We can’t always be sure that every day will be hyper-productive, and there will be days when it feels so much harder to show up with our absolute best. Still, I’ve figured out a few ways to ensure each day begins with intention and ends with satisfaction, and I’ll share them with you right now.
But first, I’m sure you’ve heard it all before. I know I have. Take breaks. Go for a walk. Get a standing desk. Put your phone in the other room.
While these are all great tips to work better at home, they have yet to really work for me. I adore my desk and scoured the internet for almost six months to find the perfect one (white with gold legs). I’m not going to replace it anytime soon for one with a treadmill attached to it.
Going for a walk — a beautiful idea, in theory. But whenever I tried that, I would lose an hour/an hour and a half dipping in and out of any shop with a pretty display. Pop into the supermarket. Pick up something quickly from the pharmacy. Oh, look, the bakery has the cornetto alla mela today! Oops.
Now, after a ton of trial and error and attempting to implement every “work-from-home productivity hack” I could get my hands on, I’ve narrowed it down to just three things that have really helped me work productively and peacefully from home over the last two years.
1. Buy or pick fresh flowers every week
You don’t need to spend £50 on a bouquet of roses — £10 at your local florist or supermarket will buy you a lovely, simple arrangement of fresh flowers you can put in water and enjoy immediately.
Having something beautiful close to me while I work has had a more profound effect than I anticipated. It adds a delicate touch of luxury to my home office and daily life with practically minimal effort.
It also lifts my mood instantly and makes me feel special and worthy of nice things, which is something I absolutely want to be feeling while I’m working!
If you don’t already keep fresh flowers in your workspace, why not start now?
2. Keep a notebook and use it religiously
During a single workday, I find myself constantly distracted by my thoughts. For example, I could be deep into focus mode working on a client project, and suddenly all I can think about is when the last time I saw my birth certificate, and wait, where is it, anyway?!
You know what comes next. I’ll look through this cabinet really quickly to make sure it’s there, then I’ll check that box and this drawer, and before I know it, I’m on a scavenger hunt for a document I’ll probably never even need!
So if you’re like me and struggle with pushing those annoying, intrusive thoughts away during your focus time, keep a small notebook on your desk. Anytime you get a pesky thought that feels urgent (but isn’t), write it down in your notebook and move on. You can look at it at the end of the day and deal with it then.
3. Have lunch and snacks at the same time every day
This may only work for some, and there are many individual factors to consider here, but having my lunch and any snacks at around the same time every day has been a significant game changer in how my day progresses.
I usually come to my desk around 9 AM, and knowing I’ll have lunch at midday gives me about 4 hours of deep focus, uninterrupted work.
However, I’m not a fan of stopping abruptly I’ll typically start wrapping up my tasks around 11.45 and do something to unwind from the morning. I might watch a video on YouTube, read an article on Medium, or look at my notebook, where I may have jotted down a random thought earlier. Now’s the time to hunt for that misplaced birth certificate!
By stopping for lunch around the same time every day, I have this structure that makes it much easier to plan my tasks and prioritise what’s next. I know I have four hours of high-focus, productive time in the morning, so I plan my most important tasks during that window.
Then I have a couple of hours of low-energy time after lunch, where I’ll work on tasks requiring less focus and energy, like answering emails or updating my LinkedIn page.
What do you do to remain productive and peaceful while working from home? I would love to hear from you!
Until next time,