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How to Work (Productively!) from Home

Updated: Jun 22, 2020

Working at home can be hard. And with so much craziness going on in the world, it may be difficult to find perspective on why being productive actually matters, especially being so far away from school or work. That’s why we have put together a number of recommendations on how to be as productive as you can possibly be while working from home.

1. Take breaks Whether you walk into the kitchen to get a snack, quickly step outside for a breath of fresh air, or even lay down for a power nap, taking breaks can be incredibly effective. When you have been working on one thing for quite a while, there is a certain point where your work actually becomes counterproductive. That’s why taking breaks is so important. It allows your mind to rest from the task at hand, and when you return you usually have a burst of energy as well as some fresh new perspectives.

2. Have a dedicated workplace It can be a desk, dining room table, or even couch, but it is very important to have a dedicated workplace. It is also important that this workplace is not your bed. Psychology studies have shown that doing work in your bed makes it difficult to fall asleep at night; this is because your bed has been designated as the place that you sleep. Similarly, if you create a designated workspace, you will start to associate doing work and being productive with this location. 3. Make a to-do list, and dedicate specific times to specific tasks This is an effective method for getting work done whether you are at home or not. Rather than sitting down and starting to work on a couple different things over a few hour period, try organizing your tasks by importance and dedicating specific time frames to the things you need to work on. For example, when you sit down at your designated workplace, ask yourself what you need to do today. Let’s say that you have to finish your Finance homework, practice Arabic Drums, and complete a reading for Philosophy class. Organize these tasks by which is the most important to get done. Once you have done this, assign specific times to work on them, ranked by importance, “I am going to work on my Finance homework from 3:00–4:00, practice Arabic Drumming from 5:00–6:00, and finish my Philosophy from 6:00–7:30, with ten minute breaks in between.” You will be surprised by how much this improves efficiency. If you are like me, without defining a specific time to complete a task, I end up spending way too much time on it. 4. Keep it all in perspective This is an absolutely unprecedented time, but that doesn’t mean that things don’t matter anymore. Markets have traditionally bounced back from every downturn, books and higher education have always been the best way to increase knowledge, and most importantly, the world is still spinning. On the other side of this, working from home has put a dent in our flow and has made many of us even more busy than before, this can cause a large amount of stress. It’s also easy to feel this stress from all the uncertainty of this situation. “Will I return to school in the fall?” “Will I have a job over the summer (if at all)?” “Is this ever going to end?!” It’s important to remember to keep things in perspective and remember what is really important: family, the environment, supporting each other, a positive mindset, and making the most out of your time. It’s impossible to say how this situation will evolve, but it’s best to prepare for any outcome, to remember that the world is going to keep on spinning, and not to stress yourself out too much.

5. Spend time every day doing something you love As I have mentioned, working from home can be hard. It can be taxing on your mental health not leaving the same place for a prolonged amount of time, and not everybody is lucky enough to have a home environment where they feel safe and comfortable. That is why it is so important to spend at least 30 minutes everyday doing something for yourself, to make the most out of your home environment as you possibly can. If you are into art, do some art. If you like working out, go work out (there are countless Youtube videos of home workouts you can do with absolutely no equipment). Whatever it is that you like to do, make sure that you schedule some time for it into your day- it’s incredibly important for your mental health.

6. Bonus Tip! Meditate Speaking of mental health, meditation is one of the best things you can do for it. I have been meditating for nearly five months now and I can confidently tell you that my life has changed for the better ever since I started. Meditation is a wonderful way to deal with any negative emotions, a lack of focus, and even boredom (believe it or not). But don’t just take it from me, check out this article titled 18 ways how meditation can really change one’s life. People meditate in many different ways, and there are various methods which have proven to work well for different people. I use a mobile app called Waking Up with Sam Harris. I would highly recommend this app. Sam Harris is a well renowned author, philosopher, neuroscientist, and podcast host; and his meditations are genius. The first five lessons are free, but then you have to pay for an upgrade. However, I have heard stories of students sending Sam emails and getting free subscriptions, so if you enjoy the lessons, definitely give it a try! If you enjoyed these tips for working from home feel free to like, share, or comment on this post. Also feel free to comment on any other suggestions for working from home and what has worked well for you. Hope that everybody is able to remain safe, healthy, and productive during these crazy times!

Credit Rhea Saggi

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