We are living during unprecedented (tired of this word yet?) times, and so it requires an adaptation of the traditional office job role. Luckily, the majority of the current workforce consists of Millennials! The notoriously “lazy”, first generation to grow up with the growing advances, integration, and normalization of technology into everyday life. For Millennials, working from home is no biggie (for the most part!), but that doesn’t mean that there aren’t particular challenges that come with working from home. Working from bed versus Netflix binging all-day? Or saving yourself from the “emergency” snacks, both of these challenges are difficult to navigate.
Well, despite being a Millenial, a Boomer, or Gen X, we can all improve our productivity levels of working from home. At Forty8Creates, we believe in flexible working and often have the opportunity to work from home, hence, we know a thing or two about home productivity. Here are some tips that have been working for our team so far.
Self – Reflect On Your Discipline
Like most of the things in life, actually getting to work isn’t the real difficulty. The most difficult part lays with asserting discipline and being strict with yourself. Working from home requires you to be a disciplined, self-taught version of yourself. Aka you need to be able to shut your inner dialogue, you know the one that gets tired, sleepy, bored, hungry or wants to go on Instagram. Humm Alexa play “bored” by Billie Elish…
You know that means? Time to reflect. If you’re noticing a pattern within your productivity levels it’s time to sit down with a cup of tea and reflect. Why are you acting this way? and what can you do about it? That’s right this the intervention phase! Make a list of the things that distract you often and be honest with yourself!
Once you have flagged which issues are particular triggers for your working from home productivity drop it is time to tackle it accordingly.
For instance, if going on social media is one of your problems, then you need to put your phone in a drawer. Period!
But, but…I need stuff from my phone in order to work. Ok, realistically, what do you actually need? Passwords? just write them down or upload them on your Google password manager. Phone calls? Just leave your phone with the ringer on, in a drawer. You could even have a separate phone altogether to handle only calls, this would justify the use of your Nokia 3310, but stay away from Snake!
This tip will be enough of an effort for your brain to stop craving the constant connection, but not unreachable in case you do need it. And that lady and gents, is how you trick the chimp side of your brain, or your evil inner voice, whatever you want to call it, into action.
Can’t Stop Doing House Work!
If you happen to be one of those people who gets distracted or procrastinates with housework, there a couple of things you can do to help discipline yourself as well. For instance, start by defining your office hours, once these are defined you need to think of them as actual physical office hours. You wouldn’t start doing laundry in the middle of the office, would you? If you answered “yes” to this question, I sincerely hope you are either, working from home all the time or seeking the appropriate help!
Perhaps you can set aside a day of the weekend to do the majority of work (if work allows), or you can wake up a little bit earlier each day to allow yourself extra time to do other things and a chance to internally prep you for work. Use your lunch break as well to tackle any small housework tasks, especially if they been bothering you and distracting you from your work.
Ensure You Have A Well Defined Morning Routine
If you follow Forty8Creates throughout our social media channels, you know how much we’re advocates of having a set morning routine for productivity and to incentivise the development of meaningful habits.
Having no routine tends to be the main struggle of working from home. Once your routine has been interrupted is hard to find motivation and get back on your feet. A great morning routine can make the laziest person motivated for work and maximize your productivity levels as well.
So what’s the secret to getting into a proper and productive morning routine when working from home? Here are some quick tips:
Dress Up For Work
Yup, you’ve read that right, contrary to popular belief, jeans are actually your friends. I know what you’re thinking: why would I bother putting clothes on when no one is going to see them? Also working from my pyjamas is one of the benefits of working from home…so why would I deny myself that luxury?
Short answer: to give you the initial boost that you need to get work started and rolling. Long answer: activating your brain to emanate that part of the brain will kickstart the work mindset, as your brain is usually used to associating you putting on your work clothes to get in that mindset.
