Practical tips to stay productive working from home

Practical tips to stay productive working from home

More and more teams have been working from home. Well, this is the new normal. Since the pandemic started, our entire team has been working from home for three months now (as of time of writing) but even before that, Symphers have always been free to work remotely every now and then.

We asked our team how their workspaces look like and what their personal tips to stay productive in this setting are, and we'd like to share it here with you:


Tools

Jessa

“I limit my social media exposure to just 10 mins. per day (I usually just consume this during evenings). I installed the StayFocusd extension to block the sites if I exceed the time... I followed only the people who matter and pages that interest me so their updates are what show up on my feed. Also uninstalled Twitter and FB on my phone to avoid senseless scrolling when bored and only installed Messenger Lite & Instagram but turned off all phone app notifications.”

Lottie

“I do a five to ten minutes guided meditation as soon as I wake up. I use Calm/Simple Habits app… Installed FB Newsfeed Eradicator on my browser so FB won’t be that interesting to browse whenever I get tempted to open it. I use the Timer app to keep track of my blocks.”(Blocks is how we measure the time that we render for work at Symph. You can learn more about it here.)

Franchette

“I installed FB News Feed Eradicator so I don't see the FB timeline but can still access messenger, groups and pages I specifically need to go to. I have an app on my phone to prevent me from using my phone at all in a set time.”

Ashley

“I am still working on this habit but I've set up a desktop notification to tell me to look away from my screen every two hours to relax my eyes and stand up for a minute.”


Environment

Jarrhey

"One thing I noticed to have greatly affected my productivity is the environment I work in. I noticed if I get used to working in bed, my rest is not usually good. When I get used to resting in bed, my work is not really good.

Hence, I try to separate my 'rest' space from my 'work' space. When I work in weekends or even read a book, I feel the need to get out of my house.

I have psychologically associated the living room as a place where I can slack off. A part of me wants to let it stay that way haha

The place I found best to work in is on the small rooftop we have where I usually have my alone time back then, undisturbed. So, when you do a call with me -- it will sound like I'm one with the birds. No complaints."

Rose

“I fix my bed before starting work. I make it as nice as possible so I will feel bad if I lie down on it.”

Lottie

“🔹I open our curtains to get natural light, I’m a plant too but with feelings.

🔹On our first day of work from home I put all my unfolded laundry in the bed so I won’t get tempted to lie down.

🔹I make sure that our cat sleeps in the bed so I won’t get tempted to lie down and disturb the ungrateful being’s sleep.”

Lenli

“I'm selecting a spot far from my bed or sofas in the living room so I don't always get tempted to nap. I decluttered this area and everything around it including the floor as having a cluttered view in the workspace doesn't really feel nice for me.”

Jaiun

“🔹I get inspired by travel a lot, so I placed my Cambodia postcards on the wall

🔹Not in the photo, but I placed my Kimi no Nawa poster next to me for inspiration as well

🔹I open my curtains for more natural sunlight

🔹I placed one of my plants next to me, looking at it calms me down

🔹I can’t start work if I have a messy environment, before getting to work, I clean my surroundings.”

Jessa

"Always loved putting up photos of some of the people I care about and sticky notes with some reminders to self on my wall... It helps me get motivated and if ever I get stressed or down, I just look up to the photos and reread the messages.

Some of the messages and the reason why I placed it are:

🔹“Long term meaning is greater than short term satisfaction.”

-Reminds me to choose doing things that will have a greater impact for me and others than doing things with less impact (e.g. scrolling through social media feed)

🔹“The cost of a thing is the amount of what I will call life which is required to be exchanged for it, immediately or in the long run.”

-Reminds me mostly about my financial decisions but also about life. Makes me ask self how much money, effort, and time do I have to allot for this goal/need/want. Is it worth it?

🔹“All will be alright in time.”

- From Leaves by Ben & Ben. To inspire hope that everything will be okay soon & all of these bad things happening now will just pass.”

Jhong

”In front (of my workspace) is a window where sunlight and the wind can come in.”


Physical Setup

Rose

"🔹I have a home-made monitor riser so i can optimize the space on my small desk.

🔹I placed my fave figurines so that there can be something fun on my desk.

