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Work From Home: Hacks To Stay Productive During Quarantine

Posted by on August 1, 2020 in Stuff with 0 Comments

It’s lockdown, Covid-19 edition. Your friends are telling you about learning a new language, picking up a guitar, learning how to bake, finishing a thesis, getting twice as much work done. Heck, Isaac Newton came up with gravity while tucked away in quarantine.

And you? You’re happy if you get out of bed before midday and don’t spend the rest of the time watching Netflix. The constant reminders of super productive people on social media just make you want to crawl back into bed.

Don’t worry. You’re not alone. These hacks will help take you from Facebook and the latest YouTube video, to over delivering and getting things done early.

Set Up a Productive Environment

Working on your kitchen table. Writing that report while the kids are watching TV in the same room. Catching up on your emails while in bed. If you do any of these, it’s no wonder you can’t get things done.

If you want to be productive, you need the right work environment. That space needs to scream productivity, not be an extra amongst a bunch of other distractions. Here’s how you create that perfect work environment:

  • Get those work clothes on. Yes, you’ve heard it before. And that’s because it works. Don’t stay in your pyjamas, put on your work clothes. Even your regular day to day stuff will do.
  • Get the lighting right. Subtle lighting is for chilling or a romantic dinner in. Bright is for focus and productivity. Get some smart lights and control the environment accordingly.
  • Noise cancelling headphones. Some of you have to share space. Get noise cancelling headphones and disappear into your own productive world.
  • Ergonomic chair. You spend hours a day sitting at your chair. Invest in a decent ergonomic one. Your back will thank you.
  • Remove temptations. It’s easier to ignore temptations when they’re not there. Don’t waste valuable motivational energy to ignore social media, sugary snacks, or your TV. Get them out of your work area.

Alter Your Sleep Routine

Humans are not all wired the same. Yet managers usually want us in at 9am, no exceptions. This doesn’t work. If your boss doesn’t expect you to attend a Zoom call first thing in the morning, try changing up your sleep routine.

You see, every one of us has a slightly different body schedule. The preferences you have for when to sleep, when to work, eat, and chill. Michael J. Breus, sleep specialist, has identified 4 types: Lions, Bears, Wolves, and Dolphins (Bulletproof has a useful section covering these in detail).

The Bear is the most common. Bears follow the sun. They do their focus intensive tasks in the middle of the morning. That mid-afternoon slump? Bears all have it. The world is built for Bears.

Lions, they wake up early. We’re talking 5 or 6am without using an alarm clock. Lions are those crazy YouTubers that get everything done before most people have even taken the first sip of coffee.

The wolf, on the other hand, is nocturnal. They wake up late, but get ultra productive while most are on their way back home from work. Finally, Dolphins struggle to sleep and do their best work mid-morning right through the early afternoon.

Now, imagine if all four of these were to start work at 9am. Bears would flourish. Lions would have lost half of their working day. Wolves would struggle to get there on time.

You see the problem here? Figure out your chronotype and you’ll have energy you never knew you had.

Leverage Apps

When you work with apps, you need to find that sweet spot. You want the apps to help you, not overwhelm you or take over your life. Find those that will assist on those weak spots, don’t hit download just for the sake of it. Here are some good ones:

  • There are several versions, they all work the same. Work in 25 minute blocks, followed by 5 minutes of rest. During those 25 minutes you must work continually without a break.
  • Sleep tracking. Kinda a continuation of our sleep section above. Download the Sleep Cycle app or use a Fitbit and track your sleep. Fix what’s stopping you from getting a good rest.
  • Rescue Time. You may be too weak to resist Facebook and other time-sucking websites. Rescue Time blocks them for you. Setting up a few roadblocks can make a difference.
  • You need to track your to-dos, otherwise your brain will be a muddled mess. Asana is our favorite, but there are plenty of others.

Final Words: Don’t Put Pressure on Yourself

We want you to be productive, get the best out of yourself. That’s the whole point of this guide, helping those struggling with procrastination or just if you’re in a bit of a rut.

But a lot of people are struggling with the hyper version of “hustle culture” that has taken over. Glorifying being busy all the time has overtaken the actual point of being busy. You want to be productive for you. For your goals, needs, and, yes, personal improvement.

Don’t focus on productivity for the sake of it. Don’t think that if you’re not being productive, you’re failing. It’s not only unhelpful and potentially harmful for your mental health, but it’s also counterproductive. Ignore that pressure.

Covid-19 is one of those once-in-a-lifetime events (we hope, anyway). If you’re not as productive as you used to be, it’s cool. Try again tomorrow. Or the next day. You’ll find that removing that big pile of pressure from your shoulders will help you to get things done, without that inner psychological battle.

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