Hello everyone! Welcome back to part 2 of my 12-part series! If you haven’t read my previous post I suggest you do that before reading this one. Just to make sure you are all caught up. The previous post speaks about choosing a dedicated area for your home office which is crucial in so many ways. While this series is just me sharing a personal project from my time in college. I hope you get a lot out of it. Without further adieu today’s topic is…..
Practicing Efficiency at Home.
One of the issues some of us face while working from a home office is distraction and sluggishness. We become comfortable in our surroundings. And perhaps are doing a lot of work curled up with a blanket on the couch. And mind you this is ok some days. But it isn’t ideal for continuous efficiency. Some people may begin to struggle with a lack of separation between their workspace/home office and their home.
Along with that, some people struggle with, being able to separate themselves from their work to have some much-needed downtime. I personally struggle with this. Even when I’m playing on my phone, I am looking to gain something substantial from it. Whether it be for personal or professional growth. I’m still doing what I would deem something productive instead of just taking a break and relaxing.
One thing that I have started doing to help with my efficiency is waking up early. With that, getting to bed at a regular time too. My body wakes up early for me without my control. I have learned to take advantage of this as I am usually awake after my body’s 5 am wake-up call. On days I realize that going back to sleep simply isn’t in the cards for me, I stay out of bed and start my day extra early.
It helps to have a bit of a routine. As my daughter is still usually sound asleep when I wake up, I pull out my textbook and turn my reading lamp on. This is when I get ahead on the reading for my elective. The chapters are very long. I have realized that the more I start my day early, the less stressed I am in the mornings. It’s like I am less stressed because I have already caught some momentum to the day. Momentum really helps me keep positive throughout the day.
Another thing that I found helps is still treating your home office like a workplace. And bringing your best professional self to the table. Or rather your home office. I did this a lot more during my first and second semesters. Part of my routine would be putting on a bit of makeup and getting dressed in a very nice outfit. It felt great and helped me feel confident during my first year.
Structure in the Office.
Something I have done consistently is structure my day. Even when it was summer break and I had fewer courses going on. It was always crucial that I spent at least 30 minutes weekly looking at what lies ahead. I have a plethora of daily planner printables. I keep a few different kinds on hand because my needs from them are always changing.
Whilst structuring my day or looking at how it’s currently being structured, I like to try to throw in 10 minutes where I get to just sit there and do nothing. It usually doesn’t happen. But it’s a little bit of extra time that is budgeted in. Kind of like I have scheduled a break for myself. Going out during the day helps. It’s more about making sure you take a break. Taking a walk in even just the fresh air, can really change your mood. It gives your mind and body a chance to really switch gears from work mode to life mode.
Another important thing is to be mindful of what your productive times are and take advantage of them. My productive times have fluctuated a lot. Sometimes I’m more productive at night if I have the energy to stay awake. Sometimes I’m more productive in the mornings when I’m waking up early. I think this is because my body and my mind are becoming fully alert.
Practicing Mindfulness has had its benefits too. Because things are constantly changing. And I’m mindful of that. I would suggest that it opens the door to many positive changes. It has for me. Working when you’re most productive and when your brain is most active and feeling most creative will enhance your abilities. It will also allow you to structure your workday around these “power hours” as I like to call them.
Along with having a structure to your workday, it’s important to set yourself boundaries. Along with work hours and clear breaks from the home office. This is another way to help ensure that you know you’re able to take that work hat off and transition into your home hat. I also have set a couple few ground rules with my family. I have childcare when needed. And when my family is home the door Is closed during crucial work hours so that I can focus. But let’s be realistic, childcare is not always available. (Stay tuned for a post all about working with the kids at home!) So I have also learned to manage getting work done while having my daughter is downstairs tangled up in my work day.
I like to plan ahead as much as I can. It helps that I have a five-year monthly planner that I use religiously. I use this to keep track of all my appointments, exams and whatnot. It definitely helps me keep things on track. I also have a meal planner as well. And If know it’s going to be a busier week, I can sort of think ahead. I’ll plan what I’m going to eat saving me more time during the day. Although usually I just ended up ubering some food to my house. Bad Idea in the long run.
