Working From Your Sofa Can Be More Productive
| Last updated
Featured Image Credit: Pexels
Once upon a time, before COVID-19, sitting on the sofa all day would mean one of two things: a Netflix binge session was in full swing, or we were suffering from a severe hangover (in many cases, these occurred simultaneously).
But these days, with working from home *and* social distancing measures in place, we're seeing a lot more of our sofas - and working in an area we'd usually associate with chilling out can make us feel unproductive.
Added to the fact that cafes, co-working spaces and libraries are now closing, most of us have little choice but to work in our living rooms - especially if we don't have a home office or a spare bedroom to escape to.
With this in mind, we chatted to careers coach and mentor Jane Ferré to get the lowdown on working from the couch - and good news - she revealed that actually, you can be just as productive from the sofa, if not *more*.
"Working from the sofa is as productive as you decide," explains Jane.
"It's all about removing the distractions and you have an effective working environment. In other words, change the sofa from a place of lounging to a place of working and it is as effective as an office.
"That said, be disciplined about how you use the space. Only have papers that you need to hand and put anything else away as this will only be a distraction. This also helps you to restore this area back to its other use during the evening."
Jane says it's less to do with where you're working from within the home, but more to do with how you work.
Having spent years trying to become more productive while working remotely and setting up her business, she shared some pearls of wisdom and revealed how she made it work.
First, it's all about rules and routine. "For example, I would not go downstairs until I had showered and changed out of my pyjamas," explains Jane.
"I would also do my hair and make up (if you wish) as I would never know when I had to get on a video call. This helped set me up for the day and put me in work mode."
One of the most difficult parts of working from home are the distractions. Although a US study from last year found home workers are less distracted than office workers, (losing 27 minutes a day from distractions as opposed to 37) it doesn't always feel like it.
Something going on outside? We're immediately nosying at the window. Post man at the door? Better go and pick up the mail immediately - who knows the important letters that could be waiting on the door mat. Then there's the TV.
Jane explains if you are going to work from the sofa, the telly should be off.
"It's amazing how putting on the TV can steal hours. It might seem harmless watching 10 minutes of Homes Under the Hammer, but when you just have to see how Marjorie and Jim's house ended up after a coat of paint, before you know it, you've lost an hour."
While switching the telly off can help make the sofa a much more productive space, Jane explains one of her favourite productivity boosting techniques is 'time boxing'.
"Set yourself realistic goals for the day and block time to work on one thing at a time - this should include setting time aside to go through emails and make calls - do these in batches.
"Switch off notifications at all other times of the day - they will just take you off course. Think about when you are most productive and place those tasks/projects that require lots of thinking for that time. I'm a night owl, so I prefer to do this in the afternoon/early evening."
And if you want to be extra productive while working from the couch, slotting in mini chores every time you get up will give you a much-needed five-minute break *and* you'll tick off your to-do list.
"Put the washing machine on in the morning and have a break while hanging out the laundry," Jane suggests.
"When you go to the loo, wipe down the sink as another mini chore. Next time, pop some loo cleaner in the bowl."
Ultimately, with the social distancing measures set to continue until further notice, it's all about training ourselves to be just as productive from the sofa, as we our from our desks at the office.
We'll be following Jane's tips in the weeks to come, although we can't promise cutting out Homes Under the Hammer completely...