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How To Stay Productive When Working From Home

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The key to staying productive is one of life’s greatest mysteries, and for many, the inability to separate work from their daily lives has always been an issue. Becoming caught up in the ideologies of career, being pressured to take equate our jobs with happiness, and responding to that pressure through the formulation of unhealthy, deteriorating habits has become so commonplace, it feels as if something isn’t quite “right” whenever we’re not pushing ourselves to the limits of sanity.

But the neverending grind has its relaxing moments — especially when you come to realize that the value of your mental and physical wellbeing should take precedence. Transitioning from a traditional workplace to an in-home work area has helped to illuminate that value. Gone are the days where confinement to a cubicle, enclosed workspace, or chaotic environment act as catalysts for boredom, disinterest, and unproductivity. Instead, working from your house, condo, apartment, or bedroom can offer a reprieve from the monotony; oftentimes, with a more positive connotation than negative. You no longer have to worry about that dreaded morning/evening commute, heading to the gym during your lunch break is easier than it’s ever been, and hopping onto a brief video call to clear up any deficiencies within a project, are all inherently great.

Despite our adoration of the work-from-home lifestyle, we have to remember that situational awareness is key. Complexities do arise. If we’re interested in remaining productive (and gainfully employed), we have to adhere to the same “structure” that we’ve carefully crafted in the traditional workplace. In short, working from home can be a blessing or a curse. Whether you’re an efficient employee who’s always a step ahead or a procrastinator who thrives under the pressure of that last-minute deadline, we’ve compiled a few quick tips to help you stay productive while in a work-from-home environment.

Find Your Routine

Structure Is Key

Scheduling has always been one of the most important aspects of a healthy workflow. Just because you’ve transitioned to a more comfortable work environment doesn’t change that fact. Projects, meetings, and multiple deadlines are all variables that contribute to burnout, especially when you’re having trouble regulating (and communicating) issues as they metastasize. Within the office, we remedy this by relying on a more structured environment. Morning meetings provide a basis for the day’s work, blocks of productivity are complemented by minor breaks, and lunch provides an “apex” that serves as the mile-marker for our ability to branch out into other projects, get ahead of schedule, or socialize with coworkers.

Working from home introduces a complex dynamic, especially in terms of the aforementioned. You’re no longer expected to be present at all times. Your morning and evening meetings, while brief, are a modicum of what they once were. And your coworkers? Well, let’s just say that if your team’s favorite messaging app wasn’t around, they’d be invisible, behind-the-scenes actors with no bearing on your work. Suffice to say, your “structure” has been compromised. To ensure that the lack of said structure doesn’t influence your daily flow, set boundaries for yourself. Wake up at a normal time. Cook breakfast. Enjoy your morning, and find an interesting way to replace that morning commute; whether it be through yoga, reading, research, or listening to your favorite tunes. Start work at a normal time (around 8 or 9 AM), and force yourself to maintain a schedule like you would while in-office.

Break your day into chunks, and don’t forget to take your allocated time for lunch. Need to escape? It’s easier than ever to head over to the pantry for a quick snack, sit by your window, and admire the beauty of nature, or take a walk down your block for a breath of fresh air. When all is said and done, leave work at a normal time. This is likely the most important aspect of the work-from-home environment. Maintain your boundaries, and force yourself to shut off that laptop until it’s time to open it back up again on the following day.

Create Your Perfect Workspace

The Quintessential Environment

Now that we’ve got scheduling out of the way, we can move on to more important things. Remember when we said that breaks were a healthy way to reset during your workday? We still stand by that statement, but too many breaks can hinder your overall productivity. Instead of setting up shop inside of your living room (or bedroom, for that matter), head somewhere that’s free of distracting elements. An in-home office area is a godsend for workers who want to set a boundary between their everyday lifestyle, and the work that they do.

Lounging around on the couch and answering client emails in your pajamas are both luxuries that you’ve finally been afforded when working from the comfort of your own abode, but that doesn’t mean that you should lack professionalism. Setting aside an area of the house where you can transition from your traditional at-home lifestyle, and into a more functional atmosphere, is vital to your success. Outfit your work area like you would at the office. Set up your station, include everything that you’ll need for a productive workflow, and ensure that things like televisions, smart devices, and other forms of entertainment won’t distract you from the project at hand. Keep your workspace clean, clutter-free, and devoid of items that aren’t dedicated to the work that’s being done; anything else is a hindrance.

Isolate The Noise

Rid Yourself Of External Distraction

Since we’re on the topic of creating the most suitable work area, we figured that we’d touch base on things like zen and serenity. Sure, some people get by just fine with audio blaring in the background, podcasts, or talk shows on the television, and all of the natural city sounds the urban environment can muster, but the vast majority of individuals operate best when they’ve got their own controlled ecosystem to dwell within. Oftentimes, this means low, instrumental music (devoid of thought-provoking lyrics), a calm, collected demeanor, and reduced external noise.

