7 Tips to become more Productive while Working From Home
Working from home has its challenges. I use these 7 tips to overcome them.
I'm a full-time Data Scientist. I work from home for the last year and a half. I was extra productive at first (finished with my work earlier) and had more time because I wasn't commuting. But after some time my productivity started to decline.
Working from home (WFH) is not for everyone. Some feel more productive while others dream about returning to the office.
When I started constantly working during the weekends, I decided it's time for a change. I analyzed my working routine and slowly started changing it.
These 7 tips are what helped me to change my working routine and increase productivity.
1. Start working early in the morning
Waking up early in the morning was the hardest for me, but also the most effective. I simply couldn't wake up early in the morning when I knew I was WFH.
I set my alarm at 6 am and I was just pressing snooze till 8 am or even later.
In my first month I started with work at 8 am, next month at 9 am, soon after at 10 am… I kept postponing my work.
What did I change to wake up earlier in the morning?
I started going earlier to bed. At first, at 11 pm then at 10 pm. I kept repeating this routine for a week (as benefits weren't obvious right away), but soon after I started waking up fresh at 6 am.
2. Don't eat if you're not hungry
A great way to start a day is with a delicious breakfast - at least that's what I thought.
Why should I eat when I'm not hungry? I'm sitting behind a desk almost all day so I don't need a huge calory intake.
I'm no nutritionist and this is not medical advice. I got this idea while listening to Peter Attia and David Sinclair on the Joe Rogan podcast.
Instead of eating breakfast right after I wake up, I drink a cup of ginger tea.
Don't get me wrong, I do eat breakfast, but I postpone it for an hour or two. I think of it as a reward for my morning productivity.
What about coffee? I love coffee! I save it for later in the day, when my focus starts dropping.
3. Go outside and take a walk
One of the benefits of working from home is that you can organize your workday to your own liking. I don't need to be behind the computer from 9–5.
When I feel I'm not being productive I go outside for a walk or go for a short run.
How do I know when I'm not productive? Easy! I find myself reading the news or watch youtube videos. I also notice that I start mindlessly coding.
When I feel tired and without energy, I take a short nap. It does wonders.
4. Take a cold shower
A cold shower is a life hack that I discovered recently. It instantly recharges my energy level.
It's summer in Europe and it's extremely hot these days. After I take a run, I take a cold shower (as cold as it can get).
I used to take a hot shower after a run, which didn't cool my body. It's much more difficult to get into deep work after you are overheated. At least for me.
After a cold shower, I feel like I did a hard reset to myself :)
5. Don't consume too much alcohol
I feel that my energy level drops considerably when I drink more than one beer. Maybe it's age-related, but I was never a fan of habitual drinking.
For me, it's more of a social habit when we get together with friends.
I also noticed that I don't feel as productive as usual the next day after drinking alcohol.
A life hack that I haven't implemented yet (but I'm thinking about it) is to go running after such event to put alcohol out of my body.
6. Have a dynamic workplace
Sitting all day behind a desk becomes exhausting. I have a standing desk at home and I lift it from time to time to change my position.
I don't try to stand all the time as standing behind the desk is as unhealthy as sitting.
If you don't have a standing desk, you can put a large box on your desk and a laptop on top of it - voila you have a standing desk.
A comfortable sofa also comes in handy, when I need to read a scientific article.
The main point is that I don't try to sit all day behind the same desk in the sample position.
7. Remove distractions
Having TV turned on in the background, watching youtube videos on your second screen or listening to heavy metal won't help with productivity. At least not for me.
Having 20 apps open on your laptop, checking email every few minutes, responding to every text also won't help with productivity.
I work in a quiet room, listening to chill music. When I feel I need an extra push I put noise-canceling headphones on.
Many of you have kids. I don't have any productivity advice on how to be more productive in this situation. It's much harder to focus for sure. Let me know in the comments how you are dealing with it.
You don't need to be extra productive every day while working from home.
You're also not always productive while working from the office.
I focus on average productivity (productivity over multiple days. I know my average productivity is in line with the expectation when I finish planned tasks in time and I don't bring work to weekends.