Building Mindful Habits For Your Home Office

Andre Oentoro

Practical Ways to Increase Work From Home Productivity

There has been an impressive rise in productivity rates as more companies and employees continue to opt for the remote work setup. On the other hand, the line between work and home has become a bit more challenging to distinguish. As a result, members of the workforce find themselves succumbing to online fatigue and lower employee engagement.

With the remote working setup here to stay, here are some practical ways to stay in a good headspace when working from home.

Turn Your Workspace into Your Dream Office

Being able to work from home means you can do whatever you want with your desk. Set up your workspace where you can get natural light. Upgrade your furniture by getting an ergonomic chair and desk. Set up your laptop and computer in such a way that your good posture and eyesight will not be compromised.

Purchase accessories that can make your experience more convenient, like a wireless keyboard and mouse, and even comfortable earphones. Invest in apps and collaboration tools that will make working remotely a breeze, like an electronic signature tool such as Jotform Sign, and other project management tools.

Decorate the space with plants, posters, candles or other things that will make you feel inspired throughout the day. Don't forget to decorate the area behind you as well as that is the first thing anyone will see when you have web conferences. Whether you do work meetings, webinars, translation, or podcasting, an actual beautiful background will always look more professional than a fake virtual background of a tropical beach.

Turning your workspace into your dream office is very motivating. If you find yourself getting tired of having the same old view, you can always rearrange and redecorate.

Designate Spots for Work and Leisure

Having a spot specifically for work is one of the most practical ways to set boundaries. Don’t just bring your work anywhere else in the household, most especially the bed or the dining area. Keep your bed solely for rest and sleep, and the dining area for good meals.

Aside from workspaces, create an area in your home for your hobbies and other interests. Maybe there’s a corner in your place where you can read books, listen to music, watch educational or entertaining videos, or continue with the knitting project you started a month ago. If you’re the type who likes working out or doing yoga, set up a tiny gym corner.

It will be easier to leave work “behind” so you can focus on home-related tasks or hobbies.

Set Intentions For Tomorrow Today

Starting the day with clarity is one of the best ways to go about a new work day. Before logging out of work, start making your to-do list for the following day. When you get to see how your day will go, you can prepare yourself well the night before. You also wake up with a clear sense of purpose and intention the next day.

Classify your tasks in terms of priority instead of dumping them all at once. Noting them all down on the same level of importance could end up overwhelming you. For meetings, set a clear and concise agenda ahead so as not to waste you and your team’s time from other essential to-dos.

Completing Routine Tasks Are Still Productive

There are days when you might not feel like you’re at your best. Instead of beating yourself up for not having the energy or focus to tackle your tasks for the day, try integrating more routine tasks in your work day.

These are tasks that are less challenging but are actually helpful in bringing up the momentum you need for the work day. Having this list of routine tasks will also make you feel productive because you still got work done despite your headspace.

Create Your Me-Time Rituals

Create physical rituals that mark the start and end of your work day. Instead of setting your alarm 10 minutes before you log into work, try setting it an hour earlier. This way, you can have a cup of coffee or enjoy breakfast. Take a quick shower and get changed into work clothes right after. Doing so works as cues that your work day is about to begin. Having this routine is better than checking your work e-mails and text messages the moment you wake up.

Include end-of-day rituals as well. Organize your desk and shut down your computer for a while so you can prepare a meal for yourself or change into your house clothes. Light up some candles or order food you’ve been craving the whole day as you start decompressing from work. A digital detox at the end of a work day conditions the mind and the body into a state of rest and relaxation.

Include Mini Breaks Throughout the Day

Rest your senses by stepping out of your workspace and doing an analog break. Take a walk outside for fresh air or scenery. Allow your senses to be stimulated by what is around you. You can also do some quick stretches and movement exercises to loosen up the body or just to simply entertain yourself with online puzzles. Remember that these mini-breaks are your free time. Your free time is meant to be spent on you. Especially on hobbies like calligraphy, photography, journaling or anything under the sun! Just because you’re free, doesn’t mean you’re available. Knowing the difference can really make a difference with your well being as an employee.

Time Management systems like the Pomodoro Timer is one way you can keep track of these breaks. The Pomodoro Timer breaks down your work day into 25-minutes with 5-minute breaks in between. After four Pomodoros, increase your breaktime to about 15 to 20 minutes.

"Pomodoro is a great technique for improving focus and productivity. I love to work in 'Pomodoros' especially when I have a big and challenging task and all I want to do is procrastinate. It is just easier to start something when you know you only have to work 25-minutes at a time." Kateryna Reshetilo, the head of marketing at Greenice, PHP development services agency"

Mind Your Socials

Social interactions outside of the workplace help in increasing productivity. Having regular coffee dates and hangouts, which you can schedule based on your level of social interaction, allows you to share different ideas, goals and other stories with peers. This even helps in building your network and support system. You can find someone who’s also working from home that you can be accountable with.

These interactions can also be found in online spaces like Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. However, it’s so easy to be sucked into these spaces especially while you’re working at home. Remember that you do not have to involve yourself with social media in real-time. There are applications that allow you to schedule receiving updates and notifications from these platforms.

Aiming for Longevity

These practical steps may seem very simple but they have a great impact in the way you go about your day. Being mindful about these steps makes you create new habits that will make you feel more present and grounded. They also highlight the importance of work and life boundaries so that your productivity and efficiency can be sustained for longer periods of time.

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Andre Oentoro is the founder of Breadnbeyond, an award winning explainer video company. He helps businesses increase conversion rates, close more sales, and get positive ROI from explainer videos (in that order).

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