Since the world around you is so difficult to control, we need to go back to basics. Instead of trying to change your next-door neighbor’s blending habits, the gym across the street’s loud, bustling parking lot, and the random individuals who converse directly outside of your window as you type, throw on a pair of noise-canceling headphones. Like the workplace, your home can be privy to audible distractions that might slow down your workflow, whether that be your own family, passersby, or the abnormal birthday party that’s happening right next door. To achieve true zen, the ability to block out all of these noises should be at the forefront of your mind. Invest in a good pair of noise-canceling headphones, and utilize them to find your grove on a consistent basis. You might find that blocking out the world for a little bit is good for your health.

Eat Better

Maintain A Healthy, Balanced Diet

An important part of remaining productive throughout the day is nutrition. Not only does working from home afford you a unique opportunity to save money and plan your meals for a much healthier lifestyle, but it’s also the perfect way to make changes to your overall composure, since fruits, vegetables, and healthy snacks are only a walk away. Instead of going out for lunch every single day, or ordering UberEats, head to the kitchen and open up your favorite recipe book.

In order to stay on top of your work, and prepare your mind for the project ahead, your body needs to be functioning properly. While work and exercise might differ, they synthesize directly with a healthier diet. Take the time to study up on the benefits of a balanced meal plan, as you’ll see dramatic changes in your overall health, demeanor, and levelheadedness. Relying on saturated snacks, sugars, and carbonated drinks will cause your productivity to dwindle. So next time you open the fridge for a soda or canned coffee, grab water instead, and pair that with a healthy salad, vegetable platter, or protein-filled alternative that’s free of ingredients that’ll keep your body in a permanent state of disarray.

Attend To Your Health

The Most Important Aspect

Last, but not least, we’ve got fitness. We’ve all heard about the positives that are associated with leading a healthier, more active lifestyle, but getting out for something as small as a five-minute walk can have a dramatic benefit on your workflow. Being cooped up inside all day isn’t human nature. We need to be exposed to the open air, the sun, and a gentle breeze to ensure that our mental and physical wellbeing is taken care of. Obviously, you won’t want to head to the gym, on a jog, or for a simple walk without wearing the right type of gear. That’s where lululemon’s “At Ease” collection comes into play.

The Goods

Helping You To Stay Comfortably Efficient

Even when you’re working from home (and not attending any pesky video conference meetings), the attire you don can determine your overall attitude, your comfort levels, and — of course — your overall productivity. You want to be ready to stay focused all day long, but that doesn’t mean slipping into a ratty old crewneck and sweats that have likely seen better days. Instead, you should pick a uniform as a part of your overall routine — something that’s comfortable but presentable when it’s required. That way, when you’re wearing your WFH uniform, your brain will stay square in productivity mode. Thankfully, the folks at lululemon have been hard at work crafting what we think is perhaps the best work-from-home outfit in their At Ease collection.

lululemon At Ease Short

For those warmer days where a pair of joggers might not do the trick, fall back onto lululemon’s At Ease Shorts. These lightweight legwear pieces feature a textured, recovery-focused construction, a naturally-breathable, four-way-stretch fabric, and a classic, seven-inch length that’s not too short, or too long, allowing you to take on everything that the workday has to offer. Plus, they’re great for post-workout relaxation, making them one of our primary picks for increased productivity after your morning or mid-day excursion.

Purchase: $78

lululemon At Ease Crew

Sometimes, you’re looking for the perfect layer to keep you comfortable and warm. lululemon’s At Ease Crew is the sweater you’ve been looking for, thanks to its stretchable, tailor-made architecture, breathable construction, and convenient pocketing. Whether you’re looking for a layer that’ll accommodate your everyday workflow or a garment that you can utilize for post-work rest and recovery, the Crew is a comfortable essential that you’ll want in your arsenal.

Purchase: $128

lululemon At Ease Jogger

Finding some time to get away from your home office can be difficult, but when you do, you want to be prepared for whatever the world throws at you. Oftentimes, this can mean a quick jaunt to the supermarket, a jog to the park, or a trip to the gym for a fast, mid-lunch cardio session. For those moments where comfort and convenience matter most, lululemon’s At Ease Jogger covers all the bases. It’s textured, naturally breathable, and attractive, to boot. Plus, it’s got four-way-stretch, meaning that you’ll be able to lounge, work, and relax with the best of them.

Purchase: $128

lululemon At Ease Hoodie

lululemon’s At Ease Hoodie is a comfortable companion that can accompany you in almost any environment. Whether you’re answering emails on the couch or heading outside for a breath of fresh air on a cold afternoon, this unique, breathable garment was built to move with you. It features a comfortable four-way stretch material, a double-knit hood, and an internal gusset to allow for increased mobility, meaning it won’t pinch and bother as you take on the project at hand.

Purchase: $148

The 20 Best Work From Home Essentials

Now that you’ve learned how to make your in-home workflow a bit more productive, head over to our guide on the best work from home essentials, where we outline what you might need to keep everything in order.