6 Tips for Upping Your WFH Productivity

Photo: Shutterstock; Illustration: Marissa Dickson/Thrillist
Photo: Shutterstock; Illustration: Marissa Dickson/Thrillist

Whether you’ve worked from home for years or started in 2020 like many of us, you know there are always a few kinks to work out. Days of getting nothing done followed by entire weeks when you’re too busy to prepare lunch can take a strain on you mentally and physically — and that can show in your work. Luckily, there’s an in between. To help strike just the right balance, check out these tips for leveling up your WFH productivity, including three easy-to-prepare Campbell’s® recipes that’ll help you power through each day. 

Upgrade your tech 

You’ve got the desk, but is a 13-inch laptop with its built-in trackpad the best you can do? To reach the productivity levels you had at the office, try and recreate that setup to the best of your ability. A second monitor, for example, will allow you to keep your work email and workplace messaging platform up on one screen (since communication is especially key during this time), and the project you’re trying to finish on the other. Better yet, complete the setup with an external mouse and keyboard to better split your attention between the two screens.

Lay down some (friendly) house rules

There’s a reason offices ask for common courtesies of their employees. Making more coffee when the pot’s empty, knocking before you enter someone’s office, and taking phone calls in private rooms are all signs of a polite and productive workspace. If you’re sharing your home office with roommates or your family, consider making a list of your own “office rules” for everyone to follow. For example, use a token to signify when you’re in work mode and can’t be bothered by your spouse. This can be fun and silly to lighten the mood. When the action figure is standing up on the desk, don’t interrupt. When it’s sitting down… you may ask what’s for dinner. 

Photo: Campbell's; Illustration: Marissa Dickson/Thrillist

Make hearty, satisfying meals as easy as possible

The only thing worse than breaking a stride of productivity to hunch over the stove is hearing your stomach grumble when you’re trying to complete an important project. With Campbell’s® soups in your pantry, you don’t have to do either. This Beef Taco Skillet made with Campbell's® Tomato Soup is a one-pot meal that’s on the table in just 30 minutes — meaning you don’t have to think about prepping dinner while you’re in that 5:30 pm meeting. You can even double the recipe or freeze your leftovers so that you’ll always have a satisfying lunch when work consumes your day. Other quick meal ideas include this 15-Minute Chicken & Rice Dinner made with Campbell’s® Cream of Chicken Soup and Instant Pot® Easy Beef Stroganoff (which only requires 10 minutes of prep before you set it and forget it).  

Try “productive procrastination”

While it’s completely normal to experience high levels of procrastination at home, there are ways to use that time meaningfully — instead of discarding it. Consider the practice of “productive procrastination,” coined by this psychologist from the University of Calgary. The idea gives a new view to procrastination: Your disinterest in finishing one task isn’t a bad thing, it’s what inspires you to begin or finish another one. You can try this by combining your work tasks and things that need to get done around the house. If you’re not feeling particularly inspired to start a presentation, simply try another task like vacuuming or folding laundry while you brainstorm and come back to it later.

Photo: Shutterstock; Illustration: Marissa Dickson/Thrillist

Exercise right where you are

While standing desks are an excellent first step to being less stagnant, we all need to kick things up a notch considering how little we’re moving, going, and doing these days. If running for an hour after work doesn’t fit into your lifestyle, try adding a compact treadmill or balance board to your desk setup. This equipment can come in especially handy during long virtual meetings where you only need to listen in. Of course, if you don’t want to invest in equipment, start small with simple desk push-ups, wall sits, and squats throughout the day. 

Be conscious of lighting

Optimizing natural light is key in maintaining alertness. This study, conducted by the Department of Design and Environmental Analysis at Cornell University, found that workers in offices with controlled daylight reported less eye strain, headaches, and blurred vision — all of which can detract from productivity. To get the benefits of sunlight in your home office without the drawbacks (like increased temperature or glare on your screen), consider positioning your desk at a right-angle to the window, facing into the room. This will illuminate your computer screen with natural light instead of relying on the device’s artificial blue light, and the angle of your desk will keep the glare of the sun out of your eyes. If your space lacks natural light, paint it a fresh white or lighter color and outfit the light fixtures with full-spectrum bulbs (which are designed to mimic sunlight).

Now that you have some ideas to level up your WFH productivity, there’s nothing on that to-do list you can’t complete.