How to Stay Productive and Motivated While Working at Home in NYC

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With Covid-19 forcing millions of people to work from home, the transition to this new lifestyle is certainly not going to be easy for everyone. Chances are you’re already struggling to remain productive during this period owing to the unfamiliar working environment or other distractions at home. Added on top of all that, if you’re living in a huge city like New York, where stress and mental health issues come with the territory, finding effective methods to quickly adjust is necessary for productive work and being healthy mentally.

What’s more, working from home often depends on your self-drive and commitment, both of which can be tough values to uphold with no one supervising you. So, how do you remain productive and motivated then? The following are seven simple tips to keep you on course:

DEDICATE A WORKSPACE IN YOUR HOUSE

Our brains can be slow to adjust to changes in the working environment and thus get distracted more when this happens. But we can minimize this effect by dedicating a space inside your house to mimic your usual office.

While sitting on the couch with your laptop is a cheaper and more convenient option, it can prove unhealthy due to the wrong posture it forces you to assume. Moreover, doing so will expose you to lots of productivity killers in the form of living room distractions.

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If you’re looking for ideas on how to set up a home office or are instead looking for a ready-to-go home with a dedicated workspace, check out these fully furnished apartments which offer more than just a living room.

MINIMIZE SOCIAL INTERACTIONS

Engaging in excessive interactions especially on social media can consume a surprisingly huge chunk of your productive hours. Learn to set boundaries on how much time you spend scrolling those social feeds every day.

Photo by Luis Yanes of Sarah Funk

If you’re living with other people at home, try creating a schedule with strict work hours during which social interaction is minimal or completely absent.

AVOID PROCRASTINATING

One of the biggest struggles when working in an environment with unregulated fun activities and distractions is procrastination. The good thing is you can overcome this monster with the right strategy and most importantly self-discipline.

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An approach I find effective is to trick my mind to working first, promising to reward it with a fun activity later. For example, I can convince myself that I will watch Netflix only when I’m done making five sales calls or hit any other similar target.

ACKNOWLEDGING THE CORRELATION BETWEEN ISOLATION AND ADDICTIVE HABITS

Spending all day at home can be very boring especially if you live alone. With no one to supervise you while you work, indulging in your obsessions is only a thought away. Scientific studies on the effects of isolation on rats have actually found that it leads to rats becoming addicts much faster than when they are in a group. And seeing how rats have very similar brains to humans it’s not a stretch to infer that the same effect can occur with humans when they isolate. In fact, statistical/psychological evidence has shown a correlation between substance abuse and feelings of isolation from people who engage in the former. Besides, it’s easy to feel like you’re in control because after all, a little indulgence is not that harmful. 

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However, the problem is that drugs and other obsessions distract your mind and can quickly kill your motivation to work and give the best to your work.

SCHEDULE A WORKOUT SESSION

Working from home can break your routine and cause you to forgo some of the essential activities like workouts. Moreover, with movement and crowding now highly discouraged, visiting the gym or exercising outdoors is near impossible.

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In the face of this reality, it’s therefore vital to incorporate a workout session into your daily schedule. There are plenty of exercises you can do without using any special equipment. For example, squats, press-ups, neighborhood jogs, and sit-ups are easy but highly effective workouts to help you break a sweat. You can also enroll in online fitness classes for specialized training and motivation from fitness experts.

DRESS FOR WORK

Just because you’re spending the day at home doesn’t mean you should stay in pajamas all day. Changing into decent clothing can surprisingly help prepare your mind for an occasion, which in this case, is work. That seemingly tiny ritual switches your mindset in readiness for the day.

Photo of Sarah Funk by Luis Yanes

You don’t have to dorn your formal work clothes, anything comfortable enough to wear while at home will work just fine. Additionally, do all the usual weekday morning routine activities like taking a shower, brushing teeth, and eating a healthy breakfast. By the time you settle in for work, your body will be ready to face the day.

TAKE BREAKS AND WORK EXITS

A common mistake most people working from home do is failing to take breaks and end up overworking. Just like you have tea breaks at your workplace, so should you at home. Overworking exhausts your mental energy, and this is just bad for motivation and productivity.

An excellent approach is to create breaks that allow you to shift from your workspace to other locations, as long as you take care not to spend too much time doing those break activities. When lunch comes around to take an hour to enjoy it and do something physical. A brief walk, some exercise, or even washing the dishes are great ways to get a bit of activity into your routine.

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Which tricks are you using to ensure you’re getting the results you want even when working at home? We’d like to hear your feedback. 

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