Last Updated on 14th February 2024 by Sarah Sarsby

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Amid the Coronavirus outbreak and the negative impacts it’s having on everyday life, I’ve decided to share my top tips for staying productive when working from home.

The Coronavirus pandemic is real, it’s scary and it’s caused a lot of disruption. People are being told to self-isolate, businesses are struggling and people are losing their jobs. It’s a surreal situation that we’ve never experienced before.

I can’t find the words to express how devastating the COVID-19 outbreak is for some people. Fortunately, my family are well and I still have my job but for others, this is sadly not the case. I’m so sorry for these people and I can’t imagine how traumatic this is for them. If you’ve lost your job, I really hope you find another one ASAP or at least find a way to earn a bit of money while the pandemic is going on.

All I can do is offer is my guidance, support and advice. For people that have lost their jobs, there are so many services that are completely overrun and stretched. You could try applying for a job at your local supermarket, become a carer or delivery driver, or see if any retail stores selling essentials have any jobs going. Alternatively, you could try and see if you can get a job working from home.

This post is for people that have managed to retain their jobs but are now working from home. It’s also great for anyone that works from home normally but wants to be more productive in their everyday life.

Working from home can come with distractions, a lack of structure and blurred lines between work and leisure in your home. This post will help you stay productive – both at home and during work hours – and give you 9 handy tips for keeping a healthy work-life balance. I hope you find it useful!

If you’re currently looking for work from home, visit Jooble to check out the latest jobs.

Top tips

1. Create a daily to-do list

Having a list of tasks to complete each day can help you feel motivated and focused. Even if your list contains simple and mundane tasks like “change bedsheets” or “dust room”, you’re still concentrating your efforts into being productive.

It doesn’t matter if you don’t complete your list but the point of it is to retain structure and meaning in your life.

2. Exercise

When you’ve completed a workout, you and your body feel great. It’s important to keep exercising as when you work from home, you can find yourself staying in one place for waaaay too long. Plus, it’s another way to keep structure to your everyday life.

You don’t necessarily need weights, benches and medicine balls at home, just a workout mat or yoga mat. There are some great free workout videos on YouTube for you to follow using just a mat. My favourites are the HIIT workouts from The Body Coach TV and yoga practices from Yoga with Adriene.

You can check out my experience of Yoga with Adriene’s Dedicate 30 Day Yoga Journey here.

3. Block your time out

Besides your 9-5 work routine, working from home can feel very unstructured. A great way to add structure is to block your time out so you can map out what you’re going to do for that day.

What do I mean by blocking your time out? It means scheduling out each and every hour of your day. This might sound OTT but it’s a great way to help you stay productive and focused. Plus, it ensures you don’t waste time binge-watching Netflix!

Blocking out your time might look something like this:

6am – Wake up
6:15am-6:45am – Exercise
7am-7:20am – Eat breakfast and do skincare routine
7:20am-8am – Blog
8am-8:15am – Journal and make coffee
8:15am-12:30pm – Work (I keep my work hours specifically vague as I log what I do each day for work separately from my life routine)
12:30pm-1:30pm – Lunch break – make lunch, yoga practice and chill
1:30pm-5pm – Work
5pm-6pm – Make and eat dinner
6pm-7pm – Chores
7pm-8:30pm – Blog
8:30pm-10pm – Night-time skincare routine, read magazines, watch TV and get ready for bed
10pm – Go to sleep

This looks a lot like my everyday routine but sometimes I switch it up and other times, I don’t do much at all. The point is creating a routine that works for you.

4. Start your day off right

CGD London 2019-2020 Goals Diary image

This point is essential for staying productive when working from home. Your morning routine sets the tone for the day. If you wake up feeling rushed and grouchy, that’s going to stick with you throughout the day. If you wake up with enough time, exercise before work and do some things for you, then you’re going to feel better about the day ahead.

Yoga is a great way to start your day off right as it helps wake up your mind and body gently. Having a healthy breakfast also helps fuel your body the right way for the day ahead. I personally love having granola and Greek yoghurt every morning.

For further tips on establishing a healthy morning routine, you can read my full post on how to start your day off right here.

5. Communicate with your colleagues

One of the main dislikes that crops up when working from home is not having social contact. This is obviously now even more exaggerated with the Coronavirus landscape as we have to practice social distancing and minimise contact as much as possible.

However, you can still have a phone call or video call with your colleagues to keep that communication open. Just because you can’t see them face-to-face, it doesn’t mean you can’t call them.

It’s good to check in with your colleagues to see how their days are going and what they’re working on, just as you would in your usual office environment. This way, you’re still keeping the contact and won’t feel so lonely.

6. Try new lunches

You don’t need to worry about meal prep so much when you’re working from home as you can use your lunch break to make a delicious lunch.

Whilst I still meal prep to make things easy, you could have eggs on toast, make an omelette, have a jacket potato etc. These lunches are harder to make when you’re at work where there might not be the same facilities to make food. Or, if like me, you don’t make food at work because you’re not a fan of communal kitchens.

But play around with new and tasty lunches while you’re at home, it’ll be a welcome addition to your day.

7. Don’t get distracted by your phone

Spending time on your phone whilst at home can be so tempting. But it’s distracting and you can easily find yourself spending half an hour on your phone when you should be working.

Treat working from home like you would a day in the office. Don’t be distracted by your phone and only check it very sporadically. Turn it on silent or aeroplane mode if you have to!

8. Keep a diary

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Keeping a diary is a good thing to do anyway but it can add more structure to your life when you’re at home. It allows you to see what you’ve got planned for the week ahead, including any work meetings, appointments, deadlines etc. A diary could also help you see how varied your life is if you’re feeling stuck in a rut.

You could try using different coloured pens to separate work-related items from your life items.

9. Be kind to yourself

If you have a day where you just laze around and do nothing, that’s fine. We all need days where we just do nothing and look after ourselves.

The whole point of this post is to help you stay productive when working from home. However, part of that process is listening to your mind and body, and if you’re feeling overworked and fatigued, take the time to chill out.

I hope you enjoyed reading my 9 top tips on how to stay productive when working from home. I love keeping busy and focused, so this post felt very natural for me to put together.

What tips do you have for staying productive? I’d love to hear some of your methods in the comments below