I have quite a bit of experience working from home these last two years and quite honestly – I love working from home and am excited to continue doing so! There are times though (more than I like to admit) that I am just completely distracted or lacking all motivation to have a productive day. So, this year I decided to create some new habits and set-up my workspace in a way that gave me the extra boost of inspiration to work when motivation just wasn’t enough.
1. Clean, clear and under control
If there’s one thing that has helped, it’s creating a space that is clear from all distractions. I removed everything but the necessities on my desk. I even removed pens that didn’t inspire me. I brought my desk down to the basics and it has made a huge difference. When I find I’m getting overwhelmed, my desk is the first place I look for signs that I need to take a step back and clear my head. If it’s a mess, I just automatically feel like everything is cluttered and overwhelming.
2. Use productivity hacks to your advantage
I tried the pomodoro technique (or at least an adaptation of it) and it really helped my productivity. Here’s the coles notes: you select a task and then set a timer for 25 mins. You work solely on that one task for the timer and then take a 5 min break. You then continue this pattern 4 times and at the end of the block (2 hours), you take a longer break. I pick my playlist a head of time and set up everything on my computer that I will need and then start the timer. Though I’ve found success setting the timer for 30 or 60 mins, it just depends on what I’m focused on. This cube timer from amazon has really helped keep me off my phone and in the zone.
3. Create a a weekly to-do list
I found this career tip on TikTok and I’m obsessed. Tracking tasks day by day or project by project was just not working and didn’t give me the full week’s picture. This spreadsheet (watch the video below!) has been a game-changer. Even if you aren’t looking for a raise or promotion (but I mean, who isn’t), it’s perfect to help manage your tasks, workload and prioritize your tasks based on their value-add to the company and stakeholders!
4. Honour your time
I loved listening to the Before Breakfast podcast during my morning commutes to the office before the pandemic. And I recently discovered that the same host, Laura Vanderkam, also has a podcast called The New Corner Office that talks about all things career and working from home. In the episode Move beyond the urgent she talks about ensuring that you’re dedicating time every day in your schedule to high priority, but not urgent tasks. Projects that you can move the needle on and that will ultimately benefit you, your career and the company. I’ve started scheduling 2 hour blocks in my schedule at least 3 days a week to work on these projects so that I don’t get so wrapped up in responding to daily emails or unplanned tasks that pop up.
5. Get ready every single day
Anyone else’s #WFH wardrobe totally doom and gloom? Yea, mine too. Whether we like it or not, our work from home looks are now 2 years old and it’s time to start putting yourself together! I’ve been curling my hair, putting on some makeup, thoughtfully picking out my outfit and adding my favourite jewellery pieces. I feel 1000 times better when I put the time and effort into myself before I pour from an empty cup for someone else. A morning routine would work well here too, but I’ll be honest, I’m still trying to put one together that I truly love. ✨work in progress!✨.
Take what you need and leave what you don’t! Remember you can always hit trial and error and find what works for you. Everyone’s working style is different and the beauty of working from home means that you can figure it out until you find the style (or mix of styles) that works best.
Leave a comment down below if you have any tips I didn’t mention here!