I work from home most days, and that’s not an easy way to live.
You have a ton of distractions for one thing (laundry, unwashed dishes and Jerry Springer).
And relaxing is even harder. When you decide to stop working for the day, your mind keeps on going. It doesn’t have the same work/life divide.
But there are 5 weird tricks that changed all that. Now I get three times as much work done – and relaxing is a lot easier, too.
If you work from home, give them a try. See if they help you.
1. Buy a heap of plain t-shirts
Outside, you have to be creative with your clothing choices.
But when you work from home, anything goes. So wear plain, simple clothes every day.
The more decisions you can automate, the more energy you have for important tasks.
Notice Barack Obama almost always wears a gray or blue suit.
“I’m trying to pare down decisions,” Obama explained to Vanity Fair. “I don’t want to make decisions about what I’m eating or wearing. Because I have too many other decisions to make.”
2. Meditate before and after your working day
I recommend 10 minutes in the morning and 10 minutes in the evening.
Meditation has been shown to activate a ‘relaxation response’. The heart rate and blood pressure drops, and the brainwaves are lowered. It works a bit like a ‘reset switch’ in the brain.
If you meditate on both sides of your working day, you create a mental boundary between your work life and home life. It’s easy to focus and easy to relax.
3. Do your most important task with your morning coffee
In the morning, your mind is calm and relaxed. It’s better equipped for problem solving and creativity.
Also, your day goes a lot smoother if it gets progressively easier.
When I first worked from home, I’d try and clear the small, easy jobs out the way first. I’d check emails and type up notes. Little did I know, I was squandering my most valuable time of the day – and wearing myself out.
So pour your morning coffee and don’t waste a minute getting to the big tasks of the day. It takes motivation at first. But it soon becomes a habit.
Eventually, you pour your coffee and get to work without thinking about it – even if you don’t feel particularly motivated.
4. Exercise during lunchtime
After a couple of hours working hard, it’s not unusual for the brain to get tired – perhaps a little restless.
This is a great time to exercise. Most office workers have to exercise in the morning or at night.
But exercise is a terrific way to boost productivity in the afternoon. You feel happier, more relaxed and you think more clearly.
You can use exercise as your tool when you need it most.
5. Check your emails a set number of times
When you work from home, there’s something you desperately crave…validation.
You’re alone. You need to hear people say you’re doing a good job. You need to feel connected. This can have you checking your emails all day.
Please resist the urge.
It takes a good 20 minutes to work your brain up to its highest gear. Those ‘quick email checks’ are a lot more damaging than they appear.
Give yourself a rule. I suggest three email checks a day. This forces you to space them out between each task.
6. Plan tomorrow at the end of today
By the end of today, you know what needs to be done tomorrow.
Write this down as a list – starting with the most important jobs. When you’ve finished your list, take a couple of minutes to visualise your day. Try to see it very clearly in your mind.
Tomorrow, you just have to get out of bed and follow your plan. If you’re 100% clear on what needs to be done, you’re far less likely to be distracted. You focus on each job, one at a time.
7. Go for a walk
When you finish work, it’s a good idea to go outside for a good 30 minutes or so.
You come back refreshed for the evening.
Don’t go for a walk to run errands or pick up groceries. Go for a walk for the simple reason that it’s nice to go for a walk.
You need your mind to switch off from work. Keep walking until it has calmed down.
Featured photo credit: Viktor Hanacek via picjumbo.com