took effect. Have that iron steel resolve to immediately start your workday.
Take a break when you’re not feeling productive
You could end up producing less-than-stellar output when you’re not in the mood to work. When you find your muse canoodling with someone else, and the six cups of coffee are just not kicking in; it’s time to get away from your keyboard and take a breather. This allows you to recharge and return to a state of mind that is clear.
R Sio edits news stories for a financial information services firm. He engages in cryptocurrency trading and meditates at home, but not at the same time. He co-hosts the Feeling Expert podcast.