It doesn’t take long for the novelty of peaceful productivity in your PJs to wear off when working from home. It’s easy to get stuck in a rut.

After 5 years of working from home, here are my top tips to stay productive, well and sane!

NOTE: I want to give a special shout-out to anyone in lockdown at the moment. There may be things out there that you can’t control, but these are things you can!

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#1 Dress comfortably but out of your sleepwear! Although it does feel great sometimes to remove the pressure of getting dressed up for work, after a while it becomes important to create boundaries and definition throughout your day. A great way of doing this is by simply changing your clothes.

There’s no need to get all dolled up but having separation between rest time and work time can help you mentally define your day.

Here’s a link* to one of my favourite cozy combination styles. They also come in a variety of different colours.

#2 Create a workspace separate from your chill space. This is another way of creating separation and definition throughout your day. By having an allocated workspace separate from your rest space, it helps you switch off and unwind more easily.

Photo Credit: Rachel O’BoyleYour daily reminder to look up and take a screen break…

#3 Stick to a routine. Establishing a routine throughout the day allows us to clearly define when we need to be engaged in work and when we can switch off. This provides us the freedom to plan our leisure time more freely.

Routine also provides our body the rhythm and cycles that are essential to maintain wellness. Supporting our natural circadian rhythm supports better digestion and sleep patterns.

My weekly planner helps me stay organised and reminds me of what I need to prioritise. By having a clear vision of what your big picture looks like, you can set daily tasks and goals more easily.

Here’s a link* to a non-dated weekly planner that helps you set goals, stay organised and track your progress.

#4 Avoid slouching on the couch. It can be so tempting to curl up on the couch, bent over your laptop for hours at a time. Repetitive motions in poor posture positions will leave you vulnerable to muscle tension or an injury over time.

It can also leave you more vulnerable to poor breathing habits and anxiety if you are slouched and shallow breathing instead of breathing deep into your diaphragm.

Posture straps like this* can be used as good reminders to stay upright and get some pain relief. Please note though, they are not a long term solution to poor posture or pain. In order to create good posture we need to be actively engaging and strengthening our core muscles.

#5 Avoid mindless snacking. It’s easy to reach for something tasty when we’re bored or looking for comfort. Some great ways to avoid poor snacking habits are:

a) Remove the temptation. This may seem like an obvious one, but if we don’t buy it we can’t eat it.

b) Don’t bring food to your work station. By walking to get get food it makes us more conscious and mindful of our choice to chomp!

c) Remove snacking altogether by eating larger main meals. if you’re genuinely hungry in between meals, not just bored, maybe it’s time to increase your portion sizes. Being mindful of the quality of our calories is more important than limiting them when we’re reaching for quick, more quality calories.

#6 Take regular stretch breaks. When we are busy we may hold our breath or take shorter, quicker breaths. We may slouch over a phone or laptop for long periods of time. We end up using the wrong muscles to breathe which can create tension. This makes it harder to breathe deep, unwind and reset.

Check in on your breath often. Take long slow deep breaths to prevent the build up of tension!

Here are 3 Stretches to help relieve neck & shoulder tension that I have posted to my Instagram page. Feel free to follow me for more quick tips.

#7 Get outside, move and connect with others daily. Getting some fresh air, moving our bodies and connecting with others are all vital for our well-being. It can be tempting to shy away from them when we’re comfortable at home and feeling productive. Over time though, such isolation can take a toll on your physical and mental health.

Try to get outside, even just for a 30 minute gentle walk, every day. If you can’t get outside for some reason, there are plenty of online free exercise classes to sign up for. And don’t forget to call or text a friend if you can’t meet up with them in person.

BONUS TIP: Use Ergonomic tools where you can. Ergonomic tools are tools designed to let the user engage in repetitive motions comfortably and without undue risk of injury. Repetitive motions like typing, mouse clicking and looking down at a screen can all cause muscle strain, weakness and risk of injury.

It’s recommended to follow the following guidelines when setting up your desk space:

a) Position your laptop screen or computer monitor at eye level, arm distance away

b) Position your keyboard at elbow/waist level

c) Keep your wrist straight and supported when using your mouse

d) Position your knees to a 90 degree angle

Here are a few tools that are useful to maintain these guidlelines:

a) An adjustable laptop stand* or monitor stand*

c) A padded mouse mat with wrist support*

d) A height adjustable chair with back and arm*

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* these links are affiliate links. You don’t pay anything extra for the product but I may earn a percentage of your purchase.