Working from home? Not being able to concentrate anymore? Watching TikToks the whole morning? I feel you. While it has plenty of good things, being productive isn’t always easy when working from home. But I got you! I’m currently on lockdown and working from home most of the time and in this post, I’m going to guide you through my routines and tips and tricks to stay productive when doing home office. Let’s get ✨ done!
If your more of a visual person, here’s the YouTube video for this post!
Before I start let me just make a quick disclaimer – remember that during these times you don’t have to hustle your face off nor feel that you have to be motivated all the time. If you feel that you need to slow down, just do it if you can and take this time to focus on what makes you happy and process what’s going on. Personally I feel that being productive and distracted helps me, but you do you!
Nourish to flourish
I cannot stress this enough: so that you have a productive and motivated day you have to nourish yourself. Not only for the vitamins, minerals, energy, and macronutrients, but also so that your distractions and cravings are minimized when you’re on the flow. It’s so much easier to stay focused than to restart your workflow again, and each time you stop to get something to eat, you have to restart what you’re doing once again. And this switch-on and switch-off is also an energy waster. So eat enough! Eat balanced and nourishing meals and some snacks composed of all the nutrients and full of vitamins and minerals – that leave you satisfied enough for you not to get hungry for at least 3 hours. And the more satiated you are, the fewer cravings you will probably feel and the fewer thoughts about the food you’ll probably have. But!! Eating enough doesn’t mean eating so much that you feel stuffed and without energy. And if your goal is to be productive you really want to avoid that sluggishness and sleepiness you feel after a heavy meal. So as we say in Portugal “no meio está a virtude” (virtue lays in the middle). Oh and don’t forget your hydration, if you’re dehydrated your mood, memory, and concentration levels get considerably worse. So, drink your water either by having plain water, infused waters, smoothies, soups… Anything you enjoy, as long as you drink it!
Prepare your workspace
The next step is so also so easy but still fundamental. It is to prepare your workspace prior to starting to work. You want to eliminate all of the distractions you might have during your work time. For example, you want to have water next to you so you won’t have to get up in order to get it. Also, you want to have everything on hand, like hard drives, pens, paper, so you don’t have to get out of that environment and mental space. So my routine is to clean up any distractions (even on the desktop), light up a candle and turn on a playlist, bring water and everything I need next to me, and turn on my blocking apps. And my phone, unless I really really really need it, stays in another room or at least somewhere far away enough so that I get too lazy to get up and pick it up.
Set the mood
Do you also feel a huge difficulty to engage, but as soon as you enter the flow, doing your work becomes a “no-brainer”? I feel this so often! It is extremely difficult to enter the flow, that state in which everything runs perfectly, in which you are so engaged in your work that no distractions stop your thinking… And it is in this state that we produce most of our excellent work. Getting into this state is not always easy, but there are certain conditions that can help. Having a specific playlist to work with, for example, makes your brain associate those songs with that state, and you’ll end up getting there more easily… Another thing that helps me a lot is to start producing something… anything! For example, I’ll draw for a bit, or write a few words, or make a list of things to do, or a list of topics I want to write about… Anything. And it works because it takes me out of the “consuming” mode and puts me into the “producing” mode. Try to find what works best for you and put it into practice every time you want to do deep work. This way you’ll have a little ritual of your own that will set your mind to do the work you need to do!
And speaking of blocker apps… Nowadays, with social media, we have developed a big problem which is the fear of missing out. You’re constantly being harassed with news, with notifications or memes in group chats and your brain is constantly waiting for new stimuli. And it’s so difficult to resist these temptations that lay right there on your phone and that you know can arrive at any minute. Sometimes I’ll mindlessly open Instagram just to see two new pictures from people I follow, and that’s ridiculous! So when I really want to concentrate and I don’t want my brain wondering if there’s something new on Instagram or Facebook or WhatsApp I just shut down everything. I turn on an app blocker on both my laptop and phone and I also turn on a Pomodoro. For the computer, I use the Cold Turkey Blocker and the Be Focused Pomodoro timer. This will also help you get out of that unconscious habit of opening the apps and scroll mindlessly. Remember that checking social media is a habit and sometimes you really don’t want to do it, it’s just something that you naturally and unconsciously do! So the app blockers are gonna be some of your best friends to stay productive.
I love this tool. This Pomodoro app I told you about, breaks my workday into 25-minute chunks separated by five-minute breaks. So in my focused work sessions, I work on one and only task, without any distractions, for just 25 minutes. After that, I have a 5-minute break, where I go and have a tea, water the plants, eat something… Something that doesn’t require my brain and something away from screens. After about four cycles, I take a longer break of about 15 to 20 minutes, where I go check my phone… I really challenge you to try it out. It’s so satisfying to complete the tasks and see your Pomodoro’s numbers increase on the app.
Switch it up
I’ve never been the kind of person who is able to work for hours and not get distracted… I feel that I need constant change and stimuli so I find it really hard to work hours on top of hours in the same space and on the same task. One thing that I find really works is to switch the environment or task. So right now I have about 4 or 5 spaces in the house where I can do computer work, and if I feel myself getting too distracted or not being able to work on that task any longer I switch place (or task). In the early morning, I’ll be in the living room, either on the floor or on the couch, and around lunchtime, when my bedroom gets direct sunlight I’ll be there, either on the bed or on an improvised workstation I made with a board and some stands. And I prefer to do it this way because it can be extenuating working from home, from the same space over and over again. If you can’t switch places for some reason you could add different elements to your space from time to time like a plant, a candle or simply changing your chair’s place. And try to figure out where you perform your best because for example there are people who can’t concentrate if they don’t have a view and others get too distracted by what’s going on outside. So just try and find what works best for you!
Hope you’ve enjoyed these tips and tricks and if you want to find more tips on nutrition, healthy habits, and productivity, join our community on Instagram, Facebook and, YouTube! Wishing you an amazing and productive week!