8 Tips to Actually Work From Home Productively

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Working from home is the “new normal” now.

That’s amazing, isn’t it? Think shorter commutes, cheaper meals and more flexible work schedules!

Or… has your productivity declined?

Are you surrounded by distractions at home?

Even mourning the loss of your CBD office life?

We can’t help you with the last one, BUT we’ve got a boatload of tricks and hacks here to help you stay afloat in a sea of distraction.

Use them to set yourself up for work from home success!

ResumeWriter Tip: Want to take on home based jobs? Why not consider one of these popular work from home jobs in Singapore? Before applying though, make sure your CV is up to scratch. If you need a second pair of eyes on your CV, reach out to us for free CV feedback.

 

How to Work From Home in Singapore (Productively)

1. Set Up Your Dedicated Workspace
2. Dress the Part
3. Sleep Early, Rise Early
4. Structure Your Day
5. Save Calls for the Afternoon
6. Maintain Regular Hours
7. Communicate Expectations and Boundaries
8. Stay Connected

 

1. Set Up Your Dedicated Workspace

Does your workspace look like this?


 
Or this?

If it does, you’re doing it wrong!

As tempting as it is to lounge in bed with your laptop, it’s definitely not the most productive way of working (not to mention terrible for your posture!)

Working in bed blurs the lines between your work time and rest time, and will create unnecessary stress for you when you do actually need to sleep or relax. The comfort of your bed will also turn you sluggish as the day drags on.

To work from home productively, create a fixed, conducive environment of your own. It helps to have a proper work desk and area set up. It’ll get you in the right state of mind for work.

Work only from your desk or dedicated area at the start of the day, and leave your work there at the end of each day.

Keep your work area clean and clutter-free too to minimise distractions as far as possible.

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2. Dress the Part

You might have heard this piece of advice before: “Dress for the job you want, not the job you have.”

Dressing the part is an interesting and powerful psychological hack.

It makes sense in the office. Gunning for a promotion? People evaluate and form perceptions of you based on how you dress, so you’d benefit from dressing like the senior leader you want to be.

But it’s more than just what others think. It’s also about the frame of mind you put yourself in.

That’s why this saying makes just as much sense when you’re working from home.

If you stay in your pajamas or home clothes all day, your mind tells you: “I’m not at work. It’s time to relax and get comfortable.”

Instead, dress in a way that energises you, or even in the same professional attire you would have worn to your office. This sends a signal your mind: “I’m ready to conquer my work day!”

Dressing properly (or even just decently) has an added benefit.

It could save you from potential embarrassment on work video calls, or from being the subject of a new viral WFH bloopers video…

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3. Sleep Early, Rise Early

Working from home gives you the perfect opportunity to prioritise your sleep and catch a little extra shut eye.

But that doesn’t mean you should sleep in.

If you start your day later, you might be tempted to work later in the evening, and that’s where the trouble starts.

Working late at night can prevent you from effectively switching off from work.

Keep to your normal hours instead, so you can enjoy restful sleep at bedtime.

What about that extra hour you save each morning from your morning commute and/or make up routine?

Create a morning routine to get you into the flow for work. Consider squeezing in some exercise time, or a nice cup of coffee and reading time.

Anything that relaxes you and lifts your mood ahead of work.

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4. Structure Your Day

Ever heard of eating the frog?

Mark Twain once said “If it’s your job to eat a frog, it’s best to do it first thing in the morning. And if it’s your job to eat two frogs, it’s best to eat the biggest one first.”

Strike the hardest task off your to-do list first at the start of your work day. This builds your work momentum which pulls you through the rest of the day.

Identify this toughest task by using the first 5 minutes of each day to craft your to-do list. Prioritise your tasks in order of importance and urgency.

Planning your hours using time blocking – you might know this as the Pomodoro technique – can also be incredibly effective.

This involves breaking up your work day into scheduled time slots with occasional breaks in between.

Why does this work?

Well, intense concentration over a long duration is tiring and difficult to maintain! Setting short breaks for yourself keeps you productive throughout the day.

Each time block also instills a sense of urgency into your tasks – you have to complete your task within those minutes with no extra time to squander.

Try out this Pomodoro Tracker to get started with time blocking.
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5. Save Calls for the Afternoon

Ever get asked to join a ‘15-minute call’, only to have it drag on for over an hour?

It’s even worse when that happens in the morning, when your focus is at its peak.

It’s a terrible way to start the day!

When you’re planning your work day, schedule calls in the afternoon if you can, for the most productive use of your time.

Spend your mornings doing deep work or work that requires your fullest attention instead.
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6. Maintain Regular Hours

When boundaries between work and home aren’t clearly defined, it’s easy for work to unknowingly bleed into your personal life.

Both parts of your life become inseparable, and you may find yourself working longer hours than usual!

To overcome this, set regular work hours, and commit to sticking to them.

Understandably, sticking to a regular work schedule at home might be challenging if you have family members constantly disrupting your state of flow.

Or bosses piling on the work and pressure.

That’s when you’ll need to…
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7. Communicate Expectations and Boundaries

Everyone’s still adapting to this “new normal” of working from home.

Your kids and/or parents are thrilled that you’re home all the time, but might not understand your need for complete focus while you’re working.

Concerned about your progress with work, your boss or manager might want to constantly keep tabs on you, and expect you to deliver more during this challenging business period.

For some, the increased workloads and hours, constant video calls and meetings, could be causes of anxiety and stress.

Overcome this by communicating expectations and boundaries early and clearly.

Speak to your boss to be frank about the constraints and challenges you are facing while working from home, and how they can support you to work more effectively.

For example, instead of video calls several times a day to check on your progress, could you work out a fixed arrangement to send your boss scheduled email updates?

With family members, draw clear lines; let them know the specific hours when you’re working and not to be disturbed.

The situation might be trickier if you have kids. You might still need to plan your schedule around their day, but these could help you:

  • Creating a conducive play space: While you work, your kids can play safely and independently within this area, and you can still check on them from time to time.
  • Planning moments of together time: Plan to break up your work day with 10-20 minute intervals of bonding time with your kids. This allows you to give them the attention that they need, and perhaps even provide moments of stress relief in the midst of your day.
  • Setting rules: For older kids, lay down clear ground rules. For example, if you’re on a work call, ensure your child knows that he or she needs to wait until the call ends to talk to you.
ResumeWriter Tip: Feeling anxious and overwhelmed while working from home? Pick up these practical ways to better manage work stress.

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8. Stay Connected

Working from home can be liberating, but at the same time, isolating.

Our distance from our colleagues can hinder our productivity, and sense of community.

We’re all social creatures, and a long-term lack of social interaction can be unhealthy.

So set aside time to connect purposefully with your colleagues.

Bond over video call lunches together – avoid talking about work, catch up and ask about their personal lives instead.

How about joining an online fitness class together instead? Or invite your team to happy hour drinks (at home) over a call?

Remember – if you feel lonely as a worker, you can’t do your best work because your psychological needs are not met.
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Conclusion

Working from home was once a remote (pun intended) possibility, but COVID-19 has inevitably accelerated digital transitions and made this a reality for many companies.

We’re currently in the midst of the largest work from home experiment ever, and there’s a high chance that someday, most of us will work from home permanently.

So settle in well in your new work from home routine, and set yourself up for success in the long run.

ResumeWriter Tip: Looking for a work from home job in Singapore? Check out these popular home based jobs. And if you need help with your CV before applying, just reach out to us.

 

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