Tips for working from home productively

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How to stay productive and healthy while working from home …

COVID-19 has the potential to change how we work forever – Bloomberg estimates that the Coronavirus could cost the global economy $2.7 trillion. A lockout is almost certain for any Country in the future with a virus that has the risk of spreading.

More companies will embrace mobile working in order to mitigate risk, maintain service and reduce costs. So…

Is working from home good or bad?

Some people love to work from home and they get much done but others find it distracting and difficult to concentrate. It doesn’t matter which camp you are in, with the current lockdown we are facing a prolonged and restricted life, which we need to adapt to.

How we perceive a situation has a huge impact on our emotions. What are the positives to the current situation? You are likely to have a reduced commute, which means you may be gaining 1-3 hours each day. You will have the ability to take that time and invest in:

  • Personal relationships
  • Developing habits such as a meditation practice, exercise, reading etc
  • Helping a child with schooling
  • A new hobby
  • DIY? (probably not)

There is always a way to turn a negative into a positive. Despite the fact that my holiday to Egypt was cancelled, my son is being home schooled and can be ‘difficult’, our rugby tour was cancelled and I can’t go to the pub anymore… So what did I do? What positive did I take? I bought a puppy!

What can you do to turn a negative situation into a positive one?

There are many challenges associated with working from home, including:

  • Distractions
  • Lack of collaboration
  • Unable to focus
  • Poor time management
  • You don’t move as much, so you put on weight

But there are some specific challenges that we are facing during Lockdown:

  • Anxiety – what will happen?
  • Unable to exercise
  • More distractions with children being at home
  • Social isolation
  • Feeling trapped

There are some practical things that can help, for example having a solid morning routine which will prime your day for success. There are 7 steps to build a morning routine:

  1. What do you want to build in?
  2. Understand your Why?
  3. Prime the night before
  4. Time your morning routine
  5. Make it visible
  6. Track it
  7. Stay accountable

Especially at the moment, it is a great idea to be able to involve your family in some aspects of your morning routine. A few examples of good ideas to build into your routine are:

  • Weigh
  • Drink 500ml of water
  • Take supplements
  • Vibration Plate
  • Meditation
  • Heart coherence training
  • Bulletproof Coffee
  • Journaling
  • Spend time with the family
  • Get some sun on your face
  • Cold shower
  • X3 Bar – strength training
  • Prayer
  • High Intensity Exercise
  • Reading something uplifting
  • Stretching / yoga
  • Breathing exercises
  • Go for a short walk
  • Learn something new
  • Choose a positive mantra
  • Listen to music
  • Eat breakfast

And some bad ideas are:

  • Check social media
  • Check the news
  • Plan out your day
  • Check email
  • Watch TV

Our brain is a supercomputer, our best friend and our worst enemy

It is a good idea to identify and manage your stress. For example, don’t fall into CNN (Crisis News Network) – perhaps try checking  the news infrequently, limiting your Social Media and focus only on what you can control. I know many people (myself included) who have a daily gratitude practice. This can include writing a morning journal to clear your head of thoughts, chatting to your children at bedtime about what they are grateful for and meditation.

Meditation and Mindfulness

If you are interested in maintaining a daily mindfulness/meditation practice, the Headspce or Calm app is a good place to start. A 2015 review confirmed that meditation has a positive impact on your neurotransmitters, which regulate your mood, behaviour and anxiety. Higher cortisol levels are an indicator of stress  and a 2016 study showed a significant reduction in cortisol levels after 21 days of meditation. A 1995 study found that running & meditation had similar impacts on mood.

Working from home can mean you don’t exercise enough

If you can, I suggest buying a standing desk (Vari) and a walking treadmill (I have the PremierFit DW70). Get out once a day for a walk (hopefully in the sunshine) and try Master time efficient exercise such as the 7 minute workout – search on your App Store – or Strength training (X3 bar)

Distractions in the home

When you are distracted by family, it’s not their fault – it is probably yours! Make it clear when you can and can’t be disturbed and set clear boundaries and visual cues – such as closing doors. Notes, headphones and even lights work well. It is important to schedule time to spend with them, just as  you would do with your colleagues. Always use noise cancelling headphones, just in case you do get interrupted/disturbed in the middle of a call. I also recommend that you install content blockers for when you need to do deep work – The Top 10

Make the most of the time you have

  • Plan your day the night before with a clear set of things you want to achieve
  • Share these with your partner or colleagues to keep you accountable
  • Use L’Theanine (amino acid) to help you focus – active ingredient in green tea
  • Switch up your location – make use of your garden

Use binaural beats to trick your brain into an alpha or theta state

There are two different frequencies which are simultaneously played in each ear. The brain gets confused and makes up the difference – this is called a binaural beat. This binaural beat then makes the brain go into a frequency following response and produces brainwaves at that frequency Spotify playlist

Communication with friends, family and colleagues

Something I have found especially helpful and popular at the moment, is to switch your communication to primarily video. Skype and Zoom allow you to connect at a deeper level and give you the sensation of being with people. Remember to be tolerant of others if there is background noise / interruptions – a lot of people are working from home at the moment and so more tolerance from colleagues is extremely important. Don’t just use this technology to connect with colleagues – use it to connect with family and friends as well.

Boosting your immune system

This is highly recommended in these unprecedented times. I suggest taking some or all of the following:

  • Vitamin C (preferably liposomal)
  • Vitamin D
  • Zinc (with copper)
  • Curcumin
  • Glutathione (must be liposomal)

Sourcing can be challenging, some brands I use are:

  • Life Extension
  • Bulletproof
  • Quick Silver Scientific
  • Altrient
  • SolaRay

However, the best thing to boost your immune system is sleep.

Sleep is the cornerstone of your performance

I recommend trying the following if you’re having difficulty sleeping, especially at this time when rest is so important for your physical and mental health:

  • Track your sleep using an Oura Ring
  • Don’t consume any caffeine after 2pm & earlier if you’re sensitive
  • Sleep in a cave – make sure the room is completely dark – invest in some blackout curtains and tape up any LEDs
  • Keep the room cool – aim for the room to be 18.5 degrees.  Chilipad is becoming popular
  • Avoid all electronic devices at least 1 hour before bedtime. If you need to work late, install f.lux on your computer to block out the blue light or buy a pair of blue blocking glasses
  • Take a magnesium supplement – most people are deficient in magnesium and   supplementing this mineral can make big improvements to the quality of sleep
  • Don’t exercise within 2 hours of bedtime – it increases your adrenaline levels, heart rate, and body temperature, making it difficult to fall asleep
  • Get to bed before 11pm – because of your circadian rhythm, if you are awake after this time your cortisol level rises and you’ll get a second wind
  • Write a journal for 10 minutes before going to bed to empty your head and stop yourself from overthinking as you try and drift off to sleep
  • Combine 2 tablespoons of apple cider vinegar, 1 tablespoon of honey into 1 cup of decaffeinated tea. This pre-bed cocktail will knock you out.

About Nick

Nick Powell is the founder of Stronger Self and he works with entrepreneurs and senior leaders to enable them to take their personal and professional performance to the next level.

Nick’s approach uses cutting edge tools and techniques from the worlds of biohacking, productivity, anti-aging and neuroscience; harnessing the exciting intersection between biology and technology.

Nick has developed his Peak Performance Coaching Programmes to enable his clients to deliver extraordinary results across all aspects of their personal and professional lives.

He runs his Coaching sessions face to face in London & Surrey and across the World via Zoom.

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