Top 10 WFH Hacks for a productive and strategic mindset
We are all learning how to navigate the new normal. For me, one of the biggest adjustments was being away from our team daily and sitting face-to-face in an open office. I’m a big advocator of this type of working space, especially working in communications where the ideas, collaboration and creatively flow so easily being next to your teammates every day. So how do we adjust?
Here are some healthy habits that have helped really improved my mindset when working from home and have made me much more strategic and productive in the process.
- Establish a set schedule
One of the best things we can all do is keep our schedules as “normal” as possible. Our bodies and minds love routine, so it’s important to develop and sustain these routines while at home. Your pre-workday hours are just as important as they help set you up for success the rest of the day. Make sure you are waking up at the same time each morning (no rolling into those Zoom calls out of bed at 8:58 am!), get out of your PJs, have your coffee and get a good meal (and perhaps a workout!) in before you log on.
- Create a solid working environment
Another thing that worked well for me was establishing a place within my apartment that was just for work – this helps separate the “down time” from the “work time.” Once I arranged my dining room table and made sure to take work away from the couch, I was easily able to find my pace again. I also try and keep my new working space as neat and tidy with all the items I would normally need throughout the day to keep me on track. Keep me on track with this keep me on track with work
- Check in with your team face-to-face daily
Not seeing or being with your colleagues can turn into a challenge. While many of us would prefer to turn off the video function of our conference calls off, being able to see each other and interact face-to-face made us much more productive and social. It also helps to keep those creative juices flowing!
- Outline your tasks each morning
At Active, we are all in the routine of outlining our daily tasks – or “hits” as we like to call them – each morning. Working from home now, this has become my saving grace. It helps keep me on track and outline the day to make sure I’m allocating enough time for each project. We also share out tasks with each other to keep us accountable and make sure key projects are moving along.
- Move more
It’s too easy to get stuck at your computer when you are sitting there all alone! Something that has worked well for me, and encouraged by our MDs, is to make sure we are getting time away from the screen to move our legs. I like to set a timing on my phone for about every 30 minutes to do something away from the desk like walking onto the balcony, stretching or calling one of my teammates for a catch up. I’m also a big advocator of lunchtime workouts!
- Clear your head
Our brains are working at max capacity when we are working on projects on our own without having our colleagues around us. That’s why I’ve now started to really put aside 10 minutes or so each morning before logging into work to clear my head, breath and establish mindfulness. Try adding this to your morning routines, and I promise you’ll become more focused and feel better mentally.
- Schedule time with your self for creative brainstorming
There is nothing wrong with blocking out time on your calendar for thinking and brainstorming. Since this isn’t happening in our office environment, it’s more important than ever. I like to call these “staff meetings with myself.” 😊
- Be mindful about the news you are consuming
Working in communications, it’s hard to stay away from the news. But where do we draw the line when there are new developments almost every hour? My recommendations are to skim the daily news in the morning, set up Google Alerts for the news you absolutely need throughout the day, and then subscribe to news aggregators to summarize the days happenings towards the end of the day. Some of my favorite news aggregators include The Skimm and HuffPost Morning Email (both of which come into your inbox in the afternoon Dubai time!).
- Open up about your challenges
One thing we really must remember is that everyone – from every sector and every part of the world – is going through the same thing right now. It’s ok to express what you are feeling or struggling with. Be open with your colleagues and bosses when things feel tough or aren’t working. Check in with your team to make sure they are doing OK too. This is the time to support each other as best we can.
- Think about the new habits you want to initiate into your routine post-quarantine
It’s truly a radical time – nothing will ever be the same after this. It’s also an incredible time to develop new and healthy habits to take with you when we go back to our even newer “normal.” So, use this precious time to initiate new routines by creating consistency now. It could be something as simple as developing more time for mindfulness or blocking out time in your calendar for creativity and brainstorming.
By Lauren Brush, Associate Account Director, Active DMC