Written by Tenley Haraldson.
The last couple of years have been something. And whether we like it or not, many of us have been relegated to working from home (WFH). And for those with children at home, productivity can really feel like an uphill battle.
To help you out, we’ve put together a simple checklist to keep you – and your home office – as organized possible. You’ve got this!
1. Create a Work-at-Home Schedule
Set aside a few minutes each day to work on your upcoming schedule (we’re partial to bullet journalling). Be reasonable and ensure that you have enough time to accomplish daily responsibilities within a set timeframe. When work days are planned out, you’re less likely to dawdle and more likely to accomplish tasks.
You may need to make adjustments, so keep at it until you find an organizational system that works for you.
2. Parents Should Make a Daily Routine for Their Kids
If children are out of school, you may be serving as a parent, babysitter, chef, and teacher. Routines are essential for kids’ needs and help keep them happy (and staying on-task will maintain your “cool as a cucumber” vibe):
- List everything that needs to happen each day, like brushing teeth, getting dressed, lunchtime, learning tasks, and play time.
- Set a wake time and bedtime, then fit the rest of their necessary tasks into the day. Tasks with set times (i.e. virtual classrooms) should be the first tasks to consider.
- Schedule outdoor/physical playtime. The CDC recommends three hours of physical activity for kids ages three to five, and at least one hour for kids ages six and up.
- Where can children’s tasks overlap? Can learning happen for everyone simultaneously? Can some kids have quiet time while others nap?
- Consider shortening, eliminating, or moving certain elements to different days if you can’t fit it all in.
- Walk your kids through their new schedule and be flexible if they offer reasonable requests.
- Blocks of transition time can allow for mishaps and delays (life happens!).
As everyone adjusts, the first few days may feel a bit rough. Keep trying until it works!
3. Get Enough Sleep
When you’re WFH, it can be easy to lose track of time. But getting 7-9 hours of sleep is one of the best ways to maximize productivity.
Here are some simple, mostly achievable tips for better sleep habits:
- Stick to a sleep schedule, even on weekends.
- Practice a pre-bedtime routine or ritual (like a warm bath, reading, or meditation).
- Get enough daily exercise. Even a brisk, 30-minute walk will benefit you tremendously.
- Avoid caffeine later in the day, since it reduces your sleep quality and duration.
- Turn off electronic devices 30 minutes before bed (1-2 hours before is ideal).
- Try to keep your room’s temperature between 60 and 67ºF.
4. Build a Comfortable Home Workstation
A functional and comfortable home workstation can dramatically boost your focus:
- Follow the 20-20-20 rule: Every 20 minutes, take a break from your screen to look at something 20 feet away (for at least 20 seconds).
- Use blue light-blocking computer glasses.
- Try computer software that automatically adjusts screen brightness.
- Reduce glare with an anti-glare screen filter.
Is there space in a spare room, basement, or even the garage? Choose an area that faces a blank wall to eliminate distraction. Then, make sure your work area supports healthy posture:
How to Choose a Work Chair
To avoid muscle strain, your feet should touch the floor while your back rests snugly against your chair. Use a footrest (e.g. stool, pile of books) if your feet don’t reach the floor. Your arms should be benta at a 90º-115º angle to avoid soreness or fatigue while typing. You may need to raise your chair (if it’s adjustable) or sit on a few pillows to raise your height.
Avoid Eye and Neck Strain from Computer Use
Clean up Every Day
Before you end your working day, remove wrappers, crumpled paper, or errant toys that have made their way onto your desk. A spritz of multi-surface spray and swipe of a microfiber towel will create a more motivating workspace the next day.
5. Practice Regular Self-Care
Staying at home for an undetermined amount of time can cause people to feel fear, anxiety, depression, anger, and irritability. Practicing these psychological techniques, however, can help reduce negative thoughts and feelings:
- Identify what you can and can’t control. Choose not to worry about the “can’t” category.
- Journal daily to express your feelings and use a daily gratitude journal.
- Limit news consumption, especially since the media attracts ideas by preying on the public’s tendency to worry.
- Free self-help apps can teach you new ways of thinking in order to practice mindfulness.
- Exercise everyday to ease anxiety.
- Whether it’s a long bubble bath, meditation, or a live DJ stream, do something that lets you disconnect from work/family responsibilities for a while.
- Limit scrolling time by using a social media blocker app.
Practice a Morning Routine
It can be easy to shirk basic grooming habits like showering or wearing anything but pajamas, but your morning care practices set the tone for the rest of your workday.
Implementing a daily shower routine will do wonders to revitalize your senses. Get dressed in comfortable clothing and perform your usual grooming tasks: You’ll feel much more energized and ready to work.
6. Exercise Whenever You Can
Moderate exercise can boost productivity while relieving stress. So even if you’re socially distancing, why not take walks around the neighborhood or play backyard games with your family? If the weather keeps you inside, move your body with exercise apps or living room yoga courses.
7. Get Outside
It’s tempting to sit on the couch and binge-watch your favorite series at the end of a long day, but fresh air is a great concentration booster and sunlight helps raise serotonin levels, too.
Have to meet a deadline but the weather’s nice? Open the windows for a more invigorated, motivated you.