🔹I have another desk just beyond my right peripheral vision (so it’s out of sight) where I place my water, juice, snacks, notebooks, and mints.

🔹I turn on my lamp. I have no idea why but my lamp being on makes me focus more.”

Jessa

“Books and notebooks are also on my table so I can read if I take breaks or write something down if I need to. I also have a water bottle & alcohol nearby."

Lottie

"🔹Notebook/Post it and pen to take down notes and sketch layouts.

🔹I always have a water tumbler on my desk to stay hydrated.”

Lenli

“I'm placing all necessary things within this table (chargers, wallet, pens, alcohol, tissue, etc) so I don't have to keep leaving the space to get something."

Franchette

“🔹I have a stash of healthy snacks which I hide under my bed because I have a different diet from the rest of my family. I just grab some whenever I'm hungry.

🔹I now keep a pitcher of water so I don't have to leave my room so my concentration doesn't break."

Jhong

“Beside me is a table where I put my glass of water and snacks."

Jaiun

“🔹I got rid of things in my desk that were occupying too much space.”

Raffy

“(Left to right)

Monitor 1 is connected to my gaming consoles. They’re all behind my laptop so I won’t be tempted to play while working. Being a gamer, having your guilty pleasure inches from your touch is torture, but it’s also one of the best ways to level up self discipline. 💪

Overall, my desk is sorta cluttered, but that’s okay. Things are already arranged by how frequent I use them."


Music

Rose

“When I feel sleepy, I switch my music genre."

Franchette

“Since I have ADHD, I have bad concentration and I share one room with my all of my siblings so it's kinda difficult. What I do to minimize getting distracted is to listen to unfamiliar music preferably ones with no lyrics.”

Gee

“I listen to lo-fi music while working.”


Time

Lottie

“I time my away-from-keyboards, but I suck at estimation. Working on getting better at it.”

Lenli

“I placed an analog clock in front of me to easily track and divide my blocks.”


Focus/ Productivity

Rose

“When I feel sleepy, I stand and go away from my desk. I talk to my family, get something to drink/or munch on. Whatever I do, I do my best not to be tempted to lie down.”

Lottie

“🔹I drink green tea in the afternoon to keep me awake.

🔹To help me get fully awake, I do 10-minute yoga stretches and shower.”

Jaiun

“🔹If I lose focus, I walk around the house. It helps keep my mind running.

🔹I take time to stand up and stretch so my mind won't shut down.

🔹I drink lots of water to feel refreshed. I actually take time to step out of my room just to refill, so I also have movement.

🔹When I'm feeling anxious, I take time to meditate for ten minutes (just started doing that and it works).

🔹I always keep a notebook with me so I’ll never lose my train of thought."

Jhong

“🔹I notice that I usually get weak during the afternoons after lunch so I'm trying to tie in my tea drinking during those times. I boil water when I wash dishes/cook utensils for lunch then drink tea after

🔹I try to drink water as much as possible because it can get really hot and humid in my room.”

Ashley

“🔹When I take breaks, I lie down on the stack of pillows but most of the time I step outside and play with my cat. I also just sit with her sometimes to look at the sky to relax my eyes. 😺

🔹I don't eat dinner and I don't snack. Physical activity is limited so I eat a hearty breakfast and lunch but no dinner. I don't feel hungry anyway because I'm just sitting. It also helps me stay awake the whole day. 🤸‍♀️

🔹Related to not snacking, I also don't eat sweets. Again, helps with keeping me awake, feeling light, and not risking my immune system.🍳

🔹I don't take naps. So that my body knows that awake time is awake time and sleeping time is sleeping time. 👩‍💻”

Franchette

“🔹I stand up every once in a while to stretch.

🔹I also do in the morning to start my day.”


Our entire team working from home for months has certainly changed how we do things in so many ways, given that we've been very used to going to the office almost every day to see, eat, and work beside each other. It's challenging but also great to discover how we get ourselves to adapt when things change.

These tips are from the Symphers, and we hope this helps you. According to our Project Manager Ashley: "You do you... If you haven't started on any (habit), pick one first and stick with it! 💕"

Do you have your own tips for staying productive while working at home? Mind sharing it with us? 😉

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