For some time I really wanted to write more non-technical articles. And it’s not a joke 😊. Time is short, but more important are our health and safety. In the current global context, with a contagious virus spreading, there’s nothing more important than being cautious with our health.
Because of the crisis, many people have lost their jobs and some people are lucky enough to carry on their duties from home.
I so far really enjoy working from home where I created myself the right environment for it. Although I don’t have years and years of home-office under my belt, I can give you some tips from the “struggles” I had so far.
1. Unplug and let go of distraction
In order to be effective in your work, you have to unplug from the outside world for some time. This is very important regardless of the type of work you perform:
- Volume work (like answering tons of emails)
- Support desk
I always like to turn off notifications on my computer/phone/smartwatch because they interfere with my focus. For people with kids, being focused and undistracted might be challenging because it very much depends on the kiddos personality and the way you educate them. I’m not a parent so I can’t give good advice on this subject 😀
2. Make sure you have proper conditions
You may need to invest a little for this one and it also depends on the type of space available in your location.
Imagine that you are working on a very small desk, there’s no light, your chair is clumsy and your back hurts. How deep is productivity affected? I would say big time, folks. What about your vision? What about your back? Your backpain is not easy to recover, not mentioning the bad vision. So you need to take precautions rather than repair afterwards.
My personal recommendation is that you use a desk that’s at least 60 cm (preferably 80 cm) wide in order to stay as far as possible from the screen radiation. The light source should come from the left side and should be strong enough to cover all the areas you need. Maybe in the office the company doesn’t provide you with a big boss’s chair or similar you can be a boss at home. And a boss deserves a good chair, isn’t it? 😀 Make sure your chair has comfortable armrests, your back stays straight and it’s capable of leaning back (I like this feature).
3. Take a short break often
I’m not guiding myself after the saying: “long and frequent breaks, the key of great successes“, but there is a truth here. Breaks allow us to disconnect and recover the energy lost when working. Workaholics can hate breaks but still everybody needs them, otherwise there’s another danger lurking besides the Covid: the burnout. My personal tendency is to have a short break after each 45 minutes.
If It’s hard for you to get into this habit of breaking the work, try the following:
- Drink water very often. Don’t keep a large reserve near your desk, so that when you need it you’ll get up to get it
- Drinking lots of liquids will for sure make you visit the restroom and therefore take the break you very need
- Use specialized software available online. I personally don’t use any of these, so I can’t recommend anything useful. What really works for me is my watch sending me hourly notifications if it detects that I’m seated and telling me to get up a bit. I’ve found a list of other apps here
4. Go outside and unplug completely
There are situations when things aren’t working well, you feel frustrated about that and you’d literally throw your computer over the window. When it happens, take a step back and detach from anything that links to the situation. Going outside will help you stay positive and on top of that you’ll come up with a good plan to overcome your obstacle. It’ always helps me.
Why is that? Our brains have at least 2 modes of operating:
- The focused mode – when you are performing tasks and you concentrate on a particular problem
- The wandering mode – in this mode our mind receives thoughts, is able to bring creative ideas, it can imagine different things, just like dreaming without constraint. Being too much in the focused mode depletes the brain energy, that’s why it’s important to switch to this mode after a while
Guess in which mode I was in the above pic 😜
5. Play music, don’t quite listen to it
Don’t overuse this one. Many people work with music because, I think, it’s deeply rooted in our genetics and can greatly improve productivity if used correctly:
- Don’t turn it too loud as it will distract you.
- Play music in your headphones if there’s background noise or you don’t want to disturb anyone, otherwise use a speaker to avoid earache
- If you get an earache because of the headphones it means you need a break. Or your volume was too high
- Avoid to watch music videos on your secondary screen. It’s easy to get distracted by the glamorous fancy jackets or flamboyant short mini-skirts swinging and wiggling over there.
As for the music genres, what you play is up to what you like: I love rock’n’roll but it doesn’t help me focus. Psytrance helps me work under pressure with deadlined tasks then it throws my brain into overdrive. Most of the time I go for deep house, blues or eurodance.
Everybody has their own way
Everybody is different, so what works for someone, might not work for somebody else. These are the top 5 things I brought to your attention that really help me and take part in my work rituals everyday. I hope you will find them useful and send me more tips that are useful to you. Happy and productive labor!
Thanks for reading, I hope you found this article useful and interesting. If you have any suggestions don’t hesitate to contact me. If you found my content useful please consider a small donation. Any support is greatly appreciated! Cheers 😉