How to: Work Productively at Home

There have been a lot of mixed feelings surrounding school closures. Lots of you may feel excited at the prospect of not having to go to school, but the reality of working from home may hit sooner than you think. It is expected that education goes on as normal, but online and from your own home.

For some people, finding the motivation to keep 'normal' life going while isolating at home will come quite naturally. However, for others, this may be more of a struggle and they may find themselves falling victim to procrastination and going stir crazy.

But never fear, with a little bit of self-control and a proper routine, you can adapt quite easily to this new temporary way of life. Imagine how great it'll feel going back to school full of new knowledge and acing tests.

1. Do Some Morning Exercise

Waking up and doing some form of exercise will really help to wake you up and set the tone of the day. The type of exercise you choose is really down to personal preference. You may want to try something new and track your performance over the weeks or stick to something you've already tried and tested.

Yoga is really great for mindfulness, well-being and strength (have a look on YouTube at Yoga with Adriene). Pilates is a good stress-reliever and can help to tone up your muscles (Blogilates is a fab account). Alternatively, HIIT workouts can get your heart pumping, burn calories and boost your energy for the day (The Body Coach has plenty of YouTube videos to follow for this).

2. Eat a Healthy Breakfast

There is nothing that will make you feel more sluggish throughout the day than a bad breakfast or even worse, no breakfast. A healthy breakfast will set you up for a day of work and will feed your brain with lots of good nutrients.

Just remember that healthy doesn't mean boring. You don't have to slave through a bowl of dry brown cereal, get inventive and try new things. Some tasty ideas include; overnight oats, porridge, granola and yoghurt, eggs, avocado toast and smoothies. Why not share your go-to breakfast on social media to give others some inspiration?

3. Get Ready

Sometimes when you know you're going to be at home all day, staying in your pyjamas seems like an attractive option. If it was just for a day and you were planning a pampering duvet day, you go for it, but when you need to be productive this isn't a great idea.

Making sure you have a shower, do your hair and dress as though you were going out (slippers are the exception) puts you in the right headspace for working. Pyjamas are associated with rest and sleep, making us feel less proactive and more drowsy. A good rule of thumb is, if you would be embarrassed to answer the door to your school teacher then you probably aren't ready to face the day!

4. Separate Your Work From Your Home

If space allows, having your working area separate from your living area is a great way to zone in and out. If you are lucky enough to have a desk, set up your schoolwork there and if it is in your bedroom, make sure you pack away each night so you aren't left staring at it while you try to relax. If you don't have a desk, you could set up your kitchen or dining room table as a workspace.

If you start working from bed or eating at your work station, your day becomes blurred together and you will find yourself quickly becoming bored and unmotivated. By separating work from home you'll be more productive in your work time and more relaxed in your downtime.

5. Turn Off Your Phone During Working Hours

Having your phone on and next to you while you study can reduce productivity, so you end up spending more time working to get the same amount of work done. Turning your phone off and putting it out of sight will hugely increase your work quality.

Don't fall into the trap of, 'It's fine, I just won't go on it', as having your phone sitting next to you means you can still read messages as they come through and the temptation to check it and reply will break your focus just as much. If you work without a phone, you will end up having to spend much less time sitting at your laptop or reading through textbooks and will have more time for a proper, restful break.

6. Have Some Time Out

Working non-stop all day is neither productive or fun. You can actually get more done during the day by working less, ironically. If you focus on getting chunks of good quality work done, then you can reward yourself with a scheduled break. A nice way to do it is to work by your usual school day and take breaks when you usually would (maybe throw in another one, because treat yo' self).

The idea of a break is to take your mind off what you are doing, refresh your mind and, of course, to spend time doing something you enjoy. Why not go for a walk, make yourself a Greek frappe, read a book or watch an episode of your favourite TV show?

7. Have Lunch Outside

Choosing to have your lunch outside (if the British weather permits) is a nice way to escape from your workspace. Getting some fresh air will help you refresh for the afternoon and allow your head to clear. If you don't have a garden, even just sitting on your doorstep with a sandwich watching the world go by will give you a well-needed boost.

If you're isolating with your family, you may want to schedule your lunchtime so that you all have a break together. You can take it in turns to make lunch for each other and sit and eat it together to talk about your morning and give yourself a chance to have some time to munch and socialise.

8. Make a Daily Task List

Starting your working day by making a to-do-list can really help you make the most of a day. You can schedule in your breaks and make sure you have written down all of the tasks you need to complete. Once you've ticked everything off, you know you can switch everything off and chill out.

To give you a bit more incentive to tick things off, you could give yourself a reward each time you complete something. Maybe you get a sweet each time or an extra episode of a box set tonight or 10 minutes on social media. You know what motivates you, so set your rewards based around that (and stick to them, don't cheat yourself).

9. Facetime Friends

While you might not be able to go and see your friends, make the most of technology. Set a time in the day where you'll facetime your friend and have a catch-up. This could be for a short time during both of your breaks or for longer during the evening. Having a chat with your bezzie will really help to zone out and keep socialising.

10. Have a Bedtime Routine

Once you've finished your work for the day (and put everything out of sight), you can start to unwind. You should reserve some hobbies for the evening, maybe learning a new skill you've always fancied mastering or using a colouring book you haven't touched or watching your favourite YouTuber's latest video.

Towards the evening, you could watch a film or read a book. Some days you may want to head up to bed early so that you can have a bit of a pamper before you go to sleep. Maybe giving your hair some TLC, painting your nails or doing your full skincare routine. Try to wrap up your phone convos and social media scrolling half an hour before you go to bed and relax your mind with a bit of reading or yoga to make sure you get a great sleep, ready to face the next day.

Have you got any other tips that have helped you stay productive at home? Leave them in a comment or tag us on social media!

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