8. Stay Hydrated
- Process and dispose of waste
- Keep a normal temperature
- Maintain a healthy immune system
- Protect sensitive tissues and joints
- Energize your muscles
- Keep your skin healthy and clear
- Maintain normal bowel function
Generally speaking, you should drink fluids every time you feel thirsty. But multiple factors can influence the amount of water you need, including exercise, heat and humidity levels, overall health, and whether you’re pregnant or breastfeeding.
Easy Ways to Stay Hydrated
While sugary beverages will hydrate you, they’ll affect your daily caloric intake. Try these natural alternatives to sugary juice and sodas instead:
- Flavored water
- Seltzer/soda water
- Herbal tea
Add some flavor to your water by squeezing in a little lemon or lime juice (or muddle fresh mint leaves).
9. Eat a Little Healthier
During deadline season, it’s so easy to fall into a junk food trap. To maintain a healthy immune system, remain energized, and stay productive, opt for healthy food like:
- Plain yogurt and cottage cheese
- Fresh fruits and vegetables
- Nuts and natural nut butters
- Hard-boiled eggs
- Dried fruit
Follow Serving Sizes
While healthy foods are great, try to stick to the recommended serving sizes listed on nutrition labels. For foods without labels, it’s easy to look up their nutrition values.
Follow these tips for more healthful eating habits:
- Instead of eating directly out of the bag, measure portions and eat from a plate or bowl.
- Avoid fast foods and restaurant foods (which are loaded with calories and trans fats).
- Eat high-protein foods which can help suppress your appetite and stave off binging.
- Drink a glass of water before and during your meal.
- Snack on fruits and vegetables to keep you full longer.
Create a Meal Plan
Choose one day a week to plan upcoming meals, shop, and pre-cook as much as possible. Ask your family members for input – you might discover some new favorite foods in the process!
You’ll save money by experimenting with leftovers (Fun fact: Nearly anything can fit in a tortilla!). You can also save unnecessary trips to the store by rooting through your pantry and fridge for new recipe inspiration.
10. Stay in Touch with Friends
Loneliness is a major drawback of remote work, and social lives have obviously felt a lot more isolated. Even if you’re distancing, you can keep your social life going by:
- Having virtual “water cooler” breaks with fellow employees via Slack or video chats.
- Set up an afterwork group chat with “the girls” or “the guys” – complete with adult beverages.
- Play virtual games together via social gaming apps.
- Creating a “social bubble” of the people closest to you.
11. Start (or Continue) a Hobby
There’s no better time to pick up a hobby. Check YouTube for how-to videos, investigate new hobby ideas, walk down the aisles of craft stores, the sky’s the limit.
Who knows? Developing a new pastime could lead to:
- A new source of income
- Meeting new friends with similar interests
- Stress relief
- A healthier physique
- A new outlet for self-expression
12. Don’t Be Afraid to Ask for Help
When you’re trying to balance meetings, hit deadlines, and deal with screaming children, you might want to do some screaming yourself. Why not consider booking a regular online therapy session or seeking out therapists in your area. There are plenty of affordable options that will work around your busy schedule.
To survive the chaos, you need to communicate clearly with others in your life. If your partner is working from home, ask them for assistance whenever you need it. Maybe they could take the kids on a walk or lend a hand with meal prep. Your partner can’t read your mind, so specify exactly what you need, how they can help, and then be prepared to reciprocate.
13. Set Work Boundaries...
Just because you’re WFH doesn’t mean you have endless time to do everything that’s thrown at you.
Your boss probably doesn’t understand what you’re dealing with, so be transparent by sharing your active work hours, creating clear “no-contact” times, and asking for accommodation when it’s necessary (e.g. fewer meetings, a slightly-adjusted workload, extended timelines).
14. ...Then Set Family Boundaries
With you working from home, your kids will probably have extra demands. Your partner may occasionally make unreasonable requests. When you’re in “work mode,” however, your family needs to understand that “no means no.”
- Set non-negotiable “work times” when you can’t be disturbed.
- Place a flippable sign on your workspace’s door to visually tell family members when it’s okay to knock (and when to steer clear).
- If possible, ask your partner to manage all child-related needs during specific working times. Do the same when it’s their turn.
15. Clean for 10-15 Minutes Every Day
It’s inevitable: When you spend more time at home, more messes pile up. Since disorganized houses are a major distraction, nip things in the bud by setting aside 10-15 minutes each day to tackle smaller messes.
Waiting for your coffee? Wipe down counters or sweep the floor. Kids brushing their teeth? Clean the bathroom mirror or give the toilet a quick swish. When it’s finally time to deep-clean your kitchen or bathroom, things will feel a lot more manageable. Even young kids can help out with cleaning tasks, so set a timer to treat cleaning like a fun activity (rather than a chore).
Puracy Is Here to Help
With its 99.51% natural formula, Puracy Surface Cleaner has been formulated to be safely used around your smallest family members. Since you’re strapped for time, you don’t need to switch between a slew of cleaning products: This one cleans nearly every surface in your home.
Though the past few years have felt strange and uncertain, Puracy provides the same gentle and effective plant-based products it always has. That’s our promise to you.