If working from home has you stuck in a rut – or, if you’re looking for ways to level up when it comes productivity — you’re not alone.
Working and living in the same space blurs boundaries regarding task scheduling, and sometimes it’s hard to get motivated when we’re in the comfort of our own home. Hockey fans know that the most foolproof path to success is to “keep it simple” (and get pucks in deep). And though we aren’t trying to win a Stanley Cup, I hope to inspire you to win each day with some of the simple habits presented ahead.
Scheduling: The Plan
Unplanned days can quickly turn aimless. So although it’s daunting, do your best to create and stick to a schedule if you don’t already.
There are various scheduling methods, but I find the Block Scheduling Method to be a breakthrough in planning. In short, you schedule your day to be a series of two to four hour blocks instead of a series of tasks on a to-do list. You do whatever is in the block for whatever corresponding time, transition out of it and then move onto another block.
For example, one of my blocks is my “cam block.” It’s three hours long which allots two solid hours for camming and also accounts for the time I need before and after to get ready and clean up.
The block schedule functions because it makes you block out realistic amounts of time to get your work done instead of leaving it to chance or doing it in a random order. When designing your schedule include your breaks, time for off-cam busywork, errands, appointments and eight hours of sleep!
Here are templates to make your own block schedule from Brittany Vasseur, a creator on YouTube who introduced me to this incredible scheduling method. Her video linked here explains in-depth what the block scheduling system is all about and how to execute it, but you can also just start by making a cam block, a content block, an editing block and so on and only doing those tasks during those blocks.
Prepare Ahead Of Time
Do a 15 minute speed clean of your space before bed every night. If you can only do three things in your speed clean, it would be: declutter/put things back around your space, sanitize any surfaces and sinks you use and sweep the areas you spend time in. Daily speed cleaning can help keep things under control as you live a busy life while reducing the time you’ll spend later doing deeper cleans since things will be so neat.
Whenever possible, prepare your morning routine ahead of time by setting out items you’ll be using upon waking. If you drink coffee or tea, measure the water you’ll need or put your tea packet and mug on the counter. Pick out your outfit the night before, review your schedule and have anything you plan to use for work the next day clean and ready to go, like your toys.
Pack yourself a lunch, and make something simple for breakfast that can be eaten the next day. This will be vary based on your taste, dietary needs and budget, but making food ahead is a huge time- and money-saving hack!
When you’re home, hungry and deep in the zone, you’ll be glad you made something ahead of time that you can just grab and eat. Treat yourself to a nice lunchbox specifically for your work snacks and meals and pack it each night with foods that you’ll look forward to eating.
If you’re in a food rut, try some of these simple, budget-friendly breakfast and lunch ideas that can be made ahead:
Overnight oats in a mason jar (Can be made gluten free)
Hard boiled eggs
Smoothie bags (Stored in the freezer)
Avocado toast, oatmeal, fresh fruit and cut veggies with hummus are a few foods you could make on the spot, too.
Daily Routine (AM/PM)
Being home means you don’t always need to get ready, but it helps to get dressed each day no matter what your plans are.
If you could do one thing to change your energy each day, it would be to put on regular clothes within 30 minutes of waking up. Being comfortable all the time can be subconsciously demotivating, so putting on an outfit you could leave the house in will help you get into work mode. Don’t be uncomfortable, just get out of your PJs when you’re making your morning coffee or tea.
Take a real break at some point during the day to eat a meal and decompress your whole system, even if you find it hard to do. Legally, breaks are required to be given to and taken by employees of businesses in the US, so why not give yourself a break?
Take out your lovely lunchbox from the night before or whip up something that only needs quick assembly and unplug for a little. It’s tempting to browse online when on a cam break, but your eyes likely need a real break from the computer screen, so try to get fresh air, do simple stretches or practice self care instead.
Finally, chip away at your bigger work goals a little bit each day.
If you want to have a popular blog, spend 30 minutes or an hour each day working on it. If you need to learn how to edit videos, spend a little time each day watching tutorials and practicing until you get the hang. It will be easier to achieve your goals when you break them down into concrete steps and devote time each day to accomplish them. Don’t forget to write this into your schedule, too!
I hope these tips spark some ideas about what it takes to create a productive day and inspire you to adopt different habits to best facilitate your success. Nothing presented in this article is revolutionary, but it’s often the most simple and basic principles that need to be revisited and consistently applied when anything starts to get stagnant or overwhelming.
Preparation is key, and few successes have come from unplanned passivity. Just ask Wayne Gretzky.
What helps you break through a lack of motivation as a work from home model? Let us know on Twitter if you have a method or tip that works for you!
Anouk Gilmour is a registered yoga teacher at the 200-hour level. Eight years after trying camming in college, she is an amateur adult model again. Find her on Twitter at @anoukgilmour.