If you work from home, being productive and staying motivated can be a challenge. Once Daylight Savings Time ended at the beginning of November and the days got shorter and grayer, it’s been a definite challenge for me. Here are some of my strategies on how to be productive while working from home!
How to Be Productive While Working from Home
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Studies have shown that people tend to be more productive at work on rainy days, particularly if they don’t think about nice weather at all. I haven’t done any scientific experiments here, but as someone who works from home, I believe I experience the opposite problem. When the skies are gray or it’s raining, I want to curl up in bed and sleep rather than get work done. But, that isn’t an option.
If you feel like you’re fighting yourself to be productive while working from home on gloomy days, there are a few ways I’ve found to combat that crawl-back-into-bed feeling!
Get all the plants
I don’t have the biggest home workspace, but you had better believe it’s covered in plants. A study published in the HortTechnology journal found that people with plants on their desk reported feeling less stress and had a lower resting heart rate.
Something about having plants on my desk makes me feel less cooped up and more motivated to do work. If you don’t have a green thumb (I definitely don’t), you can grab a succulent or a cactus to brighten up your space. If your desk is not well-lit, look for plants that can survive in low light. I have a “Combo Plant,” which has pink and white coloring, a Berry Allusion Arrowhead Plant, and a Peace Lily in my home office.
Put your desk facing a window, if possible
This feels a bit counterintuitive to being productive when gray skies make you feel gloomy, but it’s made a big difference for me. When quarantine started and I was working from home, my desk faced my wall. I thought it made sense as a way to limit distractions. Boy, was I wrong.
When I moved my desk to face the window, I never looked back. I feel much more energized when I’m able to work with the outdoors in the background (even when it’s a gloomy day). My window faces a big field with lots of cows who occasionally stop by to stare at me – extra fun.
Make your office space something that you love!
One of the biggest advantages to working from home, in my opinion, is the option to really personalize your workspace. Even if your space is limited, you can add small elements that make you excited to “go to work.”
There are plenty of options here. You could change the paint color in your office. Maybe add some fun photos or quote prints that make you feel happy. One or two small “trinkets” can make your desk more inviting – and when I want to sit at my desk, I always get more work done.
Set the mood!
This tip sounds a little funny… but you've got to set the mood for work!
The first thing I do before I start work every morning is either light a candle or turn on my diffuser. Lately, I prefer to use my diffuser because I’ve found some energizing essential oil combinations that keep me motivated during the day (lemon and peppermint are a great combo; I also love Sunshine Spice from Eden’s Garden).
The next thing I do is set up some background noise! I choose what I’m going to listen to according to what I’m doing that day. If I’m writing or editing content, I love putting on the Calmed By Nature YouTube Channel on my TV. My current favorite video is Cozy Fall Coffee Shop Ambience. It’s eight hours long so you never have to touch it again and it’s the perfect background noise. The channel has lots of seasonal content (I’m just not ready to transition to the Christmas videos yet). If I’m creating graphics or doing creative work, I put on a chatty podcast. Office Ladies is an easy listen if you enjoy The Office. I also love How I Built This with Guy Raz for some motivation.
Give yourself some flexibility
Let’s be real – one of the best things about working from home (and why I love it so much more than I thought I would) is the flexibility! You don’t have to be stuck at your desk all day if it’s not serving you and your work well. It might actually increase your productivity if you allow yourself a few hours to work on your couch or even in your bed. I try not to do this often, but some days I will work in my living room for a few hours before lunch and spend the afternoon at my desk.
Listen to your brain! If sitting at your desk feels miserable that day, set some guidelines and move your workspace. Your productivity might just increase when you’re looking at a different space for awhile.