Working from home productively isn’t easy. Many people are finding it a real challenge to stay productive throughout the day and getting everything done. It sometimes feels that it’s less of a case of working from home but living at work. So how do we set ourselves up to maximize productivity at home while still maintaining the right work-life balance? We will address that question by looking at five simple productivity tips. These tips will allow everyone to work more productively from home.
1. Get More Sleep
It’s with good reason that we (should) spend up to 30% of our lives sleeping. Sleep is like our magic potion that rejuvenates our bodies every night. However, a third of the population struggle to get the recommended 7-9 hours of sleep per night.
If you are serious about wanting to be more productive from home it’s incredibly important that you put your sleep as a priority and aim to go to bed and wake up at the same time every day. This pattern will help to align you correctly with your circadian rhythm.
Naps in the afternoon can be a great way to give your body and brain a brief rest. It’s important that you keep the nap shorter than 20 minutes; this is the point at which the brain can fall into a much deeper sleep. Napping longer will mean you’ll wake up feeling fatigued and groggy. You will be getting up in the middle of one of your sleep cycles.
2. Focus on the Right Nutrition
Thomas Edison was not just ahead of his time due to his scientific discoveries but also his thoughts on nutrition and well-being. In 1903 he said, “the doctor of the future will give no medicine, but will interest his patients in the care of the human frame, in diet and in the cause and prevention of disease.” The right nutrition is the cornerstone of our health. It provides the nutrients and minerals to help our bodies and brains to maintain normal function as they come under continued stress every single day.
Our choice of food can play a big role in how we feel throughout the day, making nutrition an important productivity tip on our list. Much like a diesel car requires diesel to work properly, we all need the right fuel to perform at our best.
Food isn’t just used to feed our bodies; it provides bacteria that form a symbiotic relationship with our bodies. This means they both play a role in the existence of each other and the functioning of our bodies. They also play an important role in regulating inflammatory processes. Gut bacteria is known to play a huge role in regulating our immune system.
The profile of our gut bacteria plays an extremely important role in the production of neurotransmitters. They produce almost 90% of our bodies’ serotonin. Serotonin is the feel-good, happy neurotransmitter that can be out of sync in medical conditions such as PTSD and depression. Although we normally just eat food for taste and texture, we also need to look at food as being able to play a vital role in our overall health. Fueling our bodies in the right way will allow us to stay productive for longer.
3. Exercise More
Proper physical exercise can be one of the powerful drivers of our brain and nervous system. It’s widely accepted that movement is an incredibly important force behind our nervous system’s development. There’s a reason why babies move around their mother’s womb so much.
Exercise is mostly attributed to losing weight, athletic performance, and building muscle. However, it also has lots of other benefits for our mental and emotional health. Exercises such as cycling, running or swimming can help to reduce anxiety and depression. It can also increase activity in the frontal lobe; a part of the brain that is commonly associated with positivity, personality, and cognitive processing.
Movement can also be a great way to improve our ability to learn new skills and our ability to focus on tasks as it enhances the production of a specific protein Brain-Derived Neurotrophic Factor (BDNF). This protein plays a role in helping us to learn and remember new things, making it a vital productivity tip.
4. Take Advantage of Scheduling
Working from home provides lots of luxuries that we don’t have while working in the office. However, it’s easy to fall into the mindset that the added flexibility creates less structure in our days. While working remotely, it’s important that you set a schedule for when and how you will do your work. By doing this you can group the same tasks into short time blocks which stops you from aimlessly checking emails or responding to messages throughout the day.
Setting the right schedule is an incredibly important productivity tip for remote workers because it puts in place the right structure to consistently follow which can be difficult when working from home as you can take a break whenever you want. In your schedule, it’s also really important that you set a start and stop time. This helps you to avoid burnout and creates a clear boundary between your work and home life.
5. Leverage Time-Management Techniques
We often set timers and alarms for things such as waking up and cooking; however, we almost never set timers at work. The reason being it’s just something we have never done and that is not often taught. However, those savvy to productivity techniques will have been doing it for years.
The most common time management technique that uses a timer is the Pomodoro Technique. The aim of the technique is to condense a series of time focused periods of work with short breaks in between them.
James Cirillo came up with the technique to break up large projects into smaller, more bearable 25-minute periods of work. The 25 minutes are strictly dedicated to the task at hand and nothing else. After the 25 minutes are up you are allowed a short 5-minute break. Then the sequence begins again a further 2 times, with a larger break allowed at the end of 3 sequences.
When you look at the evidence that suggests the average person is distracted every 3 minutes and 5 seconds you can see how important this technique can be for creating bursts of totally uninterrupted productivity. By incorporating the Pomodoro Technique whilst working from home you can significantly increase productivity by eliminating anything that will distract you for longer periods of time.
To be successful working from home it requires the right mindset and approach. You need to be clear that during the hours you dedicate to work, that is the time for work, try not to let the distractions of being at home dictate your day.
By using the techniques outlined in this post you will have the best possible chance to stay on the right track and perform consistently. You may find that you are ultimately more productive at home as there are typically fewer distractions from co-workers vying for your attention throughout the day.
If you feel yourself straying off track, revert back to these five simple productivity tips and you will get back to being your productive best in no time 4.