This post is dedicated to all work-from-home professionals keeping up with the grind amidst the global pandemic.
I know – money is important.
But it’s not as important as your health – physically and mentally.
Today, we’ll talk about 11 simple yet powerful tips on staying safe and healthy while working from home.
Let’s get started.
1. Stick to a daily schedule
A client once said, “you need to be prudent with your time.”
Those were the days when I’d work until 5 AM in the morning.
Don’t get me wrong, I had more than enough time to finish my daily quota. The problem was, I had no daily schedule.
This led to a vicious cycle of sleep deprivation and reduced productivity.
The less sleep I got, the slower I wrote the following workday. As a result, it took longer to finish my daily workload – leading to even less sleep.
And thus, the cycle continued.
Eventually, I was working until 7 AM.
That’s when I decided to establish a daily schedule and stick to it no matter what.
It doesn’t matter if you prefer to write during the day or night. What’s important is, you have ample time to rest and recharge.
Related: 6 Ways to Supercharge Productivity
2. Know your rhythm
Speaking of setting a schedule, remember to make time for quick breaks between productive hours.
Research suggests you take a break after every 90 minutes of uninterrupted work to maintain peak productivity.
I won’t go deep into details about the science behind it right now.
What I can promise you is, it really works.
Just remember to spend each break wisely and focus on resting.
Personally, I like to take quick 30-minute breaks every 90 minutes. During which, I’d lie down, eat a light snack, and cuddle with my fur-babies.
3. Use posture reminders
Do any of the following hurt after a busy workday?
- Lower back
Congratulations – you have terrible posture!
I have no idea how many times I failed trying to maintain proper posture when working. On the bright side, I did succeed with the help of posture reminders.
Apps like Posture Reminder for Chrome work by sending periodic reminders to correct your posture.
You see, everybody knows what a proper sitting position is. You need to keep your feet flat, back straight, shoulders back, lumbar firmly rested — yadda yadda.
The problem is, not a lot of people know how to maintain this position for hours on end.
With posture reminders, you’ll be constantly reminded to fix your posture until it becomes a habit.
4. Lower your screen’s brightness
Unless you’re outdoors, there’s no reason for you to put your screen’s brightness on full blast.
Remember, your eyes are extremely valuable, especially if you’re a freelancer.
It’s not just about the long-term dangers of being constantly exposed to a bright screen. With your devices on full brightness all the time, you’re at an increased risk of eye strain, migraines, and nausea.
With all that said, consider lowering the brightness of your screen to an acceptable range while writing.
Only increase it whenever you need to work on visuals, like featured images or infographics.
5. Drink plenty of water
Believe it or not, evidence shows that drinking enough water can boost your productivity by 14 percent.
In addition to hydration, water improves the circulation of blood, oxygen, and nutrients throughout the body.
Your brain needs a ton of them.
I can personally attest to this.
As soon as I formed the habit of regularly drinking water during work hours, my productivity and focus peaked. I also experienced less fatigue after a solid workday.
So, do yourself a favor, and drink a glass of water right now.
6. Hit the gym (or YouTube workout videos)
In addition to your fitness, regular exercise is also proven to improve your mental health while reducing stress and anxiety.
I go to the gym fairly regularly.
Sure, it’s tough to keep up with your tasks on the same day as a heavy workout. But over time, it can be the easiest thing in the world.
Regular exercise also improved my energy, focus, and overall productivity. Furthermore, it provided a surge of motivation to get things done and become a boss in life.
Since this isn’t a fitness blog, I’m not going to dictate how workouts must be done. All I can say is, you don’t need to go to the gym to reap the benefits of regular exercise.
Normally, I’d recommend taking brisk walks after or before work. But since everybody prefers to stay at home nowadays, I won’t.
Instead, you can head to fitness YouTube channels that can teach you home workouts.
My personal favorite would be SELF, particularly their HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training) workouts.
7. Stop multitasking
I once believed that multitasking is an essential skill for independent freelancers like myself.
Back then, I’d have dozens of browser tabs open. I use a couple for research, one for image editing, another for YouTube, and so on.
Little did I know that multitasking – in a practical sense – is a long-disproven myth.
Long story short, we’re not actually multitasking when we’re juggling multiple tasks at the same time. We’re only forcing our brains to constantly switch from task to task within a brutally short time period.
I first learned of this from a Harvard Business Review article.
I was writing an article on brain training at the time – eagerly planning a section for “multitasking tips.”
Several articles later, I changed the section’s subheading to: “Learn How to Prioritize.”
Yes – prioritizing tasks is infinitely better than trying to multitask.
The basic rule is, start your day with the most important task. The remainder of your energy should then be spent on secondary tasks, including repetitive things like spell-checking and cleaning.
8. Don’t forget about personal hygiene
I can’t stress enough the importance of personal hygiene in a post-COVID world.Always remember that health is wealth. And a strong sense of personal hygiene is your insurance. Click To Tweet
As for me, I like to take a shower after breakfast and before work – just like countless other people. I also take a bath as soon as I get home, even before the pandemic began.
Now, you don’t have to do the exact same things.
At the very least, you should regularly clean your workspace, hands, and devices.
A clean workspace not only boosts motivation, it also helps improve focus by eliminating stuff that can distract you. This includes gaming consoles, magazines, toys, gadgets, and trash.
9. Set your daily “me time”
Nothing beats the feeling of kicking back and watching Netflix after a long day’s work.
I do this on a daily basis with my significant other. And that is reason enough for me to finish my work on time.
Remember, your “me time” can be as long as your day allows. If you finish by 12 PM, you have the rest of the day to relax and do the things you love.
By that, I mean anything that can get your mind off work. Some examples are gaming, playing music, reading books, cooking, and shopping.
10. Take caffeine naps
I have a question for you.
Black coffee or with cream?
If you answered “I don’t drink coffee,” are you really a freelancer?
I was about to wrap up this post when I suddenly had the urge to have another cup of coffee.
It’s pretty much every freelancer’s brain juice.
With moderation, it can improve your mood and focus. It can also stave off drowsiness – one of the archenemies of work-from-home professionals.
Here’s a trick: drink a cup of coffee before taking a 20-minute nap.
Japanese researchers found out that coffee in combination with a short nap effectively fights drowsiness and improves performance.
It can be tricky to try and nap after chugging down a hot cup of joe. But once you get the hang of it, it just might be the best thing you learned from this post.
Thank me later.
11. Enjoy days off
In freelancing, striking the perfect work-life balance will keep you sane.
Working from home, it’s hard to create boundaries between your personal life and work life. As time passes, your mind and body may associate your home with busy, grueling workdays.
In addition, family members or roommates can be daunting to deal with.
I lost count of how many times I had to break my writing flow to do a chore.
That’s why working seven days a week is never sustainable in this field.
You need to enjoy your days off – preferably outside the house once we’re through COVID-19.
Seriously, shut your computer off, stack your notes, and take a load off.
Reward yourself and remember that working from home is supposed to be fun.
To a lot of people, the novelty of working from home already wore off.
In turn, they forgot all about self-care and the importance of having a healthy work environment.
Hopefully, the post above helped you get it together.
If you know someone who works from home, don’t forget to share this post.
And, as always, leave your questions, feedback, and suggestions in the comments below.