Despite the fact that we live in a more connected world than ever before, working from home still isn’t the norm. As soon as lockdown is over, you can expect the vast majority of people going back into the office, stores, restaurants — you name it.
This means that most people are currently struggling working from home. They simply don’t know how to do it efficiently, because they’ve never truly had to for an extended period of time. They’re now finding it difficult to be productive, stay in touch with coworkers, meet deadlines, and much, much more.
So here are five ways you can make working from home more efficient. Consider them go-to tips used by freelancers, remote startup workers, and gig workers.
Use a site blocking app
If you think you’re alone in being hopelessly distracted by your Twitter feed, Facebook, Reddit, or online shopping addiction, you’ve clearly been misled. As it turns out, one quick search reveals productivity has become a real problem, both in and out of work.
The good news is that technology has your back. Apps like Block Site work on your computer and phone to block access to any distracting websites during the hours you designate. That means you can’t effortlessly scroll through any time-wasting websites anymore. Pair it with Apple’s Screen Time setting for apps and you have a winning combo.
Fill up your favorite mug
Did you know your body uses hunger cues to let you know you’re dehydrated? That’s right, sometimes you confuse snacks with a need for water — it happens.
That probably explains why you’re grazing or blatantly indulging during work hours. You’re not used to being this free, able to stroll into the kitchen at any time you want throughout the day. It’s easy to just assume all body cues relate to hunger when food is already on the mind.
Which brings us to the tip here: Pull out your favorite mug and hold onto it like a lifeboat. Whatever it looks like, wherever it’s from, this mug is your solution.
Fill it with water, coffee, or tea throughout the day and watch your hunger pangs subside quite a bit. Use it instead of a bowl for a smaller snack portion to save some calories. Keep it out in the open where you can easily see it at all times so you can stay motivated and on track.
Bonus tip: Wash it after every use so it’s always available to you.
Have a pet? Get a Kong
Kongs, those rubberized cone-shaped dog toys you see in every pet shop and grocery store known to mankind, are well worth the investment. Fill them up with peanut butter, treats, or even sweet potatoes and watch your dog stay busy for a while. Not only is this entertaining for your dog, it’s beneficial for you, since you can get more done while your furry best friend is distracted.
They even have an equivalent for cats you can check out. Of course, if you can’t find this, or simply don’t like this option for your cat, there are several catnip toys you can purchase just about anywhere online or in-store.
Try eye-catching notepads
Here’s the thing about working from home that most established remote workers will agree with: it can feel like you’re in jail a lot of the time. That’s why you see startup employees and freelancers alike invest in proper office supplies that are not only functional, but aesthetically pleasing.
It’s about the little things. When you’re rushing to meet a deadline, jotting down meeting notes, or otherwise scribbling out a brainstorming session, you want to make it as fun as you can. It livens things up and makes it seem so much more rewarding.
So do yourself a favor and pick up a notepad that speaks to you. The Paper Source has some good options if you’re looking for something premium. Otherwise, try Walmart or Target.
Set devices for Do Not Disturb
Do yourself a favor and go to Settings, Do Not Disturb, and schedule a time slot — Apple products only. The Android instructions vary depending on model — here’s a list.
What this setting does is prevent phone calls and notifications from coming through during the allotted time frame. That keeps your phone nice and silent while you work and meet your deadlines.
Not only will this help you think about and check your phone less throughout the day, it’ll also prevent pesky phone calls from coming through and pausing any music you’re listening to in order to stay focused. It’s a win-win
— By Jennifer Mendez
Jennifer Mendez is a content creator and Lynnwood resident who specializes in copy, graphic design and photography for her clients. Whenever she’s not creating something, she’s exploring new places to eat in the area.