As I was laying down for a much-needed nap this afternoon with my sweet preschooler, I thought about why I have already felt so unproductive this year.  It has hardly been 2013, and yet I already feel drained and exhausted for no apparent reason.  Feeling fatigued and using the kids’ nap time/my down time as rest time for myself has not helped me work from home efficiently.  It leaves all my work for the end of the day when I am weary from chores and long winter days, which means I either punt on it {not ideal for when I need a pay check} or I take twice as long to accomplish what I could have completed more coherently and successfully earlier in the day.  It seems to be a vicious cycle of not getting enough rest, putting too much strain on my body, and not structuring my time well.

Tips for Making the New Year Work for You

Thus, I thought we’d do some end of January tips for making the “new” year work for you, whether you work from home or even if you have a boss breathing down your neck.

  • Get rest.  It seems to me that many of our problems are related to sleep deprivation.  Unless you have an infant, go to bed at a decent hour {say before  or around 10 pm- gasp!} and get the rest you need so you can get up at a decent hour, refreshed and ready to get started.  After a couple of days of disciplining yourself to do this, your body will get in gear and like you for it.
  • Re-design your work space.  A cramped, messy, or disorganized work space is your enemy.  Clear the clutter, file stuff, and just get your space in working order so you can focus on work and not on the chaos around you.
  • Make your work space and movements more ergonomic.  I noticed during my nap time with my son that I had my wrist cocked in an awkward way to support his little self as he dozed.  It occurred to me that we frequently do the same kind of thing when typing or reaching for things on our desks.  It is important to minimize strain on our bodies.  Thus, keep essential items within easy reach and be sure not to cock your wrists while typing.  There are many ergonomic products and practices that can help you stay healthy and not strained.
  • Try a sound machine.  Now that you are rested and not strained, it’s time to tune out distractions.  White noise, or a sound machine, can be a great resource for loud or irritating/erratic noises that break your focus.
  • Take breaks. If you find you still aren’t as productive as you’d like to be, take a break.  Sometimes just getting away from the work for even a few minutes will help you get better perspective and possibly even an different angle.

If you’re tired of feeling tired and unproductive, try these 5 tips for changing up your routine and work space.

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