Losing your mind working from home? Here's how I stay sane while being hyper-productive.
Finding it difficult to adjust to this new normal? Hey, I get ya. As someone who’s been working at home for almost 40% of my 13-year professional career, I’ve learned a thing or two and been through a lot. Read on to find out how I manage to stay sane and hyper-productive at the same time!!
Like any job, be it office-based or home-based, it’s important to build a productivity system that works best for you. Before we jump in, I’d like to make a quick disclaimer that this framework is definitely gonna vary depending on your preference. Nevertheless, this is an in-depth look at my daily routine and the tools I use to give you an idea of how to optimize your day-to-day home hustle.
Let’s jump in.
It’s time to say goodbye to the habit of jumping out of bed and working in your jammies. After all, you’re still working in an office. It just so happens that your office is at home.
#1 Design a morning routine and stick to it.
How you wake up and what you do in the mornings can have a profound effect on the rest of your day. Wake up and feel amazing? You’ll have an amazing day. Wake up and just kind of… start working without being proactive about doing things to make yourself feel amazing? You’ll probably feel like crap regularly. This is why I consider mornings to be absolutely sacred.
Here’s how my mornings normally look like:
6:00a - Wake up, workout clothes on, brush teeth, contacts
6:15a - 7:00a - Exercise
7:00a - 7:30a - Meditate (in the hot tub when it’s open)
7:30a - 8:00a - Shower, get dressed
8:00a - 8:15 - Breakfast + supplements
8:15a - 8:20a - Recite affirmations
8:20a - 8:30a - Check my calendar and re-orient myself with my todo list
8:30a - Start work at the same time every day, employee check-in
After jumping out of bed, I dedicate a good two hours to get my body and mind ready to rock. After my daily workout, I make it a point to meditate and recite my affirmations. Remember, the tone you establish in the morning will impact your productivity for the rest of the day.
Once I am physically and mentally energized, I prep for work the way an office-based worker would. I shower and dress nice every day - always with a button-up shirt. Why? Lookin’ good is feelin’ good! So if you’re lounging on your couch in your jammies, your mood will likely reflect how you’re dressed. Gotta be pro!
#2 Design a workspace and a work routine!
Now that you’re physically and mentally prepared to tackle the day ahead, it’s time to sit down and work away.
Having a dedicated workspace is a great way to kickstart your work-from-home career. Couch-surfing is definitely a no-no. It impairs both your posture and productivity. What you want is a decluttered workstation to help inspire you to work.
Your workspace doesn’t have to be that big either. If you’re in a cramped space, a small corner to accommodate you and some office supplies will suffice. Now let’s get to work!
Unlike most people, I don’t dive in straight to e-mails. I initially check my primary to-do list. In my case, my day revolves around my calendar. I begin my day by checking on my tasks ahead. Doing so helps remind me of any upcoming meetings and pending deadlines.
If you wanna go pro, you can use online tools to organize your day ahead. I mainly use Trello with the Chronify extension to add tasks, and deadlines to my calendar. Always make sure to write down the number of hours needed to finish the task on your todo list. Also, when adding tasks to your calendar, you know how long they'll take. This way, I boost my productivity by fitting in as many tasks as I could accomplish in a day.
From 8:30am - 12:00pm I’m in video conferences with employees, clients, and peers. After a quick lunch break, I jump into project work from 12:30pm to 5:00pm. This is by design as I make every effort possible to not book any meetings in the afternoons. If I did, I wouldn’t get ANY work done.
My breaks are structured into my daily schedule, and usually only have 1-2 breaks in a given day. I find that short breaks (e.g. regular, 5-minute breaks) disrupt my groove. It normally takes a while to psych yourself up for work and you don’t want to break that focus.
#3 Utilize Online Tools like CRAZY.
In this day and age, we have easy access to incredible online productivity tools—literally, everyone can be a workhorse with the right apps at their fingertips!
Here’s a list of tools you can use to tap into your ultra-productive self:
Calendly - I use this tool to schedule meetings. It helps you send out specific time slots so you can link up with your clients and colleagues at a time that works for both of you. You can book a common time in a click and it syncs directly to your online calendar. Cool, ain’t it?
Loom - Explaining complex things to others is one of the biggest hurdles in working remotely. Here’s where Loom comes in handy. I use it to record quick instruction and explainer videos. Not only does it allow you to shoot videos of yourself, but you can also screen-record. This is ideal in instructing your employees and your peers. Videos are automatically uploaded and made shareable via a private link.
Zoom - By now, everybody is familiar with Zoom and how it works. It’s every team’s video conference tool and with reason!
Google Chrome Profiles - If you’re using Chrome, here’s a neat trick you can use to manage multiple accounts. Chrome Profiles allows you to maintain two separate accounts, therefore, eliminating confusion. It also saves you from the hassle of logging off and logging into two different accounts.
Smart Countdown Timer - Because I have estimated hours on every task, I use a timer to see if I’m still on schedule.
#4 Prepare for tomorrow, today.
The last few minutes before the workday ends should be allotted to set the stage for tomorrow. Your future self will thank you for this, trust me.
I start off by clearing my whiteboard and fill them out with tomorrow’s list of tasks and deadlines. Like always, I add estimated hours for each task so I can optimize my day. I also use the remaining time to look at my calendar and organize it accordingly.
Putting it in action
It’s amazing to think that we are in a time where we can work while being in the comfort of our own home. As someone who has done it for several years now, I’ve developed a system that works well for me. By sharing this, I hope to inspire you to create your own!
Got any working-from-home protips or questions? Reach out in social!