You may or may not know this, but as well as my social media platform, I also work as a commercial recruiter; which I have done for the last year. About seven months ago I reduced my days from four to three days per week, leaving me with two days to focus on my social media presence and to create content.
Having the extra days at home was incredible initially; I enjoyed waking up later, getting to the gym later in the morning (not my usual 5.30am zombie slot), however, I soon realised that without structure, it was easy to lose focus and some days became a slurry of horror films and social media surfing black hole; I basically turned into an unproductive sloth and I felt really crap about it,
Productive, I was not, so in order to improve my mindset I started to structure my days better, ensuring I was hitting my goals and was making the most of my time effectively.
I won’t lie, some days it doesn’t matter how disciplined I plan to be, I still end up frolicking with my doglet and enjoying a cuddle or 9 with my boggley princess; it doesn’t happen often, but I always reassure myself that it’s still a day well spent if my heart feels full, despite my wallet being empty.
The majority of the time my daily structure works great and my productivity levels whilst working at home has been excellent, so I’ve been dying to share with you my simple tips. It seems so much more relevant now with the corona outbreak which has resulted in the majority of the UK working full-time from their nests- so I hope my tips help structure your days and make your home a productive work space for the foreseeable.
Set your alarm
If there’s one tip I can give you when working from home; it’s to always set a specific time to haul your derriere out of your warm duvet cocoon. I have tried and tested waking up without an alarm, thinking waking naturally would give me a positive start to the day, however, I noticed that I was creeping to bed later and later (since I knew that I would be sleeping in). This bad habit just demotivated me in the long run as I began worrying about my workload and whether I’d have to work through my evening to make up time-and it really isn’t worth the stress!
The idea is to mimic a normal day going to work, minus the commute. Obviously when I’m creating content, I don’t have to start at a specific time, however, I felt that I still needed to give myself a start point to kick me into action and my little morning routine really does work.
I personally wake up at 07:30, then after a workout (home/gym) I eat my breakfast and then I sit at my work station on time, ready for to start the day.
Sweat it out
Personally, I can’t wake up properly without breaking a sweat, so any form of exercise is essential for me to start my day right. If you can’t attend a gym (due to the current situation) then check out youtube, there are loads of brilliant home work outs/ yoga sessions/ mindfulness routines available and the majority are free.
For the muscle building guy’s, there are even tips regarding using furniture to promote muscle growth- however, be careful, especially if you choose to chest press the leather sofa with your partner or granny still reclining (not that I’ve even attempted!)
If you prefer to put together your own routine, that’s fine too, however, I feel watching a live routine or YouTube clip spurs me on (I need to be shouted at and told to move my a**) otherwise i could quickly easily find myself collapsing on the sofa and getting lost in Instagram, which is so easily done!
We also know about the positive benefit of exercise too, so in order to keep your brain focuses and motivated on your day ahead, then I always suggest getting those positive endorphins flowing through your body as soon as possible, trust me it’ll help keep your head in the game.
Whether this is just psychology or not, I’ve found that getting showered and dressed genuinely makes me more productive. I’ve spent a day in my bed rags, with hair like Boris and bags under my eyes, however, I tend to work very similar to the mood I’ve created, so when I’m in my rags, my behaviour is usually lazy and uninspired.
After my sweaty workout I jump in the shower, wash my mop and put on some fresh clothes, (not the typical blazer and chinos that I’d normally sport in the office) however, if that’s how you feel like dressing, then do it! Personally, I just pop on smart jeans, socks and a decent tee; with my hair styled and teeth brushed I feel fresh and raring to get through my day, the brain is a funny ol’ thing if you think about it.
Grab a drink
…and no, not anything with a % against it! Although I know a few people who work exceptionally well on a Prosecco diet, so there’s no judgement here!
Whether it’s a cup of coffee, green tea or a glass of water, grab one! If you normally work in an office and you start your day with a mocha; then have a mocha in your kitchen cupboard ready. You’re basically mimicking a normally day in the office, so you’re brain will maintain the motivation and work efficiently that you usually depend on, despite working in the comforts and distractions of your home.
I’ll have my coffee black with no sugar please!
Work stations at the ready!
Some people work well with a laptop on their lap and Netflix blaring out in the background. Again, I’ve tried it myself and I’m too easily distracted, so I find it easier to set up my own little office, free of any distractions.
As I’ve said before, working from home can be just as motivating as the office, as long as you train your brain to remain efficient and not to get lazy and give in to the every day temptations which are lying around your home.
A little tip; The better the facade and the better the ‘home office’ looks, the more you’ll be comfortable and confident treating it like an office, which will increase your productivity. If you’re working from your bed, you’ll treat it like a bed and spend more time relaxing, instead of being productive. However, we’re all different and some people can work productively from their duvet, it’s all trial and error and whatever works for you, personally , I know if I was working from bed, I’d slip into a Sims hole and I’d be pretty unmotivated!
Structure your day
I like to structure out my day hour by hour. For some people it might sound a bit obsessive, but I personally think its a good idea to create your own goals and self-discipline. If I start work at 09:00 I give myself two hours to work consistently and then I’ll have a protein snack break. Another hour or so I’ll remain working on a task and then I get to watch a programme on TV whilst eating my lunch.
Having my day structured means I can easily see my goals and objectives for the day ahead. Nothing compares to that feeling of satisfaction, so make sure you pushing yourself to hit these goals and give yourself little treats upon succeeding, like a bit of chocolate or a tasty yogurt (food always helps!) this will make your day rewarding and fun and will keep you motivated when your on your own,
Remember, my Structure might not work for you since we’re all different and have our own stretches and motivators, so play to your own strengths and weaknesses to get the most out of your day- and have fun doing it!
Hide the phone
This is pretty self explanatory. We all know how distracting our phones are, so it’s worth hiding the phone in a drawer or in a box and only using during your break time or lunch.
If you’re likely to fall into the bottomless pit of social media then remove the temptation. Although it’s difficult with my job (content creation) I still try and put my phone away when I’m writing a blog, and when I have jobs to complete by set time-frames, otherwise I will fall into a TikTok hole and loose my days structure completely.
Use personal ‘phone-time’ as a motivator too, so if you’ve smashed a goal for the day, have 10 mins on your phone as a treat, again, it’s all about designing creative motivators to keep you actively working to you optimum capacity through-out the day.
Take a lunch break
It’s way to easy to nibble at you’re desk or forget the lunch break all together, however, my suggestion to you is to stop what your doing, move away from your work station, set an alarm (to cover your lunch break) and breath.
Watch Netflix, check your phone, just do everything you normally do to chill out and relax. This time out will mentally release you from the pressures of your work and again, it mimics a normal working day. I normally set an alarm and once my lunch is over, I remove my phone and go back to my office and work productively for the remainder of the afternoon.