Working from home? 5 ways to be productive and stay sane


by Baylor Scott & White Health

Mar 26, 2020

Remote work is becoming the new normal for many people. Whether it’s an occasional work from home day, a job that gives you full freedom to work wherever whenever (or something in between), working from home brings a new set of challenges to your day. Your routines might be off, you’re inclined to sit more and move less, and there are more sources of distraction like kids and pets.

But there are still ways to continue “business as usual” and stay healthy — and productive — while you’re working from home.

Get up, get dressed and make your bed

It’s easy to have the mindset that work from home means work in your pajamas, and that might be a welcome treat for day one. I don’t know about you, but my brain needs to feel like it’s actually going to work. So, each morning I’m working from home, I get dressed in work attire, do my makeup and do my hair.

It might seem like a trivial thing, but preparing your mind for work can help you feel more productive.

Success tends to build on success. And what’s one of the easiest things you can do in the morning to start the day on a successful note? Make your bed! It takes about 30 seconds (unless you fall in the “decorative pillow lover” category) and as a bonus it will be so nice getting into a made bed after a long day.

Make moves

You don’t need a gym or even equipment to get in a good workout. One of my favorite things to do for exercise is pick 5-7 moves (such as squats, lunges, pushups, etc.) and do them in a circuit. Here’s how you can implement this kind of workout easily from the comfort of home:

  • Simply choose how many reps you will do (between 8-20).
  • Go from move to move without stopping.
  • Take a 1-minute break between circuits. 
  • I like to repeat my circuit four times, so I get in a 30-minute workout.

Speaking of 30-minute workouts, it’s important to move at least 30 minutes a day in some way. Don’t be afraid to get creative. There are hundreds, if not thousands, of people who have taken to social media with free and live workouts.

Related: How to stay active while working from home

No exercise equipment in your house? You might be surprised! Soup cans and water bottles can double as great hand weights. A chair can be a good aid for pushups and dips. Even your supply of toilet paper can come in handy as props for you to move around during your workout.

Connect (and disconnect)

Working from home does not mean social isolation. Daily connection is important. Many of us are so fortunate to have the ability to virtually connect at any time. Outside of scheduled calls and meetings, make a point of connecting with a colleague daily for a casual, non-work-related conversation.

It’s equally as important to disconnect from distractions — namely, your phone. Social media is a great tool, but it can also become a great big distraction when it pulls you away from your work responsibilities. Set your phone aside and focus in on your work.

Eat smart

Working from home means you have 24/7 access to your fridge and pantry stocked with your favorite snacks. But it doesn’t mean you should spend the whole day snacking. Resist the temptation.

Try to stick to your typical mealtime routines that you normally would in the office and prioritize healthy foods that will boost your brain power and productivity. Heavy carbs and simple sugars will only slow you down and leave you feeling sluggish.

Related: 5 ways to maximize your lunch break for a more productive workday


If you’re working from home for long stretches and begin to feel a little trapped, remember to laugh. Laughter is not just medicine, it’s been shown to have a slew of other healthy benefits, including enhancing oxygen intake; stimulating the lungs, heart and muscles; increasing the release of endorphins and boosting the immune system.

I can’t think of a better prescription for “stir crazy” than that. So, get your giggle on! Need a joke? I’ve got you covered:

Question: “What do you say when a guy asks if you want a medical pamphlet?”

Answer: “Brochure.”

Okay, maybe that didn’t make you laugh, but find something that does! Remember to take breaks — they’re good for your mental health.

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