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Tips to working from home productively

Regardless of whether we are under a lockdown or a "circuit-breaker" in our home countries, the matter of fact is that the large majority of us are currently working from home. Given that I do handle a large portion of my day to day admin from home, I thought it will perhaps be useful to share a few tips to working from home productively.

Most people work in an office where they are used to being in an environment with their fellow colleagues, have lunch with friends/colleagues and basically, have people to chat with if you are just bored at your desk working away. Having to suddenly go from that to just working from home is essentially throwing yourself in a different "working environment" and it needs some adapting to.

I know it is absolutely tempting to just laze in bed the whole day (especially if there is nothing to do) and before you know it, the day is over. You might not realise it now, but speaking from many years of experience, at the end of the month or at the end of the "circuit breaker" (cos let's be real - who knows how long this is going to last for), you'll be amazed at how much time you have just wasted. Thrown down the drain. I have been through some of these moments like these and the idea of it always makes me sick to my stomach. "Why the hell have I wasted all these time?!" - would be stirring in my brain. Furthermore, since we are all in a definite looming recession, it is The time for employers to seek out who to retain and let go if the company is in dire need of cutting cost and you do not want to be at the losing end of that stick. (Trust me: it will be v obvious to employers in this time)

So here are 5 tips from me:

Doing this helps you to get up, set the tone for the day and often you'll find that once you make your bed, it will deter you from wanting to jump back into it cos you just don't want to mess up a perfectly-made bed. I never used to do this, and you might think less of this simple task at hand but try it out, and by the end of month, you might see a difference.

Having a notepad beside your laptop on your table helps. I personally like to make a list of all the things I need to get done that day and if I think of anything else, I will just add it along the way. In a way, it is kinda like a space for you to brain-dump. I also have this habit whereby I will write the more important things to do on hand at the top of the list and the less-hurried ones at the bottom. That way, I can prioritise my time and check off the important tasks too. I think it also helps to get the things you dread doing the most first and for me, it is possibly replying emails. The day will get easier once you have those out of the way.

This is such a contradictory one as when I'm out and about on some days, I tend to not eat my meals at meal timings unless I am meeting a client for lunch. If the lunch meetings tend to be short, I will rather be doing the talking and then, have my lunch later alone when the lunch crowd has cleared. (Yes I actually do enjoy eating alone outside.) I am typically not a breakfast person as I tend to take longer hours to travel if I have to be in office in the morning and I will much rather clock in more hours in bed. Though on days where I do not have to be up so early, I find myself wanting to eat breakfast more. Perhaps it's the notion of not having to "rush" my meal. Having meals at proper timings whilst you are working from home allows you to break up your day so that it doesn't seem so long and dreary and it gives you something to look forward to, much like being in an office, hence it gives some form of familiarity.

Much like the first pointer, the key is NOT to work from bed cos you'll NEVER get out of it! Period. So, make your bed and find a nice conducive space in your home to work from. It could be from a room desk, a home office if you have one, or even the dining table where there is essential table space and proper lighting. It also helps that your eye is not facing the tv (and do not even think of multi-tasking) because once you're playing an episode in the "background", soon that episode becomes an entire season.

If you're feeling dreary and need a pick-me-up, have that afternoon coffee. Grab a cookie from the kitchen. Phone a friend so that you can share with each other how's work and what you've achieved that day and work-sy stuff. It's preferable to phone a friend whom you prob know is also making the most out of his/her time working from home as well so that you are able to rub energy off of each other and motivate/inspire each other as well. It also helps to give you that social interaction that you are lacking from not being able to work in an office.

A lot of us are in various situations right now. Some of us are trying to cope with working from home and having to entertain their children at home as well. For most, it is possibly the first time you're getting to finally witness how your partner is like during work hours and perhaps you are trying to deal with being with each other 24/7, whilst some couples/families are coping with being away from their partners and family because they are being called up to serve the Nation or the front-liners at hospitals who are afraid to go home for fear of passing the virus to their loved ones. 

Whatever it is, know that we are all facing different situations so it will be helpful for everyone to be more sensitive with their words on social media. I think mental health is also v important for people right now and doing something positive and something that brightens your day everyday is not only good, but healthy for the soul.


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