Self

7 Clever Habits Of People Who Are Actually Productive & Motivated At Home While Still Having Work-Life Balance

Photo: Andrea Piacquadio / Pexels
woman smiling at computer

Good habits can be difficult to adopt, especially if you're working from home and are susceptible to distractions throughout the day. And if you're struggling with motivation and productivity these days, you're not alone.

The world has changed a lot in the last few years — naturally, that includes the workplace. A 2023 study found that nearly 50% of employees are unproductive at work, with the leading causes including poor pay, lack of career advancement, and lack of workplace flexibility.

These fears are likely to impact your day-to-day functioning and can make you feel pretty unmotivated. It can take a concerted effort to stay on track, especially after stressful days at work. But it's entirely doable.

Here are 7 habits to stay productive and motivated, while maintaining a work-life balance.

1. Eat healthy, mood-boosting foods.

Binge-eating potato chips and cheeseburgers might feel satisfying at the time, but you're likely to feel your energy plummet soon after. Instead, eating a balanced diet can positively affect your energy levels and mental well-being.

Consider choosing foods that support brain function. Reach for foods like oatmeal, fish, certain fruits, almonds, edamame, and even dark chocolate. Vitamins and minerals such as B, D, zinc, magnesium, and selenium can boost your mood. Probiotics and omega-3 fatty acids are also great choices for your brain's health.

   

   

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Rather than sugary or salty foods that bring down your energy levels, when foods are nutrient-rich, neurotransmitters like serotonin, dopamine, and norepinephrine are high, making you feel calm and in control. And when you're calm and in control, you're ready to get things done and stay on track.

2. Stick to a routine.

A significant predictor of success is a regular routine. Wake up at the same time every day, eat at regular times, and get dressed. Make sure your daily actions are all part of the same regimen you've set up, and try not to deviate from it.

As tempting as it is to stay in your pajamas and call out of work, doing the same thing each day will help you feel more professional and confident. Aside from your usual activities — taking out the trash, cooking dinner, taking care of household chores — also try to include exercise of some kind.

If you're used to going to the gym or taking a daily walk during your lunch hour, find a way to incorporate it into your day. Exercise produces endorphins which, in turn, alleviates stress and helps you become a much more productive person.

3. Bring focus to your day.

Spend a few minutes each morning and night to recalibrate and identify your top priorities for the day. While you can make a mental list in your head, you can also turn it into a physically written one, as making a plan ahead of time is said to relieve stress and anxiety.

Think about the day you're planning for and ask yourself a few important questions: What is your game-changer goal? What are two or three things you can do to achieve it?

habits of people who are productive and motivatedPhoto: Karolina Grabowska / Pexels

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Don't put extra pressure on yourself. Instead, concentrate on what truly matters.

Another aspect of focus is being fully present. Give whatever you're doing your full attention. That means eliminating distractions like phone notifications.

You will be even more productive if you put your phone away altogether. One study found that having a phone in the room decreases your cognitive ability, hindering your motivation and productivity.

4. Lean into your preferences.

Typically, multi-tasking doesn't yield great results, and it can create stress and overwhelm. Simply put, your brain isn’t wired for it and it can reduce productivity by up to 40%.

One size doesn't fit all. If you're extra-energetic first thing in the morning, take advantage of that time to get your biggest or most challenging tasks done. If not, schedule your must-do's and important calls for later in the day, if you can.

Consider how your introverted or extroverted preferences might factor into your productivity as well.

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If you're introverted, you might be successful and happier with some serious time-blocking, and getting a lot done in one sitting before decompressing with an hour of solitude and meditation.

If you're extroverted, the idea of several smaller spurts of activity interspersed with meetings with colleagues or friends will keep you motivated to get through your commitments.

habits of people who are productive and motivatedPhoto: RDNE Stock project / Pexels

5. Create an inspirational environment.

When your work space is messy, you decrease your odds of being effective, as our brains want order. Rather than letting the mess build up, clear out the clutter and create a space that encourages you to feel and do your best.

Whether it's a desk at work or a quiet space at home, make sure that area is your own and that you can comfortably work there. Maybe even decorate your area with personal effects and affirmations that will cheer you on throughout the day.

Engage the senses as well, and include essential oils like grapefruit, lime, peppermint, bergamot, or ginger to lift your energy and mood, and stimulate concentration.

   

   

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6. Connect to your bigger 'why.'

Never go a day without reminding yourself of your higher purpose, the bigger picture you strive to achieve. What are you meant to do with your life and how will you serve others?

If you haven't figured this out yet, that's okay! You're always growing and evolving, but keep in mind that it's natural to want to explore your purpose, whether it's alone or with a trusted guide.

If you know your "why," let it steer you every day. You will be motivated to bring it to life in each decision and action, and you'll maximize your days without giving it much thought; this is the real power of purpose.

7. Get adequate rest.

Quality sleep can help you process the day — including your emotions — and ensures your body has a chance to restore itself. Studies show that poor sleep is linked to depression and health issues, while good sleep is linked to improved immune function, athletic performance, and cognitive ability.

Commit yourself to get into bed a little earlier each night. If you're having trouble unwinding, consider writing in a journal, doodling, or meditating for a few minutes.

habits of people who are productive and motivatedPhoto: Marcus Aurelius / Pexels

When you're working during the day, be sure to take regular rests. Step outside for a few minutes, take a mindful break and don't discount the positive effects of a few days off. Your mind, body, and soul will thank you.

Above all else, give yourself some grace. Staying motivated and productive isn't easy when you're stressed. But by tending to your mental health needs and implementing these tips, you will be further ahead in reaching your goals.

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Lisa Petsinis is a certified life and career coach and self-proclaimed highly sensitive person, working with individuals to reach their relationship goals, build lasting life skills like confidence and resilience, and create more joy and meaning.

This article was originally published at Lisa Petsinis. Reprinted with permission from the author.