Readers recently had a discussion in the comments on dealing with the work-from-home slump that a lot of us are facing now that we’ve gone past the one-year mark. (Of course, some of us have — understandably — been feeling this way for months!)

Here are a few ideas for how to get past that slump:

1. Ditch comfy clothes for work clothes — or at least structured ones. If it’s a Zoom-free day and you’re wearing a pink sweatshirt and PJ pants with hedgehogs on them (suspiciously specific?), get up and put some real clothes on. Not only can they improve your posture (it’s not as comfortable to slouch or curl up with a blazer and “hard pants”), but they’ll help you feel more in work mode. 

2. Try working somewhere else for a while. If you always work in the same place at home, try a different room, a different desk/table, or another window view. If your WiFi is strong enough, work outside! Some commenters in the thread noted that going into the office one, two, or three days a week makes a big difference, so consider that if you feel safe with that option.

3. Plan your day the night before. This is especially useful for a day when you don’t have any meetings or calls scheduled and you could really use some structure. Make a plan by blocking out your time for different tasks and by choosing three top-priority tasks to complete.

{related: how to turn a bad day around}

4. Take a short walk outside. Even 10 minutes can make a big difference. You’ll get a little boost of energy and and a little perspective, too. (You’ll also feel slightly better when you read those articles that basically say “Sitting all day WILL KILL YOU.”) If the weather’s bad, get up and do a few stretches indoors.

5. Try the “Dopamine Bean.” Kat recently tried a supplement called Mucuna pruriens (here’s an article about it from Byrdie) and felt that it made a noticeable difference in her productivity. It contains L-Dopa, which is the amino acid precursor of dopamine, a brain chemical that affects your mood and motivation. (Note: Make sure to ask your doctor before taking a new supplement.) 

{related: how to focus when you work from home}

6. Use the Pomodoro method. We’ve mentioned this method several times over the years, and some people swear by it. When I was trying Pomodoro, I downloaded this cute break timer app that lets you pick the length of your work/break times and has several different alarm sounds. (I mean, who doesn’t need an app with a little tiger in a tuxedo?) The app Forrest is a bit similar, and — ooh — they have a Chrome extension.

7. Find a mantra that works for you. I just came across something the other day on, uh, Facebook that seemed like it could be helpful. It read, “When things feel overwhelming, remember: One thought at a time. One task at a time. One day at a time.” Sure, that seems obvious, but sometimes I could use a reminder anyway! If you’re finding your to-do list overwhelming, pick something manageable from it, clear off your desk, and focus on that one thing. When you’ve completed it, the sense of accomplishment will give you a mental boost.

{related: the best Spotify playlists to help you focus}

8. Categorize your tasks according to time and effort. You may have deadlines attached to your to-do tasks, and a general idea of how much time each will take, but if you’re having trouble focusing on a particular day, it’s helpful to be able to look at your to-do list and easily spot the things that don’t need a ton of sustained brain power. On a paper list, you can use a certain symbol to denote one-minute or five-minute tasks, for example. (You can also use this system to batch tasks — make all your phone calls at the same time, run errands at the same time, and so on.)

Are you feeling a lack of motivation and general slump? What are your best tricks to get out of a work-from-home slump?  

Stock photo via Stencil.

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