Another thing I like to do during my workday or school day is limit my cell phone usage. I also limit my social media usage. I usually have Facebook open to screen the messages going through in the group chat. I’m an administrator for the Facebook group that a classmate and I have for our class. Kind of like a collective social area for anyone that has questions about the homework. Or anyone that is having issues logging into the zoom class. I only answer extremely important text messages and I only take extremely important phone calls. Everything else that is personal can wait during working hours. This is where boundaries come in.
Another time I am caught touching my phone is to turn off alarms and timers. One suggestion I found on tik Tok was to set a bunch of timers for yourself throughout the day. This helps me keep on the ball and switch tasks when need be. Sometimes switching tasks can be a bit challenging especially when my office is at home.
I have been doing it for months now, probably since May or June 2021. In the mornings to get things going smoothly when my daughter wakes up. I have a timer that goes off every 5 to 10 minutes. This ensures I’m dropping her off at daycare on time. This also ensures I am doing everything I need to do in the morning. And it also ensures that I am keeping consistency and routine for my daughter.
Amazon Echo Dot for the Office
Another way I use alarms in my day is by using assistive artificial intelligence technology. Or my Echo dot. I start Elayna’s day off by playing her current favourite song which is Good Mood by Adam Levine. It’s a good song that kind of brightens my day as well so it puts me in a good mood. Depending on how much energy I have I will give Elayna some extra cuddles. Or we will have a bit of a light dance party to get our juices flowing for the day. Echo assists in this part of our routine as well as checking the weather. Living in Canada the weather is always changing and with a young child it’s extremely important to make sure they’ve dressed appropriately for the changing weather. Echo has even begun to recognize Elayna’s voice and questions. She loves using the Amazon devices in out house!
I like to use alarms and timers on echo by verbally asking her during classes or tests to help keep my mind on time while my brain does all the work. If something pops into my head that I will need to remember a day or two from now I can set a reminder for it verbally and it doesn’t take me away from the task currently at hand. I can add things to my shopping lists. Whether I make the purchases through amazon or just reference the list and purchase elsewhere.
One of the things I have loved about the pandemic is how much light it has brought to the fact that we haven’t been leading healthy lives and work styles. Working remotely has allowed me and others to make so many healthy lifestyle changes. It’s allowed me to eat healthier and on a more consistent routine than I would be otherwise. It allows me to accomplish more during my workday. It also gives me the ability to lead a healthier sleep routine. Which is pertinent to anyone’s health and functioning. I have learned the hard way that if I stay up too late one night, I will most definitely feel it in the morning. Ultimately it allows for a healthier routine from a less hectic lifestyle.
Another thing I do is have a list of lists and most importantly a to-do list of a couple of kinds. I have a to-do list for all my homework for each class. Another one that keeps track of the main things I have going on every week. Like phone calls that need to be returned, and emails that need to be sent. Any tutoring appointments I have for the school and any medical appointments I have coming up as well. I also keep a separate running to-do list for all the smaller miscellaneous things. Things that sort of don’t fit into a category and aren’t crucial to the smooth running of every day in my current situation.
In the summer and last year, I did a lot more regular exercise. I really enjoyed this and found that it really helped increase my creativity. It always left me feeling very “ready to go” even after a short little workout session. I do have a little bit of in-office workout things that I like to use. I have a weighted Hola hoop which is fun to use between classes. It’s nice to just throw it on and a song on my echo and it’s a lightweight full-body workout. I find that it also releases energy from the body like we did when we were kids. which helps mentally.
I also have a plethora of resistance bands and some 5-pound weights. Fabit fit fun also sent me some ankle weights in my box for Christmas. Along with a little exercise ball and a tubed resistance band. They’re an interesting way to mix it up sometimes.
When you put all these things together, you can really find a way to tackle your day. And in the best way possible. It’s best to practice and try a few to see what works best for you. You will really start to see your productivity go up. Sometimes taking a break can feel really counterintuitive to your productivity goals but sometimes that break is exactly what you need.
Well, That is it for today’s post. That’s all I wrote for my project during the productivity and efficiency section. I hope you enjoyed reading my work. I can’t wait to share the next post with you. Remember while you’re waiting you can always check out what I have been up to on my Instagram!.
Alas, for now, you can take a peek at one of my other exciting posts. Thank you so much for stopping by I really appreciate it! and if you’d like to stop by again make sure to hit that follow button on your way out! I would love love love to see my followers grow!
What have you done to help your efficiency and productivity while working at home? Let me know in the comment section below.