Realistic Tips for Staying Productive When Working from Home (For the First Time Ever)

Written by Olivia Nicholas

Staying productive in this quarantine is no easy feat! It doesn’t help to read the plethora of articles out there saying how you should be following a strict routine and basically pretending like we aren’t in an anxiety-fueled situation of unease, uncertainty and unrest. It’s especially difficult if you’ve never worked from home before, or even worse: if you’re about to start your first job ever and have to be remote at the start. It can be daunting and scary! Here are some realistic tips to help you stay productive when working from home:

  1. Set Your Alarm
    • I’m not saying you have to get up right when it goes off. If you don’t have to start working until 9, guess what? You can set your alarm later! Don’t like having to rush when your alarm goes off? Set it a little earlier and chill in bed on your phone for a bit. You don’t have to be super strict with yourself, just make sure you aren’t staying in bed too long or getting up too late.

  2. Stick to a Schedule-Sort Of
    • If you have normal working hours, that definitely helps. If you’re left to your own devices, however, these days might just drag on. It’s so important to have at least a loose schedule: wake up, breakfast, work, lunch, work, house project, work out, dinner, read, bed, etc. It’s okay to leave some time in-between and not be too hard on yourself right now! Not everyone can be super productive during a time like this. Get stuff done when you can.

  3. Don’t Keep Food at Your Fingertips
    • If I had all of my snacks readily available right at my workspace, I would have gained a bunch of weight by now. Do you know how easy it is to mindlessly eat an entire bag of chips? If you do need a snack, use a bit of portion control and pour a little of whatever you want on a plate or in a bowl so you don’t end up eating your entire supply of groceries in three days.

  4. It’s the Little Things
    • I get it, sometimes you don’t have the energy to drag yourself into the shower after trying to be productive all day…or do your hair or put on make-up or wear clean clothes. It’s important to take care of yourself, and yeah, sometimes that means doing some of the little things and sometimes it means definitely not doing anything! And remember, sometimes doing something small like putting on clothes other than pajamas can help to make you feel more normal and productive.

  5. Get Some Exercise
    • Notice I didn’t say go for a five-mile run or do an hour-long HIIT workout. Going outside and getting some fresh air for even 30 minutes does wonders for your attitude and for your health. Move your body more than just to the fridge and back!

  6. Try to Stay Positive
    • Staying positive is easier said than done during this time; however, it is way better to fake it ‘til you make it than let negativity consume you. Do something you know will make you smile, like listening to happy music, watching funny YouTube or TikTok videos, taking a much-needed nap, talking to your family, going outside or writing in a journal…even if just for a few minutes. It’s okay to take breaks during the day; rest assured your more seasoned coworkers are. You can do this!