Sammi, a social media influencer, explained in her Instagram stories that the trick to be productive as a freelancer is to get out of bed and ensure she has a cool outfit and a coffee. That is enough of a driver to kick start her work. Her Instagram bio caption is literally: “Fuelled by coffee and a killer outfit” as she jokingly explained, that is quite literally the case.
Tea or Coffee
The same principle applies to get a beverage in the morning. If you’re anything like me, you’re used to having a coffee in the morning and a tea right before starting work in the office.
More then the actual caffeine itself, the habit of drinking a beverage is what activates the brain and gets it ready for work mode.
You don’t actually need to drink caffeine if you typically don’t, but maybe try to have some water or a herbal tea right before you open that document and prepare to be amazed at the results.
Get Everything You Need Ready The Night Before!
This one is critical to have any sort of work done! Make sure you plan everything you need the night before. This includes an agenda/plan of everything you’re going/need to do, as well as your working tools laid out, charged and ready to start.
We’ve mentioned many times, the impact that decision fatigue has on your productivity and overall decision-making skills. If you don’t recall, decision making fatigue is pretty much -and very plainly summarised- as the unconscious tiredness from making decisions.
Whilst this doesn’t seem tiring, we make millions of decisions per day, many without even knowing it, but each one still takes up precious capacity. By reducing the amount of the decisions we make, we’re saving brainpower. This is also the reason why Steve Jobs wore the same outfit every day. All black everything!
In summary: in order to be more productive every day reduce the number of decisions you make in the morning by preparing the night before. That way, you reduce brain power and decision making.
Don’t forget your headphones!
Again it all comes back to habits. Even if you don’t listen to music, the habit of using headphones during work will likely help you get in the work mindset.
Extra tip! If you’re struggling with focusing and you can’t figure out why that is, try to play some artic sounds on youtube or a fireplace soundtrack on your noise-cancelling headphones. This might sound like a bit of weird advice, but we discovered in the office that it helps get into the zone much faster for some reason so definitely give it a try!
Get Your Workspace Sorted
Make sure you have a designated space to get your work done. That doesn’t mean you need a designated desk area just like the office, but do try and segment an area of your space for business enquires only. This means, working from bed is out of the picture.
It’s important to segment a physical area in your space so your brain associates each area to a specific habit. Working from bed might sound relaxing and all, but next time you actually try to relax, your brain will be in work mode.
Don’t get me wrong. it is definitely healthy to move around throughout the day to help renew ideas and energies, but perhaps avoid key areas such as the bed. Equally, try to avoid working laying down. Not only is this not practical but also bad for your posture and productivity. In short, don’t work in bed, sit in bed or do anything in bed other than what your bed was designed for.
Have a Cheeky Dance Break
Not going to lie sometimes despite all the tips, work just doesn’t want to get done. This is is usually my last resource and secret weapon; a physical activity of some sort.
Take 5 minutes to dance to your favourite song, or do a quick 5 minutes YouTube workout. Sometimes all you need is a rush of endorphins flowing to get you motivated. Your psychology is often linked to your physiology.
Follow this up by having fruit afterwards to avoid feeling tired. Hey, sometimes all we need is a little bit of a boogie! Time to get your best disco playlist out. Alexa play “Night Fever” by the Bee Gees.
Do At Least 10 Minutes
If you’re really really struggling with home working from home productivity, here’s what you can do; try to do at least 10 minutes of it. Force yourself to sit down and work for 10 minutes uninterrupted.
Chances are after those minutes are finished you’ll be too engrossed in your work to start a new activity. Otherwise, you did at least you did 10 minutes of work. That’s better than nothing!
And here we are, these some tips that we have for work for us. Hopefully, this will help you maximize your time more effectively and help you improve your working from home productivity levels.
If none of this works, you can always try and call your mum?
On a serious note, we understand these are unprecedented (there’s that word again) times. Whilst everybody is being affected in different capacities it’s important to try and stay positive because we’re all in this together! WE CAN DO THIS!