My best tips for productive working from home

Here is my compilation of best tips, resources, and observations that are very useful when working from home. Especially helpful in this time during the Covid-19 pandemic.

The beginning of the day is in the evening

Every evening is a time to look back at what you have done and make a plan for tomorrow. It doesn’t matter what tomorrow is – a workday, a holiday or a holiday.

One of the most valuable methods that help me look back on what I have done is writing a diary. At the end of each day, I’m writing down, no more than 200 words of what I did. Even on days when productivity doesn’t seem to be high, there’s something to be found. It gives you a positive feeling at the end of the day, lets you analyze your journal entries in the long run and get to know yourself better.

It is important to make a plan for the next day. This will allow you to get more clarity on the part of the future that you are in control of and start tomorrow’s journey without delay. Just like warming up before physical activity, a plan can start with a relatively easy-to-do task that helps to stimulate thinking.

Such planning may also be carried out to other future needs – how to dress to eat …

Work from the fridge

The workplace must be such as to achieve the best possible result.

For me, it’s arranged, clean, and without any extra elements that might distract me from goals. The day begins in the evening, and that’s when it is desirable to do the cleaning and equipping. One of the problems that this approach helps to address is a distraction. A flower on the windowsill, at the beginning of the working day, may ask for it to be watered, and such distractions can be placed one after another. Better to deal with them the night before.

Ventilate the work area regularly during the day as air quality can affect cognitive abilities. Money can be spent on a variety of air quality measuring instruments that will help you understand it in digits. But sometimes things don’t need to be complicated – regular venting of space is free when opening the window.

Your plan is like a map in the sea of work

Just like a ship heading to a port, you have to reach your goal in your work, and the plan serves just like a map to achieve it. How do I stick to it?

Too frequent stroking and poking of a smartphone will bother you. It is helpful for me to leave the essential sound signals, and to place the smartphone further than at arm’s length. The use of a smartphone for entertainment purposes can, therefore, be used as a reward after work has been done.

A smartwatch can also distract from the plans. It is desirable to make him less smart or to use a wristwatch that is designed only for essential – time management.

I use Casio Pathfinder every day and have a very useful time management function – a small beep at the beginning of every new hour. After that beep, I arrange my thoughts and see if I’m following my plan. Sometimes I’m fascinated by something not very important to the job, and such a small restart is very helpful.

I assume that emails can be disturbing and make working day chaotic. It should not be left behind. In that case, you have to figure out a solution to this problem. You may need to set a specific time for e-mails.

Why are you so sad, cow? If you are sad, who will give the milk? /Latvian poet M. Čaklais/

When I started working from home, there was a feeling that something was not right. Something is wrong. Something out of the ordinary. It worries and even interferes. All you have to do is understand yourself and learn what is behind it. It is harder than it sounds.

My feeling of anxiety was like not going to school. You’ve been to a certain place day in the day, and now you’re home. Finally, it was amusing.

Sometimes you don’t want to go deeper or have more important tasks to do. By recognizing your unwanted feelings, you can deal with them by replacing them with a different activity. For example, a couple of deep breaths might be a helpful, pre-planned reaction to anger.

Fitness or fatness

Physical activity provides many benefits, but one is quite simple and useful – a sense of accomplishment. When you do physical activity in the morning, the day can start with satisfaction, and unplanned events are less disturbing than with evening training. I’m not a morning bird myself and could sleep even 12 hours a day, but in 3 months I managed to get used to morning training.

Physical activity can vary. One resource I can recommend is the YouTube channel Athlean-X and this home workout.

Don’t want to, but I should

Sometimes before you do, it is clear that it will be difficult.

As you lie down in bed in the morning and hear the alarm, a question will creep in your head: “Maybe I sleep anyway? No big deal if I don’t run or exercise this morning.”. Therefore, I have already prepared answers to such struggles. This is predictable and I don’t have to think why to do something or not, because the answer is clear.

I didn’t use the alarm snooze feature because it never helped.

It promotes a habit of procrastination and reduces the feeling of being in control of your day. The use of SNOOZE means that I a failed test of willpower. If you’re afraid to sleep, then the alarm clock at the other end of the room might be helpful.

Books to read after working from home

This article contained only a couple of my most important observations and suggestions, which may be useful in working remotely from home, but there are a lot more on the subject.

For example, quality of sleep. I might suggest you not burn a candle from both ends – go late to bed and get up early. The rest is very described well in this book.

Why We Sleep

Rework – a book that will help enrich your vision of various business problems.
Mark Cuban has said about this book: “If given a choice between investing in someone who has read ‘Rework’ or has an MBA, I’m investing in ‘Rework’ every time.”.

This book was very useful for me to better understand the management side.

Extreme Ownership: How U.S. Navy SEALs Lead and Win

Two books that can help you understand yourself a little better.

The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck: A Counterintuitive Approach to Living a Good Life

Everything is F*cked: A Book About Hope

With reading books can be the same as physical activity – without plan and commitment, it can be delayed and reached until nothing has been read. Therefore, it is useful to schedule a half-hour or hour a day when you can read without interruption.

I hope this will be useful for a successful and productive work from home during this coronavirus outbreak and further.

Further reading: Dynamic Power BI map visualization with coronavirus data