Through the pandemic, we all appear to have become overnight experts when it comes to procrastination. The number of innovative tools and techniques I’ve come across that somehow play the system of ‘being watched’ is astonishing (and also educational, but for legal purposes, I have zero interest in these measures). From people attaching their mouse to a moving fan to keep their computer monitor on and active, to keyboards being coded to appear like they’re continuously typing away, there’s a range of options!
As someone who lives in Melbourne and is currently still trudging through the world’s longest lockdown, I’m not going to lie and say that working from home is easy. There are plenty of distractions and it took me a good few weeks to find a routine and stick to it. Even then, we’re all bound to have days where absolutely nothing is getting done and often, you just need a hard reset — kind of like the IT department’s best advice, “Have you tried turning it off and on again?”
Here are a few tips I’ve used in the past to keep me going at work (from home):
1. Sort your workplace
One of the most important things to do initially is set up a zone or space that you can associate with work. I started with assigning myself to a specific corner on our dining table until I finally decided to invest in a desk. Having one space to come to every day really helps build into a productive routine. Try to avoid eating at your desk — take some time out, even if it’s just 10-15 minutes to get some food in, away from your desk. Getting frequent breaks in is essential so you can come back, sit down, and concentrate on work. On Hassl, our wellbeing feature reminds us to take quick mindful breaks, which could be anything from walking around for 30 seconds to doing a desk stretch.
2. Drink some water
For the longest time, my sibling convinced me that drinking water before bed helped make you sleepy. Obviously, me being the gullible fool, believed him and ended up losing precious sleep for a whole year before I decided to google it for myself. But on the bright side, my devious melon of a sibling did prove that hydrating yourself actually does help keep you refreshed.
I normally have an app to help track the amount of water I drink in a day, to ensure I’m staying on track with hydration (it has changed my skincare game forever). If you’re one of those people who struggle to increase their daily water intake, consider getting some healthy fruit infusions to help sip on water through the day. Here are some more tips for those wanting to drink more water!
3. Change up the music
Mood music is definitely a thing. I recently read an Author’s acknowledgement that talked about how she would’ve never been able to finish her novel without going back to a set playlist that she associated with scenes in her book…so clearly, we’re all on to something here. Personally, I could never have a set playlist for writing because it changes with every single piece I write as well as the day’s mood.
Currently, I’m vibing to a new K-Pop collaboration because I find that listening to another language while I’m writing in English doesn’t interrupt my train of thought. It also helps me tune out my surroundings when needed, to really help me get in my zone. If you’re more into ambient office noises though, check out Sound of Colleagues that was created as a result of the pandemic’s working from home restrictions (the office dog sound bites are my favourite — although I’ve heard our office dog over Zoom so far and he is much much louder, sorry Oban, ily).
4. Move the body with some stretches
When you’re working remotely, the one thing we’ve all noticed is that there’s no real ‘shutting off’ from work. There’s no boundary between home and the workspace and it can lead to longer work hours, less frequent breaks and as a result…really bad posture. If I started a workplace bingo that targets how many times people say, “My neck is a bit ache-y today” or “My wrists need a stretch”, there’d be easy wins all around.
As a result, we’ve started doing a bit of a Stretch Club every afternoon to break away from our desks and do a proper 15-minute stretch together. Another agency we work with does an intense hour-long yoga session every week that really works well for them. There’s plenty of options and as mentioned above, sometimes just taking advice from our Hassl Wellness feature to do a quick 30-second stretch makes all the difference.