Increase your productivity by changing out of your pajamas—plus five more work from home success secrets.
The twenty-first century is chock full of new technologies and, consequently, we all have a new rhythm of life, and with it, many of us even have redefined the idea of work space. An increasing number of both men and women have left aside the corporate world to dedicate themselves to freelance work in order to make their schedules more flexible or even generate more income. Others simply work from home because it functions as the headquarters of their own small business until they can rent an office (if they need one).
Whatever your situation may be, the important thing is that every time you get up in the morning to work, you don’t keep wearing pajamas. Why? Your clothes can absolutely affect your productivity.
It’s tempting, to be sure, because you’re in the comfort of your own home and you want to be comfortable. Yes, you are the master and commander of your time, and you don’t have a boss or colleague sitting directly across from you or next to you. Why on earth would you put on tights or a tie?
And, of course, you don’t need to wear a tie, or tights, or even matching socks. But that doesn’t mean you should be doing work email in your sweatpants either. You at least need an outfit that you could wear to the grocery store.
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Because dressing in a more professional manner will divide your work and home life more neatly, and put you in the right state of mind to begin your work. You’ll be less distracted by the television, or a book that is waiting for you on your nightstand. You’ll finish more emails and assignments in your button-down and jeans than you would wearing your pajamas. (Don’t believe us? Simply try it for a day.)
In an interview with The Guardian, business psychologist Helen Fisher explained, “If you put on something that raises your game, it will have a subtle effect on how you feel, think, and behave.” It’s similar to what happens with your mood in social settings—if you’re surrounded by people in a bad mood, you’ll probably end up feeling the same—and so it goes with clothes, too.
That’s why it’s important to wear an outfit that makes you feel professional and confident, and that reflects the image that you want to give your company, or the kind of service you’re offering.
It’s not superficial, nor an outdated belief, to give importance to your appearance. It’s something that has to do with you: how you feel and how that is going to affect your performance (wherever you may work). And besides, if your next-door neighbor suddenly starts to remodel his house or there’s construction outside your window, you’re already dressed to just grab your laptop and go to the nearest café with WiFi. Plus, you never knoe when a boss or colleague might decide it’s time for a Skype video conference … and you don’t want to look like you just rolled out of bed.
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Dressing the part will also help you to earn if you don’t live alone. If you work in your pajamas, it’s more likely that the people you live with will interrupt you because they think that you’re just looking at photos on Facebook. But if you’re dressed more professionally, you’ll send the signal (without necessarily having to say it) that you are concentrating on your work, and unless something is really important, it can wait (and—why not?—if are looking at Facebook, at least you can do it in peace).
Dressing for work at home is also a great way to try out clothes that you’re not sure of yet; after all, you’re still at home. You can put them on, walk around in them, see if they’re comfortable, check yourself out in the mirror from time to time, and realize whether or not it really works. Take advantage of the opportunity to practice your style or a new hairdo!
5 more work from home productivity secrets:
— Begin the morning with a good breakfast so you’ll have the energy you need.
— Have you run into a wall? Take a walk around the neighborhood. Fresh air, fresh ideas.
— Try to have a true working area in your house (that isn’t the couch). It doesn’t have to be an office, but at least a desk, and you should set it up appropriately.
— Take breaks to eat meals. Don’t fall into the trap of snacking all day long (unless it’s a healthy program of eating nutritious small meals every few hours); it’s bad for both your health to sit and munch all day. Get up, stretch your legs, and have a set lunch time. It will help your performance.
— Similarly, set limits for your work activities; it will make you more effective.
For example, I wrote this article wearing a pair of black jeans, a coral blazer, black sandals, with my hair totally clean and tied into a high ponytail, simple spring makeup and a nude manicure (there’s nothing that distracts me more than seeing my nails looking messy on the keyboard).
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Now I have to go for a walk and run some errands, and I only have to change my sandals for a pair of ballet shoes, and I’m good to go! It’s also a question of thinking about what other things you’re going to do throughout the day in order to maximize your time without neglecting your appearance.
Take advantage of the freedom you have. Always remember that you deserve to feel and see yourself beautiful at all times. As Eleanor Roosevelt once said, “No one can make you feel inferior without your consent.”
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