Self-Quarantined? 8 Ways to Stay Productive While Working from Home

By Elyssa Eaton

For some of us, working remotely isn’t a new concept, thanks to the digital age we’re currently living in. But for the majority of Americans, telecommuting will certainly be an adjustment at this time. Embrace this new normal and channel your energy into productivity!

As a seasoned work-from-home professional, I like to think I’ve mastered the discipline necessary to telecommute successfully. The following tips will certainly help you do the same:

1. Wake Up with Intention.

It’s important to remember that this is not a vacation. If you’re among the fortunate group of people who are able to collect paychecks during this time, you must take your job seriously. If you typically set an alarm to get to the office on time, set your alarm for your at-home work day, too. (The upside to not having a commute is that you can sleep in a little later. So it’s OK to hit snooze a few more times!)

Once you wake, immediately set an intention for your day. It can be as simple as repeating “I am productive, I am productive…” 10 or more times.

Now, it’s time to get out of bed. Pro tip: Remember to make your bed! There’s something about an unmade bed that fuels a sense of non-productiveness. Plus, a made bed will make you less likely to want to jump back in it! It’s also a good idea to open the window shades to invite in some natural light – the outside world might just give you the extra charge you need to get going.

2. Weave-In a Workout.

If you’re used to hitting up the gym after work, here’s your chance to try something different and even establish a new healthy habit along the way by working out before you clock in. Pro tip: Keep your alarm set for the usual time you wake up for work. Since you won’t be commuting, you can use the extra 45 minutes to squeeze in a workout – no gym required.

Exercises to try from our friends at VitaCost, part of The Kroger Family of Companies:

You can also find a nearly infinite amount of fitness videos on YouTube. After a cool-down and stretch, hit the showers and get to work! Missed your alarm? No problem! Slip straight into your workout clothes so you’re motivated to exercise during your lunch break or once you’re finished working for the day.

3. Design a Designated Work Space.

Avoid working from your bed, the couch or any other areas where you’re used to falling asleep. Set yourself up in a space that keeps you inspired, preferably one with a flat surface that’s conducive to working.

If you’re feeling stuck or confined, change the scenery and get some fresh air by taking your laptop or work materials out on the balcony, patio, to your backyard or even your front porch (remember to practice social distancing by waving to your neighbors!). Cabin fever is real – don’t let it happen to you.

4. Ditch Distractions.

Do yourself a favor and forget about the TV during work hours. If the stark silence of your home freaks you out, turn up the tunes! Check out the Brain Food playlist on Spotify, which compiles stimulating sounds, with minimal words, to keep your brain active.

5. Choose Chores Wisely.

Most of us can probably admit that it’s a challenge to maintain a spic-and-span house during the work week. The benefit of staying home means you can actually get things done around the house! While you’re in isolation, take a 15-minute breather to start a load of laundry, fold and put away clothes, empty the dishwasher or scrub the toilets. You can even call a friend or video chat a family member for a quick catch-up session when you’re craving connection.

Pro tip: Break for lunch! If you take an hour break at the office, take an hour break at home – you deserve it. And remember to clean up as you go. Leaving dirty dishes in the sink until the end of the day is a major buzzkill.

6. Focus on Fresh Food.

Here’s your chance to establish healthy habits when it comes to eating, with a focus on fresh foods.

For breakfast, take your first 15-minute break to make a quick, nutritious meal such as a refreshing smoothie, smoothie bowl, tofu scramble or parfait! Take any of these easy-to-eat breakfast options back to your work space while you start the day with the simple tasks, such as checking and responding to emails.

For lunch, prepare a salad, chickpea “tuna” sandwich, fruit bowl, veggie wraps or last night’s leftovers (meal prepping the night before is a great idea, too!). At this time, your ingredient stockpile might be limited, so be creative and improvise when needed.

By mid-afternoon, you’re probably ready for another 15-minute break. Take this time to start dinner on the earlier side so you can eat before the sun goes down (goals!). Between 3:30-4pm is a good time to start cooking ingredients that take longer prep, such as potatoes, which can take up to an hour to bake or steam.

7. Remain Present with Your Peers.

When you sign in for the day, check in with your team with a cheerful ping. A simple “good morning!” is a good way to let them know you’re online and available. It’s also a good idea to look at your meeting schedule before taking any of the aforementioned activity breaks. It’s important to be alert and present with your team. Don’t break at 12:45pm if you have a meeting scheduled for 1pm; otherwise you run the risk of missing it.

8. Take Control of Your Health.

Remember to consume foods that boost your immune system (and herbs that support immune function too!), such as garlic, green tea, Echinacea and elderberry.

Final Thoughts…

Do what you can to keep distractions at bay by keeping your mind active and your body moving. Understand that this is not a vacation. It’s still necessary to go to sleep early, wake up with your alarm and complete the work you’re expected to complete. Stay in close (virtual) contact with your team and practice these tips to stay productive during this time!

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