Maximizing Productivity: Expert Tips on How to Work from Home Effectively

Photo by Peter Olexa on

Let’s take a step back, breathe, and appreciate everyone for managing work from home for past 5-6 months. It is not easy! I struggled with managing my schedule, my sleep, my anxiety and overall, my mental and physical health went out of the window when WFH initially began. Note—this is my first job, and so many people around the world would have joined a company via virtual onboarding (including my brother), and it challenges you to face a lot of obstacles making that learning curve quite steep. However, I feel a lot more in control now—I have learned many things along the way and here I am, to share with you my ten tips for managing WFH effectively.


1. Sleep early.
2. Have your breakfast.
3. Take time to meditate/exercise/stretch your body.
4. Start by doing the most difficult task first.
5. Write down your daily tasks. Break the bigger tasks into smaller doable steps.
6. Take breaks.
7. Minimise your social media distraction.
8. Follow a strict no-work policy after finishing your work hours.
9. Spend time with your loved ones.
10. Create time for things you love to do.

1. Sleep early.

Undoubtedly, many would agree that having good sleep every night ensures your next day does not make you feel groggy and irritated. That, in turn, helps you work productively and positively. Before starting work, I was a dedicated night person. I would sleep at 3 or 4 am and wake up past 11 pm. After starting my job, I took time and efforts to improve my sleep schedule to wake up early and not rush through the day. Yes, with discipline and consistency, you can build the habit of waking up early. But that requires you to chuck your electronic devices aside an hour or two before bed. *phone blinks*

2. Have your breakfast (and other meals).

I wasn’t a fan of having food early in the morning simply because I woke up late. But building habits is like playing with blocks. You need to stack each habit one after the other and not start it altogether. So when you start waking up early, ensure you have your breakfast. Skipping your breakfast will only make your stomach grumbling sounds amplified. Do not drink hot beverages like coffee or tea in an empty stomach. Take time and prepare something that will boost your energy. Like a lovely friend of mine said, you can’t win a war with an empty stomach.

3.  Take time to meditate/exercise/stretch your body.

WFH can take a toll on your physical health as the long work hours just makes sitting the only viable way to resolve all your daily work tasks from your laptop. It is easy to fall in trap of checking your emails, sending reports, and start the work without even taking time out for yourself first thing in the morning (guilty). It is okay if some days don’t work out accordingly, but try getting into a routine of taking care of your emotional, mental and physical well being. Take it as an investment for the long term. I start my day meditating and stretching and after work, going for walks is what I am trying to be consistent in.

4. Start by doing the most difficult task first.

I have fallen in this loop of procrastinating on delaying my actions in completing difficult or time-consuming tasks and straightaway head for finishing smaller tasks. As satisfying as it seems, not completing an important task of the day only pushes it towards more pending work for the next day. Trying breaking bigger tasks into smaller chunks and complete as much as you can for the day. Leave the rest for the next. Also, try reading ‘Eat That Frog‘ by Brian Tracy for better tips on productivity.

5. Write your daily tasks. Break the bigger tasks into smaller doable steps.

In continuation to my above point, breaking your steps and only making a mental note will create an unnecessary burden on your already overworked brain. Use apps (like Trello, MS Word, To-do list, etc.) or good old pen and paper to jot down your tasks. The more clarity you have, the easier it is to finish a task. Understand and write your priority tasks down and try completing them one at a time.

6. Take breaks.

Seriously. Take breaks. Use Pomodoro technique, block out time on your calendar, set alarms. Find what works for you and take breaks. Burning out can be highly demotivating and especially with WFH, where you do not get to socialise and have your regular lunch/coffee breaks—it can be overwhelming to deal with your work effectively. Breaks are important. If you slog like a machine, be prepared to be broken down by one.

7. Minimise your social media distraction.

Let’s face it—we all scroll through our favourite social media apps and it consumes quite some time in our daily lives. But beware of mindless scrolling—where your urge to check out social media apps overpowers the will to deal with the task in hand. If you read ‘Make Time‘ by Jake Knapp and John Zeratsky, you will realise how much efforts go into making an app very difficult for you to ignore. Your time is their money. This is the simplest equation. I am not crusading a movement against social media apps, but I have worked my way in minimising the use of social media and focus working on my skills and mental health. Treat it like sugar, unhealthy in excessive doses.

8. Follow a strict no-work policy after finishing your work hours.

Gone are the days (thankfully), where I would stretch my work hours to finish as many tasks as possible and push myself at the verge of insanity. Ya no. This realisation dawned upon me after reading Parkinson’s Law, which states, work expands to fill the time that we allocate to it. Thanks to this video and the book, I am more aware of how to spend my time on health, family and work/hobbies/skills etc. Resist the urge to check that one last email. Completely go incognito on weekends. If you respect your time and boundaries, people around you will understand (hopefully).

9. Spend time with your dear ones.

Video call, audio call, Zoom call, Skype call—you name it and there is one way or another to get in touch with your family, relatives, friends and acquaintances. We are social beings and with pandemic keeping us tightly locked inside our homes for months, catching up with your loved ones and knowing they are floating in the same boat can provide you solace from the daily grind. Be grateful for the quality time you can spend with people who motivate, love and have the best interest for you in their hearts. There, there—virtual hug to you too!

10. Create time for things you love to do.

Do you like to read? Write? Paint? Polish your furniture? Organise your desk? Gardening? Continue doing the activities that keep you happy when you get time off work. Keep your hobbies alive, the more you grow older, the harder it gets to hold on to that inner child which bursts with curiosity, inventiveness, passion and energy. Don’t let it wither with reality.

I completely understand that not all of my points can cater to everybody—WFH employees have to juggle with children, adults, dependants, responsibilities and many other factors including the type of work that influences how you manage your work. With that being said, I hope this post has positively helped in giving you an insight on how to make your WFH experience a tad bit more agreeable.

Thank you so much for reading this post. Cheers!

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.

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A closet writer with a knack for adding vivid, witty & personal details. I love coffee, books and food. Highly appreciate lo-fi music and illustrations. Borderline obsessed with stationery, productivity and organisation tools. Always in search of adventures & stories by travelling or being buried in books. Current Status ↠ Growing plants in my room. Life Goals ↠ Spark conversations, ideas & inspiration with a cup of mild roasted black coffee.

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