Working from home felt like a good idea until you discovered that deli down the road. It was fantastic, until you found those flappy bits of skin on your upper arm got more flappy; absolutely amazing until your other half told you…
“Honey, I can’t help but notice you’ve put on a little weight…”
Yep, working from home is a good idea until you’re actually forced to do it. Sitting in your underwear, dialing into meetings remotely, and turning off the camera so your colleagues can’t see all your chins is not glamorous, nor productive. A sedentary lifestyle has been forced upon us by the coronavirus and it’s time to fight back.
Welcome to the NetHunt Productivity Club, now drop and give me 10.
1 - Work out first thing in the morning
You’re not a morning person; nobody is. But the truth is, doing a little workout before you’ve eaten your breakfast can help get your metabolism fired up, meaning your body burns calories quicker as you eat throughout the day. There is a heap of other mental benefits as well, such as improved mood, increased self-discipline, and the feeling that you’ve already achieved something with your day.
It doesn’t have to be anything intensive. A personal favourite of mine is the plank, and it’s more of a challenge than anything. Still, it’s great for your core, arms, and legs. Simply hold your body horizontally on your toes and your forearms for 30 - 60 seconds, depending on how fit you’re feeling. Three times a day, bish-bash-bosh, that’s exercise!
2 - Do some cardio once a day
Cardio is any exercise that gets your heart pumping and the blood flowing around your body. Like a natural cup of coffee, it increases your alertness. It has even been proven by studies done at the University of British Columbia to boost the size of your hippocampus, which is the part of your brain involved in verbal memory and learning things.
Strava is a social network for athletes. At its core, it's a free-to-use app that lets athletes log their training sessions, race against each other on different segments, and see their friends’ activities in a news feed. Over weeks and months, users can measure their progress against customisable goals they set for themselves. It’s simple, all you need to do is hit the record button before you start your workout!
- I use Strava to log my bike rides, with the aim of hitting 100km every week. Join the NetHunt Productivity Club on Strava and see how your progress measures up against the NetHunt community!
3 - Take up yoga
“When they had to close all the gyms in my area, I found it difficult to exercise from home without all my usual equipment. A friend recommended yoga to me, and we took part in a Zoom session together and it was loads of fun. The problem was, it ended up getting a little bit expensive hiring a teacher all the time. Once I understood the basics, I found that there’re loads of free yoga classes on YouTube. I do it every morning on the balcony to build some mental clarity and centre my attention. I also find it sharpens my concentration!” - Olya Schastna, Freelance Designer.
4 - Do your chores
“But Mom I don’t wanna do my chores!”
Shut up and do them. Something as simple as washing the dishes can help break up your day and can even impress your other half. Meanwhile, common sense also tells us that a clean office helps us to better focus on our tasks, helps us be more productive by finding things quicker, and means that there are fewer things laying around your office that can act as distractions.
Improved focus means improved productivity.
You do have a home office, don’t you? Doing your work on the sofa, or worse; your bed, can kill your productivity as much as it can kill your back. Bringing a little feng shui into your home office can help channel positive vibes. Create the optimal work space by taking your whole office layout into account, including colours, lighting, minimalism, and even smell.
5 - Buy a desk bike
Bloody hell, human beings are clever sometimes. Look at it, it’s glorious; a simple solution for getting all the productivity benefits of exercise whilst still sitting at your desk and doing your work. It is a little bit expensive though... maybe I can log it as a business expense? (Cc: Andrei Petrik).
6 - Dance like nobody's watching
That’s the cheesiest headline I’ve ever written, and I’m sorry. It’s true though, there’s nothing wrong with a little boogie in your undies to get the day going. After all, you’re working from home and nobody’s watching. The best thing is, you’re in charge of the tunes! My personal favourite type of music to get up and go to is disco. Everybody loves a bit of Earth, Wind & Fire.
7 - Eat right
As you barrel through the perpetual cycle that is bed, desk, fridge, you need to make sure that you’re not overloading on dead carbohydrates and fatty, processed foods that bloat you and make all the blood rush to your stomach. Having a healthy fridge involves having a lot of self-discipline. Here’s a list (a list within a list, what is this? Buzzfeed?) of the best foods to eat that aid productivity.
Omega-3 is good for your brain, your skin, your hair, and even your sex life.
Anti-oxidants are good for your immune system; stop you getting run down.
A fantastic natural source of energy, especially if you drink matcha.
A healthy dose of sugar, caffiene, and magnesium.
Almonds and walnuts give you brain power and help distracted hands.
Healthy fats to help improve your blood flow.
Because… water. Eight glasses or two litres a day.
Magnesium is a natural stress reliever.
“Eat like a king in the morning; like a pauper in the evening” - my mum.
Full of magnesium and natural vitamins to get your brain going.
8 - Don’t bosh coffee and other unnatural stimulants too much
I think many readers will agree with me when I say… coffee is fantastic. For the most part, caffeine has been proven to increase productivity, improve cognitive function, lighten the mood, and improve health.
Coffee becomes a problem when we drink too much of it; it’s addictive. Coffee releases adrenaline, which is the fight-or-flight chemical in our brain that is usually produced as a result of stress. Too much coffee can cause anxiety and even panic attacks; it can also prevent us from sleeping at night. Try to limit coffee consumption to two cups a day in the morning, and never drink coffee past 5pm.
9 - Check out Joe Wicks on YouTube
Joe Wicks was basically anointed as the post-lockdown king of England. Reassuringly known as the Body Coach, Wicks shot to stardom with his PE lessons for schoolchildren who were stuck inside during the first Coronavirus lockdown. He even donated $774,213 of his advertising revenue from the lessons to the National Health Service (NHS) in the UK. Not only is he a good teacher, incredibly buff, and free to watch… he’s also a nice, down-to-earth bloke.
10 - Use any excuse to go outside
Experiment with different lengths of time in between the breaks you take. Set alarms at regular intervals between 30 and 90 minutes and take five or ten minutes to step outside. Outside is fabulous; my favourite place in the whole world. Multiple studies confirm that nature can help improve our productivity, our concentration, our short term memory, and especially our creativity.
“A study in the Journal of Experimental Psychology demonstrated that walking indoors and outdoors triggered a burst in creative thinking with the average creative output rising 60% when a person was walking.”
Open Google Maps, look for a green bit, and start walking there. Just try not to forget your deadlines.
Your productivity is your responsibility. It’s your livelihood, and it’s the only thing that’s going to get you through this Coronavirus mess, sane, and with some money in your pocket. Be proactive, look after yourself, and join The NetHunt Productivity Club on Strava so we can look after each other.