There are many reasons for which people can be at home all day: when you’re off school or uni, when you’re on holiday, if you are unemployed or all of the above like me! After some much needed time-off doing nothing but watch Netflix, cook and maybe go for a walk or two every day, I got very bored. And I easily get bored. I’m the kind of person that is either very productive and has loads on, running around all day, or I am the laziest person you have ever met. There isn’t really an in-between. And that is what I have been trying to work on for the couple of weeks I have had at home.
When you are forced to stay at home – in the sense that you don’t have a job or course to go to – the way you go on about your day is usually all up to you. So you get to decide when you get up, when you eat, when you do chores (if you choose to do any), what activities you do, who you see, if you leave the house or not, and so much more. I find it very hard to have a productive day when I have nowhere to go because there is so much time to do things that I think “there’s always tomorrow” and end up binge-watching Vampire Diaries.
I decided that enough was enough. I will not have all this free time forever so I should do things that I wouldn’t necessarily have the time to do when I’m back in uni – hence how this blog was created. Especially with social media, blogs and YouTube, a lot of people now work from home. And if they manage to be so productive, there is no reason why we shouldn’t be able to be the same. So whether you want the satisfaction of ticking all the items off your to-do list, you want to figure out how to fit a lot of things into one day off or you just want to stop feeling like you’re wasting your life away, keep on reading. I’m going to try and give you some things I have found helpful to make me more productive.
Most of the videos or posts you will find on productivity will tell you the same: wake up early! Some people have no trouble with that, and if you’re one of those people, I admire you. I’m not really a morning person myself so I have always found it quite hard to do, especially when you are supposed to get out of bed at 5 or 6am. However, we all know just how much longer a day seems when you wake up early. So I wake up at an early enough time to feel like I have all day ahead of me without feeling like a sleep-deprived zombie. That time for me is usually between 7 and 8am. The most important part of waking up though is to not hit snooze! Whenever I tell myself I’ll just do it once, I end up in bed for another hour or two. If you want to have a more productive day at home, try to wake up at a reasonable time for yourself (whether that be 5am or 9am) and get up straight away without hitting snooze or scrolling through Instagram in bed.
My breakfast time is my me-time. It’s my favourite part of the day and if I can, I take a good hour – if not more – enjoying a pot of tea and Netflix. Some people skip breakfast altogether but I don’t think it’s the healthiest thing to do. Try to at least have a little bit of food as this will give you fuel to be productive and tick things off your to-do list. I have also been changing what I have for breakfast around. It depends on what I feel like having. Usually though, I’d have some cereal, toast and tea. In the past, I often found myself over-eating bad foods in the morning, but I have made it a goal for myself to have a better, filling meal instead. Try adding a banana or some raspberries to your morning cereals or porridge, or have some cheese or avocado on your bread as these will keep you feeling full for longer. If you enjoy breakfast, take your time like I do, and if you don’t, use it as a way to fuel your body for the day ahead.
One of the best tips I have tried to follow myself is setting your appointments in the morning rather than later in the day. The earlier you have the appointment, the earlier in the day you will be up and running. If you have a hair appointment at 2pm, you will probably not wake up very early, lounge around for most of the morning until you have to get ready and leave. If, however, you have that appointment at 9.30am, you will be home early and ready to attack your to-do list. So if you have trouble waking up, set your appointments early in the day to force you out of the house in the morning.
I often use the time after lunch to clean up my apartment. I’ll wash the dishes – as for most students, I unfortunately do not own a dishwasher – and then do laundry or whatever needs to be done. Although doing chores isn’t the most fun, it does pass the time. I sometimes will have done all these small jobs around the house before lunchtime so I’ll do something else instead. When you are at home most of the day or work from home, being flexible is key to success. On some days, I’ll find myself exercising before doing my chores, or I won’t have any chores to do, or I just couldn’t be bothered doing them. Because you are usually your own boss at home, you have the luxury of creating your own schedule, so feel free to change it around to suit your needs.
I work very well when things are scheduled. Before exams, I would create myself a timetable every afternoon and set times for different tasks. The format is as such: I will do an activity (e.g. revise chapter 12 or read and highlight text A) for 25, 30 or 35 minutes then will give set myself a 10-minute break during which I’ll make myself a cup of tea or tidy up my room for example, and then I’ll do more work, have break, etc. Scheduling things helps me hold myself accountable for things I do and don’t do. In order to fight my lack of productivity, I’ve started planning out my days and setting times for different things. I use Google Calendar because I find it quite easy to use and view. Now you don’t have to plan every minute of every day, but if you find yourself not doing your workout or your chores or your homework or even your hobby, set yourself a time for it, write it down and it will be easier to stick to it. Imagine it was an appointment: it’s in your diary so you show up, same goes for whatever you have to do.
Many people find it difficult to work at home because of all the distractions you find there: your fridge, Netflix and your bed, to name a few. One way of fighting this is by leaving the house. You could go to your favourite café, to the library or even to the parc if the weather is nice. Bring your laptop, notebook or notes you need to work on and feel inspired by the movement around you. However, your productive space could also be at home. It might be the kitchen counter or your desk. You can create a space if you don’t currently have one. Whatever space you find for yourself, make sure it is also free of distractions so keep the space tidy and clean to enhance your productivity.
It is very important to wind down after a day of work to allow your body to start relaxing. The more your body is relaxed, the easier you’ll be able to sleep. Depending on what time you wake up at the next day, go to bed at a time that will allow you to get a good amount of sleep. This varies from person to person, some only needing 6 hours while others need 10. I found that having a routine at night definitely helped me fall asleep faster. I like to make myself a herbal tea (I love the Sleep Easy Infusion by Clipper) and get into bed. I write in my journal for a bit and sometimes will read one or two book chapters. This night-time routine is very personal and is all about you. You can take a bath, do a facemask, cuddle your partner (or your teddy bear if, like me, you don’t have anyone to cuddle), you can journal, plan the next day, etc. You can do whatever you feel like doing, the key being activities that relax you and get you ready for bed.
These are my tips to have a productive day at home. I hope you find them useful. If you have any good tips yourself, leave them down below or send them to me! Some of you may have noticed that I haven’t posted in two weeks. I was on holiday and decided to take the time off to be with my family. But I am back now and ready to post on a weekly basis.
If you have read this far, thank you so much and I hope you have a lovely week. See you next Sunday!