Productivity and self-discipline can be a challenge at the best of times, let alone during a quarantine. Motivation comes and goes. Of course it’s nice when it’s here, however, you can’t always rely on it. In times like these, the key isn’t how to motivate yourself; the key is how to work without it.
Here are our 7 tips to help get you through.
1. Your Physical Workspace
When working from home the first and most important step is to identify and set up a designated workspace. Working from your bedroom or the couch can often lead to mixed results. Mixing work with leisure may even lead to staying up all night or being unable to switch your brain off when you need to. Nobody wants to wake up in the morning, reach straight for the laptop and then jump directly into their work emails. So, it’s best to keep the two areas separate, this will keep you in the right frame of mind.
In these uncertain times I find it best to try to manage the few things we can still take control over. One of these being our daily routine and schedule. Although in the first week or two you might have thought “great, I don’t even have to get out of my pyjamas to go to work anymore.” As time is stretching out on this one, the novelty wears off, and this approach certainly won’t be the right route to take for everybody. You may see both your physical and mental health become affected quickly. I mean you don’t have to put on your three piece suit every morning, however getting up on time, getting dressed and having your breakfast as usual will promote productivity during the day .Also, It is important to take regular breaks throughout your working day, as though you were in work, as this will help in keeping structure alive and morale high!
3. Air & light
Now you’ve found the perfect spot in your house, away from housemates constantly trying to strike up conversation, or your socially-deprived kids pulling out of you looking for some well-deserved attention. It’s time to get down to the specifics. Make sure that in the space you have chosen there is a window close by, this will allow a flow of air and light to circulate around you all day. Being stuck in a dark, stuffy room is not going to be good for your concentration levels or general well-being.
Taking this a step further, you may even look into investing in an air diffuser to purify the air in whichever room has become your new home office. The makers over at a local Irish brand Kotanical particularly recommend a wild orange essential oil to diffuse in an office or home-working space. As it is both sweet and strong, it helps to purify the air and promote an increase in energy. At the same time, it helps to lower the pulse rate – which is ideal for those feeling the added stress of meeting impending deadlines from home.
4. Comfort & how you’re sitting/setting up
With a lot of businesses closed and not all of us having access to the right equipment, setting up your new WFH space can prove to be tricky. The main point to note is sitting hunched over your coffee table is not the way to go.
Let’s narrow it down to the top four pointers:
Elevating your laptop is extremely important, having the top of your screen just under eye level is optimal. This way you are not bending over all day, damaging your neck. If you don’t have access to a laptop stand at this time, a shoebox or a stack of books can work just as well. Alternatively, you can buy one online at huntoffice.ie.
Changing your seating positioning regularly can help immensely. Moving around from your desk, to maybe a softer seat for an hour or even if you have a high countertop in your kitchen, standing for a while when working can be beneficial.
For those of you suffering from lower back pain who had never even noticed that built-in lumbar support pillow in your office chair until now, my advice would be placing a rolled up towel between your lower back and your chair. This will help deter your back pain.
Finally, it is essential while looking at a computer all day to do one of two things, one of those being abiding by the 20 20 20 rule:
Spending long periods looking at your computer can strain the eyes. Using the 20-20-20 rule can help to prevent this problem. The rule says that for every 20 minutes spent looking at a screen, a person should look at something 20 feet away for 20 seconds. This can help with the preservation of your eyes for these long days staring into your screen.
The second option? To flee to the online shopping market. Visiting websites such as Ambr eyewear. It’s a pandemic, treat yourself! Plus, it doesn’t hurt to support local business in this time either!
5. Looking after your body
I know we are all being inundated with map my run results and competitions to win exercise bands designed by your favourite blogger. However there really is a lot to be said for getting out for an hour in the evening. If running isn’t your thing, maybe find your own form of meditation in a trip down to your closest park. Sit down, make a daisy chain and breathe in some fresh air. If you’re lucky enough to have the sea within your 2km, I would highly recommend grabbing your togs and running into the sea with conviction. There’s something very freeing about thinking about absolutely nothing other than how freezing you are, even for twenty minutes.
Another incredible way to look after both your body and your mind would be to add some yoga practice to your daily routine. This can be a beautiful way to guide yourself on a journey to help you become an emotionally stronger and a naturally happier person. Just 15 minutes of yoga a day can change your brain chemistry and improve your mood. Not to mention Yoga is beneficial on several physical levels as well. Some of which include posture, breathing, increasing your energy, reducing stress and better all-round fitness.
You can take a look at websites such as Saol Beo, A local practitioner and advocate for the benefits of yoga who we would really recommend if you are in search of some inspiration.
6. Looking after your mind
Unplugging from social media is a huge must when working from home. There is nobody around to make you feel like you shouldn’t be on your phone, therefore our advice would be it may be best to leave it in your bedroom. If anybody from work needs you, they can reach you on an appropriate work platform online. Putting WhatsApp on your laptop doesn’t count either, you’re only fooling yourself!
With the media running wild between false news on Instagram and scare mongers’ on Facebook it is very easy to be caught up in a whirlwind of anxiety. Our advice would be to catch up on the day’s news once in the evening after work to stay correctly informed. Getting blasted with unsettling news first thing is not the right way to start your day. Work on accumulating your own personal thoughts, while taking each day at a time in order to get through this tough time.
It is so important to have the right music, not enough to get out of your seat, but a nice repetitive almost meditative beat is best to stay focussed. Steer clear of the classic belters or you might find yourself reaching for the closest hairbrush (microphone) and losing focus all together. Below I have linked some of the playlists I like to listen to while trying to concentrate.
Hopefully there will be at least one playlist or mix here to help you get through the rest of your day …
Look after yourself and look after each other.