Updated: Jan 27, 2022
Since the first and second lockdown here in Toronto, a lot of people are working from home. Yes, there are benefits to working from home, like reduced commute time, higher productivity and more time to spend with your family. There are also many downsides, especially if your home is not set up for work.
As a massage therapist, I am seeing more clients coming in with physical strain and stress from working in awkward positions as well as the mental stress of living and working with your family 24/7. People who have to work with micromanaging type bosses or needy co-workers are also feeling the pressure of having to answer a million emails before completing one task. Working from home can be very overwhelming for some.
If this sounds like you do not worry. Working from home is just a skill that needs to be honed. Below are a few tips to help make working from home optimal. In no time, with these tips, you will wonder how you ever struggled before.
Three tips for working from home
1. Create the ideal environment to work in, for your sensibilities
2. Finish work quickly so that you can end when you like
3. Create Healthy Habits
Create the ideal environment to work in for your sensibilities
• Should be tidy - Use systems to keep it organized like using a paper tray/file system with work you are working on, work you need this week, work that you won’t need for a while but can’t dispose of
• Go paperless where possible
• Spend ten minutes at the end of the day confirming what tasks have been completed today and what is on the list for tomorrow
• Get comfortable - The right temperature, lighting, and décor will have a physiological effect on your body, altering your mood and ability to focus!
• The right chair and desk are important to prevent strain and other issues
• Having more than one place to sit can be an effective way to prevent health issues and also to keep things fresh so you don’t feel stagnant and trapped
• Use images of people who inspire you in your space
Finish work quickly so that you can end when you like
• Do the hard stuff first – this means completing your biggest and most unpleasant job first
• The one minute rule – finish tasks that will take one minute or less immediately
• The Pomodoro technique/creating rewards – you can’t work for 8 hours straight, so schedule breaks during the day and keep track of them
• Start tomorrow’s job – start tomorrow’s task before you clock off and now you don’t need to start that from fresh first thing tomorrow. We also hate unfinished tasks, so it will be easier to pick this up right away
• Use to-do lists – add anything you can’t finish to your list and then have a schedule time (20 minutes toward the end of the day, perhaps) to go through those items
Create Healthy Habits
• Make sure you spend at least some time outdoors. Vitamin D is crucial for hormone balance, mood, and sleep
• Get some form of exercise from Cardio as well as Mobility/strength from something like yoga or calisthenics
• Drink plenty of water throughout the day
• Try to get social contact - Images of loved ones on your desk can have a healthy impact if you’re unable to take break to talk to them directly
• Make sure you prioritize your sleep – a good night’s sleep will have you rested and more energized as well as improve your immune system
• Create a strict separation between work and relaxation - Use lifestyle design to choose how and when you will work
• Spend more time with the people and things you love
• If possible, get in the habit of making monthly, bi-monthly or quarterly appointments with your massage therapist, physio therapist, chiropractor or psychologist. These health practitioners can assist you in the transition from commuting to working from home
The apps and tools below will also help with your work-from-home journey. (tbh I only use todoist, asana and googledrive. The following apps are what ‘people’ are using)
Powerful Apps and Gadgets That Help:
• Todoist is a fantastic to-do app that will help you to set tasks and then stick to them. Powerful natural language interpretation makes this easier to use
• Notion is an incredible note-taking software that many people describe as a “second brain”
• Zoom is useful video conferencing, used by most professionals and organizations
• Asana is project management for teams and is extremely useful
• Docusign is used for signing documents when you can’t be physically present
• GoogleDrive offers cost effective cloud storage and also collaboration tools
• Sharepoint is a Microsoft alternative to Google Drive. Very useful for collaboration using Microsoft Office tools
• Freeom is an app that lets you block other apps and websites that usually take up your time
• RescueTime lets you see how you’re spending your time throughout the day
• The Apple Watch is a surprisingly powerful productivity tool - Keep your to-dos on your wrist; check notifications without getting out your phone; monitor your stats (such as steps) to ensure optimal health
Working from home can be a blessing and curse. Ultimately though, the issues that can arise from working from home are mainly due to a lack of experience and familiarity with the process. This is a skill and like any other skill, it takes time and practice.
If you currently find yourself struggling to focus or get work done, then don’t worry. This can and will improve, as long as you apply consistent effort and smart changes. These tips will hopefully have shown you how to do this and how to adapt a work-from-home-mindset in order to optimize your productivity.
Once you understand how to do that, you can then begin to benefit from the HUGE amount of flexibility, comfort, and productivity that this will afford you.
Let me know if this has been helpful.
What tips would you give for working from home? What has your experience been like? Comment and let me know.