Stephen Hawking once said that the true measure of intelligence is your ability to adapt to change. And one of the biggest changes that happened to most of us in 2020 is the work from home new normal.
While some of us find working from home a bliss, others find it difficult and more or less disruptive to what they have been used to doing in most parts of their lives - working in an office with the presence of other co-workers.
To those of you who are facing this challenge quite roughly, this article lays a few work from home tips with the aim of helping you adapt to the new normal more easily.
So, let’s begin.
Follow a Healthy Routine
The thought of having to follow a routine might sound boring and uninspiring, but surprisingly, it has powerful benefits that can help you achieve more productivity and efficiency when working from home.
Being creatures of habit, our routines will determine the state of our health and wellness, whether we are in quarantine or not.
And having a healthy routine lowers your stress levels, improves your sleeping habits, and helps you achieve an overall healthier mind and body, which can significantly impact your self-esteem and motivation at work.
Here are some beneficial activities that will be great additions to your daily routine:
Besides helping you get in shape and maintain strength and vitality, exercising regularly can assist you in producing vital brain chemicals that help thrive throughout the day of the work from home new normal.
Remember DOSE. Dopamine, Oxytocin, Serotonin, and Endorphins. These are the common biochemicals that your brain produces when you exercise or perform any related physical activities.
These brain chemicals help regulate your mood and improve your overall health and well-being,
Dopamine is responsible for cognition, emotion, and behaviour, and it primarily communicates with the frontal lobe, which is associated with reward, creativity, and pleasure. So, having enough dopamine motivates you to work toward achieving your goals or rewards.
Oxytocin, also called the love hormone, helps you improve your overall psychological stability, improves relationships as you become more affectionate, trusting, empathetic, and bonded with the people around you.
Serotonin, also called the happy hormone, widely contributes to your happiness and well-being. It helps you regulate your appetite and digestion, mood and social behaviour, memory, sleep, and it alleviates depression.
Endorphins primarily help with your physiological well being and are commonly responsible for reducing pain and enhancing pleasure. They are also very effective in reducing pain, stress, and helping you function despite acquiring an injury.
The best approach to getting exercise daily is to support yourself with the necessary exercise equipment or set up a mini home gym.
Meditation has extensive mental health and physical health benefits, especially when performed daily. Meditating at least once a day can improve your self-esteem, focus, and concentration as you work from home, it also lowers your stress and anxiety levels as well as helps you foster kindness and self-awareness.
Walk outside and get some sun and fresh air.
Taking a brisk walk daily especially after getting some exhausting work done can be therapeutic - if you have a dog, might as well tag your dog along, so you can both get some sun and fresh air!
This routine will help you trim down some excess weight and acquire vitamin D, which improves your muscles and brain function. You can also set your goals and track your progress with a multi-functional smartwatch.
Read a book
Also, there are great books about productivity, such as the following:
- Getting Things Done by David Kelvin Allen
- The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen Covey
- Eat That Frog!: 21 Great Ways to Stop Procrastinating and Get More Done in Less Time by Brian Tracy
- Deep Work by Cal Newport
- The 4-Hour Workweek by Tim Ferris
Stick to a Work Schedule
Sticking to a work schedule can be a huge part of your healthy routine. Most often, people who work from home tend to remove the line between being at home and working from home. And this is where the new normal gets really challenging. However, a few simple tweaks in your schedule can fix this overlap.
First, if you manage your own time, you have to determine which part of the day you are more empowered to work. While most of us work best in the morning, others are more productive when they start their work in the afternoon or at night.
Here are a few tips to help you stay on schedule:
- Focus on one task at a time and give it your undivided attention.
- Set realistic goals and deadlines.
- Train yourself to avoid distractions (turn off the TV during your set work hours and turn off the social media notifications on your phone).
- Set a schedule for house chores, so you don’t multitask between house chores and work tasks.
- Take quick breaks between tasks (add some buffer time between each task).
- If you’re dealing with extra challenging tasks, consider scheduling them during “off-hours” where distractions are less likely to happen.
- Use a scheduler to keep you on track.
Set up a Dedicated Home Office
Having a dedicated home office or workspace during the new normal can be one of the most invaluable steps you can take - it doesn’t have to be fancy or expensive. All you need to do is acquire the office essentials and useful laptop accessories that will make you more productive as you work from home.
A dedicated home office can be super beneficial to your productivity, especially in training your body when to do important things and less important things.
According to the body memory hypothesis, our body is capable of storing memories based on what we do daily. For example, staying in bed makes you sleepy even though it is not time for sleeping yet (this is why people working from home should not work in bed!).
Another example is staying in the living room couch makes you want to play a game or watch a movie even though you know you have work to do - this is because your body has associated that place with recreation.
Lastly, working at the kitchen table would lead you to eat more than you should while working from home because your brain and body have associated that area to eating and indulging.
Don’t Forget Rest & Recreation
As previously mentioned, the new normal work from home situation may lead to the rapid thinning of the line between being at home and working from home.
While sticking to a work schedule and setting up a dedicated workspace or home office can help you draw the line, setting aside time for rest and recreation can also help you avoid burnout and boost your productivity.
Do something fun, watch a feel-good or interesting movie, take a long and rejuvenating bath, cook meals with your family, dance around your living room with your pets, pick up that guitar and struck some tunes, hide your laptop, and just sleep in for the day if that’s what your heart desires!
Appreciate the Good and Random Little Things
The global news can be often overwhelming, and it seems like there is always something major to be anxious about - the pandemic, lockdowns, quarantine restrictions, the new normal work from home situation, wildfires, and many more.
So, now is the time to start to intentionally appreciate the good and random little things like the time and gas money you save from your previous regular commute to work, the time you can now spend with your family, the random kindness from your neighbours or someone you barely know, and most importantly, the opportunity to still have a job and work from home in the new normal as well as the ability to send random gifts to your loved ones during these challenging times.