How to Maximize Productivity when Working from Home – Part 1

“Working from home” – is it a boon or a bane? I’ve come across all sorts of people, some who couldn’t wait to get back to the office spaces and others who have now accommodated themselves to avoid the conventional work-life. Workplaces are pacing up to be equally considerate to employees’ needs towards working style preferences. We’ve jumped the track from having a single, routinised way of working to having multiple options available to everyone. And while many might criticize the WFH scenario for the lack of personal connectedness, it has helped improve productivity for others for whom connection was probably never their top priority. Most of all, I think we should stop perceiving work from home as an “easier” option and move across to realizing that this brings equity to the table for everyone. It helps us have a choice, a say in what work environment helps us get more done. Simultaneously, it also helps enhance our personal lives.

As much as we try to balance things out, you would notice that some days you just end up feeling overwhelmed with work. We can’t see eye to eye with our commitments and deliverables; we’re fatigued. The productivity is lost in the route that takes us from our bed to the study. However, from personal experience, here are 12 actionables that have worked in my WFH journey – habits that have stabilized my productivity through days when I woke up feeling collapsed and emotionally taxed (yes, this happens to everyone!)

Let’s start really small – 1. Open the Windows

Things like opening the windows and making your bed might not precisely feel like a huge productivity step. However, time and again, it has been proven that these small actions create a butterfly effect on your cycle of productivity. Making your bed helps you feel like you’ve achieved something first thing in the morning, hence setting the pace for the rest of the day. Similarly, opening the windows and letting in fresh air and bright light helps you reset your mindset. Personally, it helps me feel like this is a new day and a fresh chance to reach new goals with a restored mindset.

2. Have a Morning Routine

Why a morning routine really helps? Because it’s setting down an auto-pilot route for you. It helps you establish order in the morning and feels comforting. You don’t have to worry about the frantic “what am I going to do with my day today?” as soon as you wake up. There’s lesser energy spent on worrying and it gives your brain the time to actually wake up and get a grasp on the surrounding reality. Moreover, it helps you do something for yourself before you start doing something for your organization.

3. Engage in a Physical Activity

Accommodate a physical activity into your morning routine. Remind yourself of the endless hours that you’re going to spend in that chair anchored to your desk. This will give you a chance to free up the strain in your muscles. It’ll help you feel active and will help you put your thoughts into order. Any kind of pent-up irritation will get an outlet for escape. Additionally, you release endorphins, growth hormones and brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) which help you improve your brain function. Intense workouts usually feel a little insincere to my personality and I end up not following through. Hence, I choose to go with something that feels more natural to me. My preference is alternating dance with sports and some light home workout. 30 minutes of dance in the morning helps me reset as well as keeps me grounded in my roots. 30 minutes of badminton helps me absorb some sun and initiates some stretching. The resulting emotions are always calming and uncluttered, which helps me plan my day better. Which brings us to the next…

4. Plan out your day

Planning pages are really important if you want to stay on track of your daily tasks. It allows you to start your day with some uncluttered headspace. If you’re someone like me, your head is constantly full of thoughts and anxiety builds up in your chest for every minor error that you make. Now I’m not saying that we should let this practice continue – you’ve got to learn how to overcome such extreme thoughts. And trust me, it takes months and years of therapy for people who are prone to perfectionism. But planning pages will definitely help you with not having to track everything using your brain. You can simply allow your to-do list to guide your priorities and schedule for the day. It all boils down to how you visualize your current day to look like.

5. Set your goals for the day

You’ve got to be intentional in what you want to achieve throughout the day. Goals are more about priorities and achieving something. I’ve come across people who journal in the morning to set their priorities straight. You could make use of such gratitude planners if you’d like. The basic essence is to understand what ‘n’ number of things would you like to achieve today. And also, how are they relevant to your long-term goals and visions. My suggestion is to stick to 1 to 3 goals every day. Now these goals also have to be S.M.A.R.T. I shall pin down a reading reference for you to know more about how to set S.M.A.R.T. goals. For instance, my goal is “to learn something new today.” I can quantify it with “Read 20 pages of (insert educational book) today.”

6. Have a dedicated workspace

Having a dedicated workspace helps your body understand that this is the place where all the work happens. Further, if you designate a specific area for work, sleep and entertainment each – your body will thank you for it. It’s important to differentiate between these spaces since we’re likely to associate specific habits and activities to specific environments. There’s lesser confusion in your mind and there’s more resilience in your body. Add them up and you have a productive space that helps you get more done in lesser time.

We’ll talk about the other 6 actionables in Part 2 next week. Until then, read, plan and grow with Productively Yours and follow us on Instagram and Twitter for daily doses of inspiration ✨

Here are a few references that you can read up for more information:

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