By Anya Cooklin-Lofting
Falling into a less-than-ideal routine while working from home is unsurprisingly easy, especially over the winter. Long, dark mornings do very little to inspire early rising, pre-work jogging or green smoothie breakfasts while cool afternoons call for pantry raids and frothy coffees. The eradication of our commutes keeps us at our desks longer, eroding quality family time and racking up our Zoom time.
Cultivating a healthy lifestyle when you work from home is incredibly rewarding and by setting achievable goals, you can bring more fulfilment and productivity to each day. The key is to make and keep promises to yourself that helps to build self-trust, thus self-respect and a sense of pride in your day.
Here are a few tips for elevating your WFH schedule, prioritising a holistic attitude to your health and your productivity.
Keep Tabs on Your Overtime
It’s easy to work longer hours when there’s no rush to get home. Before the pandemic, leaving the office in the evening signalled the beginning of the race to hit that gym class, get back home, prepare dinner, squeeze in some wind-down time and get a full 8 hours of sleep. These days, we’re working smarter and using the time we save from our sofa-to-desk commute to tackle some life admin, get our endorphin fixes and pre-heat the oven. However, try not to fall into the trap of working overtime just because you can. If, like me, your dining table doubles as your desk, it’s important to keep tabs on the hours you spend there. If your choice of evening activities is a toss-up between binging a new series on Netflix or clearing your work inbox, why not try something new? Removing yourself from these patterns can help to curb the urge to burn the midnight oil.
Commit to Your Commute Time
Once you’ve put healthy boundaries in place around the time you spend at your desk, it’s time to look at how to enrich your spare time. Using your usual morning commute time to read, learn a new skill or language or get in a yoga session will set you up for a productive and happy day. Knowing that you’ve accomplished something before work, even if it’s just some time taken for yourself to think, provides a sense of ownership of your day. It’s easy to let work take over, so reclaiming some time before the workday starts is crucial.
Moving your body throughout the day will improve your concentration, keep you physically healthy and will contribute to a more positive mindset. You don’t have to join a running club or go to a spin class to feel the benefits. A lunchtime walk or a mid-morning stroll to the local cafe for a coffee will blow away the cobwebs. If your work diary is fit to burst with unending calls and Zoom meetings, why not take one or two of those calls outside in the garden or while you walk in the local park?
Coffee doesn’t count here! Make sure you have a glass of water on your desk at all times while you work from home. Not only does keeping hydrated help to keep organs functioning properly, but it also improves our cognition, our sleep quality and our moods. If you feel you need a reminder to drink more water throughout the day, why not invest in a beautiful glass carafe for a deskside visual cue?
Create an Inspiring Home Office Space
Finding inspiration and motivation in a plain, under-loved home office is next to impossible. Make sure your workspace, be it an entire study or a corner of the dining room table, makes you feel creative and confident. Houseplants make great deskfellows, as do framed family photographs, special stationery and a really lovely paperweight. Bring art, soft furnishings and good lighting into the mix and you have yourself a haven for the working hours that will keep stress levels low and cheerful industriousness at an all-time high.
Give Yourself Some Closure
At the end of the working day, it’s important to create physical distance between yourself and your laptop and other accoutrements of your employment. If your living room has taken on more of a multifunctional role since the beginning of the pandemic, ensure all signs of work are packed away neatly, ready for the morning. Dedicate a drawer to store your laptop, pens and notebooks to keep work out of sight and out of mind, allowing you to truly switch off in the evening. If you work from a dedicated study or office space, clear the space of clutter and close the door. You’ll thank yourself come the morning when you have fully decompressed and feel refreshed and ready to take on the next challenge…