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Published April 7th 2020
Healthy habits to stay productive and happy
Due to the global COVID-19 pandemic, many of us have suddenly been asked to work from home, some of us doing this for the first time. This list of 10 tips, provides healthy habits to be productive and happy when working from home.
1. Start the day with a workout The best way to feel refreshed and energised is to do a workout at the start of the day. Thanks to generous personal trainers and gyms, there are currently hundreds of free online virtual workouts that you can do at any time, with no equipment, and in confined spaces. My favourite is Fitness Blender where you can select duration, intensity, and type of workout. You can find a list of 50 free online workouts here.
2. Keep a routine
Keep the day as similar to what it would be like if you were going to the office. This makes separating work from personal time, much easier. From waking up at the same time, and dressing for work, to taking a break to eat lunch and having a list of tasks to complete, keeping a set routine will help you accomplish tasks without distraction.
3. Allocate time Working from home in self-isolation may have quadrupled your number of emails and videoconferences, impacting your productivity and output. Allocating blocks of time to particular tasks, makes it easier to accomplish daily goals. Try to schedule all meetings in 1 day, answer emails an hour in the morning and an hour near the end of the day likewise, allocate time for administration, research, study, as per your job role.
4. Break and stretch In a workplace, we get up and out of our desks more often than when at home. If your work involves sitting in front of a computer all day, add this Chrome Break Timer, which will remind you to get up for 2 minutes, every 30 minutes or at whatever frequency you set it to. Take the time to look far into nature (resting eyes) and stand up and stretch (move your body). The timer can easily be switched to silent and turned off if you are in meetings.
5. End meetings 5min early Is your day now filled with back-to-back videoconference meetings? In the workplace, you would take 5-10min to walk from one meeting to the next, so in the virtual workplace, make sure to end every meeting 5 minutes early so that you can stretch and re-focus.
6. Exercise during lunch Working from home means that you may be missing out on incidental exercise that you would normally get in a workplace, such as walking to the train station, meetings, and for coffee. Get a healthy dose of vitamin D and fresh air, by spending your lunch break taking a 30-minute brisk walk around your neighbourhood. Return and eat a light and healthy lunch. I will be sharing some healthy recipes in a second post.
7. Play some tunes Keep calm and relaxed by listening to music from broadcasts from local radio stations from anywhere around the world. Radio Garden is a non-profit Dutch radio and digital research project developed from 2013 to 2016, by the Netherlands Institute for Sound and Vision, the Transnational Radio Knowledge Platform, and five other European universities. 100% free. I recommend randomly selecting a new city every day.
8. Keep a tidy desk
An uncluttered and clear working space helps to keep the mind calm and focused. Add an indoor plant for a touch of nature and clean air. If you are short of space and are working on your dining table, bedroom, or living room, divide the space to work and personal time. Avoid working in front of the TV or while sitting in your bed, as this will contribute to unproductiveness and may lead to difficulty sleeping.
9. Keep hydrated At home, you may not drink as much as you would in the workplace. There is no water cooler or communal kitchen to go to for a dose of daily banter, so it is easy to forget to hydrate. My recommendation is to keep a 1L bottle of water at your desk and drink every time your Chrome Break Timer goes off.
10. End the day with a friend Social interaction is one of 6 pillars of good health. Though we are all in social isolation, it is important to be connected and check-in with friends and family. You may even consider going on a walk (observing the social distancing rule), with your flatmate or family member. Great way to get exercise at the same time!
Do you have any other tips for working from home? Please share by leaving a comment.