How to work from home when you feel like you can’t

If you have to work from home and it’s not your choice, you might feel like you can’t do it. But you can! Here’s how.

1. Use a virtual co-working service

This is my absolute, number one, very favouritist productivity tool.

I have ADHD and I struggled a lot with productivity until I started using Focusmate nearly 2 years ago. I get so much more done now and it’s a great community too. They have free and cheap versions.

You can read more about my Focusmate experience, and how it made me lose all my hair, here.

2. Get an accountability partner

Focusmate gives you accountability hour by hour, but if you have goals you want to reach, an accountability partner can help you get there.

I have two. One is for exercise and one is for work. They are both amazing! I found the exercise one through Get Motivated Buddies and the work one through a Facebook group for women who use Focusmate.

When you get an accountability partner, you agree between yourselves how often you’ll talk to each other and what you each need from your partner. My exercise one and I talk on WhatsApp every day, and the work one and I talk about every 3 days on Facebook Messenger. I haven’t met either of them in real life.

It can take a while to find the right partner for you, so if your first match doesn’t feel right, or isn’t helping you get stuff done, politely break it off and find a new one. Otherwise it’s pointless.

3. Fuel yourself properly

You’re going to get nothing done if you’re surviving purely on caffeine and creme eggs (believe me, I know).

Do your shop (online if you can’t go out, in real life if you can) just after lunch or dinner. Then you won’t be hungry and will be less likely to buy massive bags of chips, or boxes of fondant fancies. If you can’t cook and/or don’t like eating plants, get yourself the healthiest and tastiest ready meals you can find. Eating decent food will make such a difference – not only to being able to work effectively, but also to your mental state.

Also, drink plenty of water.

4. Move

You tend to move a lot less when you’re working from home than if you’ve got to get up to go to the printer, to avoid your boss, or go and talk to your mate a couple of desks over.

Sitting on your bottom all day is bad for your body, your mind, and your soul. You need to move to get or stay in shape, to keep you awake and alert, and to feel good about yourself.

If you find it hard to get up and about (mentally, not physically, that’s a different thing), use your accountability people to help you. Tell your partners that you need to move a certain amount and hour or a day – the simple fact of telling them will actually help you do it, even if they don’t check on you!

You can also make or buy yourself a standing desk. If you’ve got ADHD you should find it helps you concentrate more, and if you haven’t, you should still find it helps you concentrate more.

5. Sleep

Not at your desk, obvs.

As I tell so many of my clients, getting enough sleep is the first thing you should focus on if you want to be productive.

You can’t do anything if you’re tired. You can’t focus on your work, you can’t get excited about your projects, you might find you can’t even play with your kids. And being unproductive and feeling like you’re not able or willing to do the things you want or need to will have a knock-on effect on your mental health.

It’s tempting to go to bed late when you know you can get up later because you don’t have to wash your hair, get dressed or physically go into work. But sticking to a daily routine, even when no-one is forcing you to, will help you to be at your best.

So there you have 5 tips to help you work productively and effectively from home. Do you have any more? Tell me on Twitter.

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