by Shameera Nair Lin

Like the vast majority of people, working from home can feel like a bit of a slog, where days melt into each other. To generate and maintain a momentum, there are minor steps one could take in order to add some vim and vigour to the day. That is to say, we all need a bit of an energy boost when time spent becomes repetitive, and staying in bed all day proves tempting. And sometimes, that’s okay. There is no singular way for everyone. But on most days, here are a few things that might serve as a pick-me-up:

1. Working out

Movement is an essential part of life, and it’s a bit tricky to clock 10000 steps in every day while abiding to the MCO directive. As such, try mild stretches the moment you get out of bed. Then, at some point in the day, carve out a small block of time dedicated to more intense workouts. Look for a rhythm that works for you; working out in the morning does not work for all. Personally, I find midday workouts the most effective — it provides that much-needed energy boost, ensuring I push through the latter half of the workday with a heightened sense of alertness. Find a time that suits your wants and needs.

For quick and fun workouts, look no further than YouTube. Fitness instructors such as Blogilates and Chloe Ting offer effective workout plans at no cost. And if you are no fan of gym-style workouts — which is understandable and agreeable — how about trying workouts like Zumba or other forms of dance? Live classes are often held for free as well; here’s a zumba channel that is dedicated to different styles of dance workouts. Either way, getting a healthy dose of cardio into your work week is guaranteed to lift your spirits, if ever so slightly. 

2. Power naps

You could make or break your day with a nap. Sleep for too long, and there is a chance of feeling sluggish. Time yourself, and such discipline will probably help in the long run while amplifying your productivity at work. It has often been said that power naps should last between 15-30 minutes. An optimal amount of an hour would work wonders, but even a 5-minute session of shut eye is not to be underestimated. Ideally, a 20-minute power nap — if you are someone capable of falling asleep easily — offers more restorative energy than merely sleeping in one go throughout the course of the night. The act of closing your eyes uninterrupted, for a few minutes, however, will offer rest that will get you through some of the day. If you find yourself lacking time to rest, time yourself and get that rest. 

3. Incorporate non-workout movement into your workday

Move around as you work. It is easy to fall into the habit of sitting at the office chair all day, staring at a screen. If you have a document to read, have a read while walking around your workspace or home. If you have yet to wash the dishes, do that the moment restlessness hits at the work desk. Work from different parts of any space you have, if possible. Cook yourself a tasty treat in the middle of the day, one which you are guaranteed to enjoy. That way, you are completing minor tasks from your daily to-do list, which will incentivise continuity as the day progresses. 

4. Create a limited checklist at the start of each day

This is absolutely vital, to draw your boundaries at home. Before starting work, create a to-do list/checklist with a set number of tasks every day. Tasks should be listed in order of importance, but there should be a separation when determining the nature of a task. Personally, I like having different spreadsheets or diaries for work-related matters and personal matters, setting a limit of x number of tasks each day. If you are looking to go beyond your limit, ask yourself if the matter at hand can wait until the next day. This will ensure that you set a finish line in sight, not that I’m comparing a work day to a competitive run, of course.

Energy levels differ according to each person; be sure to keep that in mind as you go about working from home, as it is essential to find your own pace. These ideas may or may not work for you, but there are numerous ways — often the smallest of changes — to ease the day.