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How to Work From Home Effectively and Happily

Most companies around the world have started mandatory work-from-home arrangements. For some, this is a new experience telecommuting and working remotely. Here are some tips to maintain balance in your life while keeping productivity high.

Start your day with intention and a schedule

Plan your days with to-do lists. Creating lists and intentions for your days will help keep our minds motivated and keep our days meaningful as we complete and strike these tasks off the list. I found it’s best for me when I start work at relatively the same time every day.

One of the best perks of working from home is the time saved on commuting to the office. So this is a great opportunity to squeeze in extra exercise, hobbies and reading that you have put off all this while. Without a set schedule, it might be easy to overwork beyond the point your mind is productive. Define a reasonable scope of tasks, and focus your hours spent at work on those.

Feel professional by looking professional

Do not wear your pyjamas all day. Our brains are attuned to habit, and wearing pyjamas keeps our minds in sleep mode. Get into work mode by changing into something else besides your sleep wear. This helps for the reverse too; you tend to start winding down when you get in your pyjamas for bedtime.

Besides your mental state, some of us are probably still attending meetings via video calls. Looking professional during those meetings will help keep the work tone on for your coworkers too.

For me, I keep my pyjamas to bedtime, and stay in active wear on work days I have planned exercise into. This way I have less laundry to deal with, as well!

Have a dedicated work space

Studies have shown that sleep quality is hindered when you work in your bedroom. Most of us may not have the luxury to have a study room, or enough space for all the adults at home to fit into a working space during this period.

Instead, mark out a work spot and keep your work within that area. It should be an area that creates a mental state for work mode, whether it’s a separate room or a part of your dining room.

Allocate time for exercise

With all the commute time saved, we have less excuse not to exercise. But it might be difficult to hit the recommended 10,000 steps a day without heading out the house. You can be more mindful of the tendency to turn into a couch potato by working active time into your schedule right from the start.

There are free apps you can use to burn some of that energy without any equipment. Check out apps like Nike Training Club for some high intensity workouts, or Down Dog for yoga.

Don’t forget to get some sunshine too. If you are not required by law to stick within your home, do take a walk outside for some vitamin D, essential for our body and mind to function well.

Also, sitting for prolonged periods is bad for your back, so get on your feet. If you have not tried a standing desk, get creative by stacking some books and fashioning one out of your existing furniture at home.

Socialise

The hardest part of working from home for some can be the isolation. With the help of technology, we can get some face time in with friends without meeting physically. Make a virtual date with your friends for dinner or a chat. Perhaps you could even try out exercising with your friends through video call apps, creating your own virtual fitness classes. Share some music you like with friends — check out this Spotify song list that our friends made.

Keep your space organised

If you are spending all day at home, think about making the space more comfortable and pleasant.

  • Declutter: Throw away or donate all the useless things you no longer need. If you are looking for a space to create your dedicated workspace, this is the best time to identify clutter. Keep only the essentials you need on your desk.

  • Beware of house chores: You might be generating more dirt and dirty dishes at home. It’s tempting to jump in and clear up, but set aside dedicated time for chores after work hours to keep to your work routine.

  • Make your bed: This helps to reduce the temptation to lie on your bed in the middle of the day, disrupting your set schedule.

Set some boundaries with your family

For those who are not living alone, it might be hard for you to be focused on work because your family is calling on you for everything and anything interesting.

Let them know your schedule and have them understand that you are always available outside your work hours. This helps your family to see that you are still available but that they should not distract you from your work. It helps to educate younger kids too to understand the concept of work and playtime.

Reflect and be grateful

Most of us reading this have access to clean water, comfortable homes and good internet access. Before we start feeling sorry for ourselves having to stay home all day, keep your spirits high by reflecting and appreciating your life and having all that you do.

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