Working from home? How to maintain your level of productivity (and sanity) in Lockdown 3.0
For me, and many others across the country (and world!) working life was beginning to slightly resemble normality. But with Lockdown 3.0 in full swing across the UK, that faint vision is beginning to fade away.
Just when you think you’ve adjusted, the rug gets pulled from under your feet, and it’s back to Zoom calls in your pyjamas!
Gone are the days of getting dressed up in a cute outfit, wearing a touch of makeup and feeling just put-together enough to tackle the working day.
Well, as someone who was just getting into a great morning routine (for the first time in my life!) I’m determined to maintain that level of productivity, efficiency and mindfulness.
And so, I’ve compiled a few key points to ensure that you and I can kill this ‘working from home’ thing like a BOSS!
If you want to know how to smash the 9 – 5 and thrive in your 5 – 9, then keep reading!
1. Create a wind-down routine for yourself before bed.
Anyone who has tried to rouse me from my slumber, knows that I am NOT a morning person. My sleep/night routine was honestly abysmal. I would literally crawl into bed at 2am after binging on Netflix and then stay awake until 4am because its hard to switch off your brain off!
But…not anymore! We’ve heard it a million times, but it is sooo true. The key to a successful morning, is the night before. Give yourself an hour before you get into bed, to truly wind your mind down. This is the key to a great sleep, and an even better morning.
Rather than binging on Netflix, read a book. Instead of scrolling through your socials, start journaling. Do something that doesn’t expose your eyes to that darn Blue light.
Try this, make your last hour before bed a Phone. Free. Zone!
2. Wake up early anyway!
Now that you’ve had a restful night’s sleep, you’re ready for the morning ahead. And here’s the interesting part, in his book ‘Think Like a Monk’, Jay Shetty touched on something that really resonated with me, and may strike you as well.
He says: “Waking up just in time, means you’re already late.”
This struck me! How many of us, try to sneak in as much sleep as possible, throw on the dress you can think of, grab a breakfast to go and rush out the door. This was me!
After hearing that, I decided to start waking up an hour earlier than I needed to and the results were amazing.
Now that we’re working from home, and you don’t have to be out of the house by 8.30 am, I still think it’s important to implement the same rule.
Just try it! Wake up one hour earlier than necessary, and see how ready you are for the day ahead.
3. Implement a morning mindful practice.
Now that we’re not making the morning commute, it’s surprising how much time we actually have to ourselves before beginning our working day. Why not try adding a morning meditative practice to your routine?
Usually, at this point, I would be running out of the house, toast in hand, only to realise that my car needs some serious defrosting. Sheer dejection! Well now, I have found a much better use for this time.
Before my busy work-mind takes over and before I’ve even read a single email, I’ve been taking a moment to add a bit of intention to my morning, and I highly recommend it. I can’t tell you how much this has changed my whole approach to the day ahead!
Meditation can be anything. For me, it begins with Fajr, the morning prayer, which is just the best way to start any day.
After making my morning prayers, I like to do something called mirror work…sounds cringey right? Well it totally is! …But it’s great for boosting self esteem and building confidence before tackling those ever-multiplying emails and requests.
Just try it, write some mantras or positive statements about yourself. Then, look into the mirror, right into your eyes, and say these kind words to yourself. I’ve been doing it and it’s really impactful.
You can also try following a guided morning meditation. This can be a great way for beginners (like myself) to add meditation to your everyday routine.
There are some really great guided meditations out there. At the moment, I’m listening to ‘Wake Up/ Wind Down’ by Niall Breslin on Spotify. His morning and nightly meditations will help you drift away to a breezy sleep and awaken for a productive morning.
4. Get organised and get going!
I don’t know about you, but I feel like working from home takes twice the self-organisation and discipline needed in the office. Whilst working in the house, I seem to find a million things that need doing. And if I don’t look, they’re sure to find me!
It’s just way too easy to be distracted…right?
Well this time around, for Lockdown 3.0, I was prepared! Thanks to my dad, I’ve started using a programme called Notion.
Notion is an all-in-one workspace where you can write, plan, collaborate and get organized. You can take notes, add tasks, manage projects and so much more. It allows you to create your own layouts and organise your work load in the most productive way possible.
If you’re like me and you’re partial to a subcategory or two, then you’ll love it! This is how I use it to organise my Work, Blog and Reading List.
For more info, check out this informative and explanatory video.
5. Find the RIGHT working rhythm for yourself.
WFH couldn’t be more different to working in the office, so it makes sense that our practices shouldn’t be the same in both places either.
I’ve found that I have a completely different working rhythm at home, and it kinda works for me. I’m just as productive, if not more, because I fit things around my own daily routine and mood.
It’s ok to step away from your laptop if you have to. Employers don’t expect you to be glued to your screens for 7 hours straight, while your kids run rampant in the next room. Life gets in the way, and that’s ok!
Take 5,15 or 30 minutes away from your screen to gather yourself again.
I like to do some basic yoga stretches after meetings, all those bouncing ideas can way heavy on the spine, so it’s nice to shake them off!
Finding a pattern that works for ME has taken a few weeks to figure out. I now have a schedule that helps me to feel balanced; emotionally and physically throughout the day.
If you need a little help figuring this out, try using my Working from Home checklist and see how it goes. This will give you a few tips on how to prioritise your mental, physical and emotional health whilst working at maximum productivity.
Remember, yes…we may have a lot of work to do, but you are only human! It’s okay to take a break, go for a walk during the day and tune in to your needs and emotions.
It’s important to take it one day at a time and be as adaptable as you can to your own changing needs and those of your team members.
6. Make time for your side hustle
Working right now is great! More than ever, it is important to express appreciation and gratitude for your job! In times of uncertainty and financial instability, valuing the incredible privilege of having a job is essential.
However, our 9-5 roles just don’t fulfil every aspect of our ambition.
For me, I knew I needed a fun and creative outlet for my skills and passions. (Hence the birth of this blog!)
But, it can be quite tedious, working from home all day, and then coming back to the very same set up, to pick up where you left off with your passion project.
This is a reminder that your side hustle, after your 9-5 is where the true joy lies!
It may not be lucrative right now, but the feeling of progress and building something is going to propel you forward in every aspect of your life. Don’t let that slip away!
To make sure I’m still on track with my main job and my side hustle, I have set clear boundaries for myself. Define the time you want to finish your work and when you want to pick up on your extra-curricular.
Freshen up, take a shower or indulge in a little Netflix binge…but come back to your project and give yourself an hour or two a day to really get your creative juices flowing!
I hope these little tips help you with your WFH journey!