With the Coronavirus outbreak, much of the world who can do their jobs remotely, are. If you’re not used to working from home, it can be easy to develop bad habits that can be detrimental to your health and your productivity. As someone who has been there, I want to share insights I have gained over the years with you.
Tips for Staying Healthy While Working from Home
Let the Sunlight In:
When working from home, it’s easy to shut yourself inside, with the curtains or blinds drawn. Make sure to get regular vitamin D. Both naturally and in pill form. Read the effects of Vitamin D deficiency here.
Sit next to a window that allows you to get lots of natural light. Take a break and step outside for some sunshine and fresh air. Getting lots of sunlight will also help prevent you from feeling too tired, and fresh air is always good.
When working from home, you should regularly move around to maintain good blood-flow and cardiovascular health. This will also keep you more energized and alert. It’s easy to start feeling run-down sitting in the same spot.
Do light stretching or yoga exercises
Use weights to do some light toning or strength exercises
Jog in place or do jumping jacks to get the blood pumping
Do situps and/or pushups
Go for a short walk. Right now with coronavirus concerns, you can take a short walk while avoiding other people, and avoiding touching objects.
Pay Attention to Food
People I speak to generally fall into one of two groups: The people like me who focus better with some kind of habit, like chewing or snacking on something, or the people who get focused and completely forget to eat. Neither is healthy. The snack group can quickly put on a few extra pounds by working from home and snacking too frequently. The fridge is close by, stocked with all of your favorite things…
For the snackers, keep a supply of healthy snacks on hand and easily accessible. Keep unhealthy snacks harder to get to, or out the of the house entirely. Healthy snack options include sliced carrots, celery, nuts, roasted chickpeas, cucumbers, tomatoes, apple slices, etc. Avoid eating too many highly sugary snacks like grapes, oranges or processed foods.
For those who forget to eat (and also helpful tips for all), make sure you take regular time for meals. Set a reminder to take lunch, and actually go make a healthy lunch and eat it away from your workstation. You need to give your brain a break, so do something for you during this time. Watch some mindless entertainment just for fun, read a book, sit outside and enjoy your lunch, etc.
Staying Productive While Working From Home
Working from home presents many distractions that can harm our productivity. Make a point to not do anything from home during work-hours that you wouldn’t do at the office. This includes things like taking a short nap, watching youtube videos, or surfing Facebook all day.
Start Your Day off Right
Starting your day off with something positive that feels like a “win” can set the tone for the day, and improve your productivity. Wake up and do something that makes you feel good and productive:
Empty the dishwasher
Respond to emails first thing.
Check Analytics, site stats, etc for anything urgent
Respond to comments, etc on your social platforms (work related)
This is good advice from home or from work, but since work can present more distractions and less opportunity to focus the same way we might in the office, its important to keep this in mind.
While multi-tasking can feel more productive, because you’re working on several things in quick succession, this can also be a drain and harm your overall productivity. Studies show that this form of context-switching can make it harder to focus on the task at hand. When quickly switching from one task to another, it can take your brain 20+ minutes to regain focus. That’s already almost an hour wasted switching to one task and back! If you had just spent that extra 40 minutes on the first project, you would be farther along.
Create a Daily List of Priorities
Don’t make the list too long, you want it to be something you can actually accomplish in the day and feel like you achieved something. Create a short list of the most important things you want to work on and accomplish today.
If working as part of a team, it’s a really useful exercise to share this with your team in the mornings. This will hold you accountable and better highlight what everyone else is working on, which helps overall productivity because others may have suggestions to bring to the table or may be working on something similar where you can combine efforts.
You can also develop a slack channel specifically for this type of check-in.
Have any tips to share?
Let me know in the comments or send me a tweet @rebekah_am or tag me in an IG message @bekah.may so I can reshare.