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PULSÍTOS: Tips for working from home during COVID-19

Since leaving the corporate world and setting up my first business, I’ve turned my modest flat into my Hoffice. In that time, I’ve come to better understand both the way I work and the way my home office works and how to make them work together so that I can stay productive and motivated.

It can be a bit of a mental challenge ending a relaxing Sunday evening and starting a working Monday morning in the same place (with a commute of zero minutes!).

For many, working from home used to be a luxury every once in a while. However, with the Covid-19 lockdown that seems to have completely flipped and now lots of you probably find yourselves working in an unfamiliar environment for…well who knows how long.

So, here are some tips that I’ve picked up that may help make this period as productive (and dare I say enjoyable) as it can be:

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1.     START EARLY - Start your day earlier than you would normally. With no commute to wake you up, you may as well get going earlier this end so that you can finish earlier that end. I start the day with a coffee and fire up my laptop at the same time. I think about breakfast much later than I used to and only start to feel hungry around 10am. By the time I’m sitting down to the first meal of the day, I’ve already got a few hours under my belt. Winner.

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2.     GET CHANGED - I never work in my pyjamas and I suggest you don’t either. Like it or lump it, wearing a suit, formal attire or a uniform is a way of signalling to your brain that it’s “worktime” and it should be no different when working from the home office. I’m always comfortable but look very different on Mondays than I do on Sundays!

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3.     OFFICE SPACE - If you can, create a dedicated office space and let whoever you live with know that it's where you work from. Use a comfortable chair too – preferably a different one to those at your kitchen table. Dining table chairs are not made to be sat in for hours on end every day so getting a proper office chair will save your back, your energy and your sanity (plus it will make the feeling of switching to the dining table chair for meal time a really nice feeling – trust me!).

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4.     PLAN YOUR DAY AND STICK TO IT – The busier you are, the more you’ll get done. Just ask my mother-in-law, the busiest human being I’ve ever met. I plan everyday with almost military precision by putting everything in it (apart from unexpected calls of nature of course!). I always overestimate how long something will take meaning that at the end of the day I usually have a nice bunch of ticks running down the DONE column on my To Do List.

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5.     SUB AN EMAIL FOR A PHONE CALL - If working from home is new to you, then pick up the phone every now and again instead of emailing. Not only is it nice to change it up every once in a while but with so many people in the same boat, hearing another person’s voice may just be the pick me up you need! Plus, people always come across more curt over email. So if you're having a challenging day, pick up the dog and bone instead of misinterpreting words on a screen and risking getting it wrong.

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6.     LISTEN TO MUSIC – I always listen to music when I’m working. It doesn’t quite replace the humdrum of a full office, but it does help keep me focused plus when a real banger comes in it instantly lifts my mood and I might just throw down some shapes (in the privacy of my own home my terrible dancing is just about permissible).

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7.     MOVE – There are a plethora of online fitness or yoga videos right now – it’s never been easier to find something that interests you and do it from the comfort of your living room. Factor it in to every day and stick to it. Just simply walking to the tube, bus, train or out to get lunch is something you can’t really do at the moment and is probably just the right amount of movement your body needs each day to stay limber and relaxed. Replace it with something new and you’ll feel much better.

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8.     FOOD – Finally, treat EVERY meal as a special occasion. It’s something to work towards and an opportunity to switch off from work for the duration - I turn my phone off and don't check my emails during mealtimes. I also like to snack on something healthy and savoury throughout the day too, it keeps my energy levels up and my desire for sugary treats down.

Let me know what routine is getting you through and if you have any tips that I've missed.

Good luck and stay healthy.

Sean

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