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With the announcement of the 21-day lockdown in South Africa, which started at midnight the 26th of March 2020, as well as the accepted practise of social distancing and self-isolation, more and more of us are now working from home. 

And let’s be honest – working from home is something many of us have been wanting to chat to our bosses about implementing more regularly. But working from home during a global pandemic can have a bit of a strange and uneasy feeling to it. 

Some of us are more productive when we work from home. And others? Not so much. And that’s okay. But at the end of the day, your boss (even if you are your own boss) expects you to get the work done. It might feel like the world is coming to a screeching halt, but that doesn’t mean that deadlines don’t exist. 

When you’re at work (at the office office), then your coworkers are likely to pose the greatest threat to interrupting your work. They might drop by your desk for a chat, invite you to lunch or even just frustrate you with their annoying desire to always spread the office gossip (I mean, no one really cares that Karen’s shoes don’t match her blouse, Judy). 

At your home office, you pretty much become your own worst enemy. That’s because your home is loaded with distractions. And, this one is kinda obvious, no one is watching or micromanaging you. Oh, and also, you don’t have to wear pants. 

That’s why we have put together a bunch of effective and simple tips to make working from home productive. 

1. Replace the time spent sitting in traffic with exercise

Your morning commute no longer exists – hooray! But that doesn’t mean you should spend that extra hour or so hitting snooze and tangled under the covers. Even if it is really cosy. 

Many freelancers and entrepreneurs have said that starting their day with some exercise helps their mind and body align to the day ahead. Exercise will leave you feeling energised, get the blood flowing and help you to focus throughout the day. 

When you wake up, go for a walk, put on a yoga YouTube video – click on the link to check out some of our favourites, or burn some calories with an at-home workout routine – no matter what you do, just make sure you get moving. 

2. Shower and get out of your PJs

It’s hard to get into work-mode when your outfit screams “bed mode.” 

We’re not saying you have to put on a suit and tie, or a pencil skirt and stilettos, but having a shower to freshen up and getting changed into clothes that aren’t your track pants and oversized hoodie is a great way to get your head in the game and start your day. 

After you are all fresh and clean, have a nutritious breakfast to kickstart your day and keep your mind focused on the task at hand. These Berry Overnight Oats are a great option to try!

3. Create a dedicated workspace

Now is the time to clear out some space in your house to create a dedicated working area. Instead of copping yourself up on your bed or on the couch, clearly differentiate between spaces of leisure and work in your house. This will help you to get into the right frame of mind. 

4. Turn off your social media notifications

Make it hard for yourself to get distracted by social media. Turn off your notifications for Instagram, Facebook and other social media platforms on your phone. Close all social media tabs open on your computer. 

5. Work when you are the most productive 

Figure out what hours you are most productive and create your work schedule around those times. Some people are more productive in the early hours of the morning or in the evening. Others might prefer to work during regular working hours (8 to 5 sort of thing) to stick to their accustomed routine. Find out what works for you and create your workload to fit into those productive hours. 

Expert tip: You can use your slower points of the day to get cracking on easier and possibly more logistical tasks and keep your more complicated work for when you are firing on all cylinders. 

Home Office

6. Create a to-do list at the end of every day for the following day

Before you finally call it a day, create a to-do list of what you need to get done the following day. Make use of digital project management systems like Monday (a super simple project management tool). 

7. Create playlists for certain tasks

Listen to music that matches the energy of your projects. For example, video game soundtracks are lyric-free and can help you focus on your work. 

Another great example (and one of our personal favourites) is lo-fi hip hop. Take a look at some other examples here

8. Meal prep 

There’s nothing more distracting than trying to find something to eat in a fridge that seems pretty bare. It’s a good idea to prep your meals for the week to minimise time spent in the kitchen when you could be getting important work tasks done. Plus, meal prepping will also help you ensure you stick to a healthy eating plan. 

9. Take regular breaks

It’s easy to get sucked into your work and forget to take breaks. This will undoubtedly lead to burnout. Some experts suggest setting a timer on your phone for every 50 minutes. When the timer goes off, get up from your desk, close your eyes and take 10 deep breaths. 

You can also use your breaks to complete a chore around the house, go for a walk (if you can leave your home) or even squeeze in a quick 10-minute yoga workout. 

10. Focus on one task at a time

Multitasking is not going to help you get your work done. The more you attempt to complete various tasks in parallel, the more energy you have to invest in just tracking your task and keeping things in order. When you focus on one task at a time, you can then redirect your mental and physical energy on being more productive. 

Follow these top tips to get your work done effectively while working from home! 

Gemma Oberholzer

About Gemma Oberholzer

I guess you can say I'm a serial self-improver. Since I was a kid I can remember being weirdly thrilled at the idea of learning something new and figuring out how to use that new found knowledge to better myself. This perpetual learn-grow itch eventually lead me to the field of Health and Wellness and it's here I've been, fascinated for the last 8 years of my study and work life. From Human Life Scientist and learning the mechanics of physiology and intricacies of metabolic biochemistry, to Food and Nutrition Scientist where I deepened my understanding of diet and it's key role in human performance and health. Geared with this comprehensive education and better appreciation for human health, I've since been able to practically apply this in my career through the fields of research, product development, brand management and marketing. In 2018, I was finally able to bring all these learnings together and so my passion project, WellBe&Co, was born. WellBe&Co is a personal and corporate wellness company specializing in easy-to-implement, lifestyle-focused nutrition, training and health solutions. It's here that I've gained invaluable insights into the human-side of the health and wellness industry in a way that has enabled me to provide relevant content and value-adding services to individuals and companies alike and live out our mission to build communities that know better and grow together through better health.

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