How to Start Being More Productive at Home

Home is a place of safety and rest. It’s somewhere to throw on your comfy clothes and just relax. It’s a place we look forward to being in when we’re at work or running errands. 

Unfortunately, as many of us are now working from home, our place of safety and relaxation has been invaded by emails, spreadsheets, and Zoom meetings. 

Blurring the lines between work and play can affect our productivity. As much as we don’t like to admit it, going into the office does help us make better use of our time because it sections our time and our brains. 

So, how can we help ourselves be a bit more productive while we’re at home? 

Start Early

Plenty of successful and productive people advocate waking up really early. Richard Branson, for example, begins his day at 4 am! This isn’t about cramming in more work during those extra hours. 

The idea behind getting up early is that you can get started on your day when there are fewer distractions. In the early hours of the morning, you can go to the gym or for a walk without being surrounded by others. 

You can do some reading, meditation, or cooking without having the noise of your housemates or family around. Essentially, this time is your own. 

Using this time to do the things you enjoy puts you in a better mood for the rest of the day. A positive outlook works wonders for productivity and your mental health.

Morning Routine

It’s important to note here that a routine is not the same as a habit. Habits are unconscious where as routines are things that we consciously decide to do. It’s important that we have routines rather than habits because we want to be present and connected to the day. 

So what does a good morning routine look like? 

Well, there isn’t a one size fits all but we do have plenty of suggestions. 

    • Make your bed – annoying as this might be, it’s a symbolic action that tells you that there’s no going back now. If the comforter is strewn across the bed, then it looks open. It’s almost an invitation to crawl back in and go to sleep. When you make your bed, it’s like closing up the bed for the day.

      Making your bed also keeps your room tidy. Tidy, organized spaces are more conducive to productivity. Tidy home, tidy mind, as it were. 
    • Do some exercise – Exercise does wonderful things to your brain. Just 10 minutes of movement floods your brain with serotonin which is a chemical linked to happiness and calmness.

      Exercise also helps stimulate brain cell growth and neuroplasticity. These allow you to function more effectively and also make you more receptive to taking in new information and ideas. 
  • Eat well – you need to give your body and brain the energy it needs to work hard and well throughout the day.

    Skipping breakfast is one of the worst things you can do for your productivity. This is because you miss out on crucial nutrients that give your brain a boost. Also, skipping breakfast can make your short term memory worse. It’s hard to be productive when you can’t remember what you’re supposed to be doing!

    What you eat is important. If your breakfast is too high in carbs or sugar, you’ll get a big energy spike early in the day but you’ll also crash quickly.

    You need foods that drip-feed energy over time so that you can make it to lunch. The best foods for this are healthy proteins and fats. Incredibly, bacon and eggs are one of the best breakfasts you can have!
     
  • Maintain your work schedule – You probably don’t need to get up early for your commute right now. However, trying to keep things as normal as possible helps you get into the right frame of mind for work.

    Just because you’re working from home doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy reading the news, or getting a cup of coffee, or whatever you do on your way to work. 

Working From Home

Now that you’re up and ready to face the workday, we need to figure out how to maximize our productivity while working from home. 

  • Make a workspace –  you need to keep your work and your home life separate. Where possible, restrict work to a single room of the house.

    If you don’t have a study or office, section off part of your kitchen or living room. Try not to work on the sofa or any places you relax. This will blur the lines too much.

    It’s never a good idea to work in your bedroom. Bedrooms should be kept for sleeping to give you the best chance of getting good quality sleep.
     
  • Keep your workspace clean – clutter kills your motivation and it literally slows you down. If you can’t find your planner or your pen you’ll have to waste time looking for them.

    Things that you use the most should be within reach, everything else should be put away neatly. 
  • Set boundaries – Only work during your work hours. When we work outside of the home, it’s a lot easier not to bring work home with you.

    When you’re working from home, you need to be strict with your working hours. If you start doing work in the evenings or on the weekends you don’t get a break. This will eventually lead to burn out.

    Getting some rest is key to staying productive. You can’t burn the midnight oil and expect to be bright as a button every day. 
  • Turn the TV off! – Ok, let’s be honest, all of us were very excited about being able to binge-watch box sets while dealing with emails. You probably realized fairly quickly that the TV was not particularly helpful.

    This kind of multitasking splits your brainpower. It means that you’re not giving either task the full attention it deserves. 

Maintaining The Home

One of the things that suffers the most from a lack of productivity around the home is the state of the house itself. 

If you’re not feeling productive, you don’t really tend to feel like doing the dishes or the laundry. However, leaving these things to pile up actually makes you less productive. 

  • Little and often – the best way to deal with your household chores is to keep on top of them. Put the dishwasher on as you pass, wash your dishes after you’ve eaten, fold some laundry when you wait for the microwave to finish.

    The more you get into the habit of doing little chores the less mess you’ll be faced with.
     
  • Prioritize – Being faced with a whole house to clean is going to overwhelm you. Focus on what needs to be done immediately. Dishes and laundry always need to be done. Cleaning the sofa garden can probably wait. 
  • Reward your efforts – Unless you’re one of those odd people who enjoy cleaning, you’ll probably find cleaning laborious. Nobody likes doing boring or unpleasant tasks, but we do like rewards.

    Promise yourself a lovely treat after your cleaning tasks. It could be a sweet treat, a little tipple, or just a relaxing soak in the bath. Whatever makes you happy.

Final Thoughts

There are really 3 key factors that impact our productivity; environment, mood, and motivation. To be more productive you need to make sure you maximize each of these three factors.

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