It’s been a year since we started working at home and many lockdowns are still in place across the world. Everyone has their own unique household dynamic, which is why working from home has affected everyone differently. For some, it was an easy transition. They already had home offices, the proper tech and equipment, and weren’t too busy with other family members at home.
For others it’s not so easy. They’re crammed in their rooms, balancing family life, kids learning from home, and/or they don’t have the proper tech and equipment.
No matter what your at-home working situation is, we can all agree on this: you can not avoid certain distractions or habits that you would normally be able to avoid in the office. But fear not, we’re going to break down 8 ways of staying motivated while working from home.
1. Home Offices Don’t Need Doors
If you don’t have the space in your home to dedicate an entire room to an office, that’s okay. However, it is important that you find some space (it can even be a corner) to help separate work from life.
This helps you disassociate working from home with living from home. For example, people who work from their bed report associating that space with rest and sleep, which tends to lead towards a lazier approach to work. Sleep experts also recommend not working from bed as it leads to decreased quality of sleep.
If you manage to work from the same space in your home each day, it can feel like you’re entering a mini office and help you stay focused.
2. Dress For Success
Everyone is familiar with the joke by now of people wearing a suit on the top and PJs on the bottom. While it may be tempting to get as comfortable as you can be, PJs aren’t the best option for remote working.
The more we wear sweats or PJs while working, the more we remind ourselves that we’re stuck and home and not in the office. To break this spell, wear the clothes you’d usually wear in the office. If it’s a suit, wear a suit. If it’s jeans and a sweater, wear that.
Psychologist Dr. Karen Pine says that we associate certain characteristics with certain garments of clothing. So we’re essentially tricking ourselves to act or feel a certain way depending on the clothing that we wear.
3. Create a Balanced Routine
This starts with getting up at the same time every day. It will help your body establish a circadian rhythm and feel rested throughout the rest of your day.
The next thing you’ll want to do is establish some times to take breaks throughout the day. We know, this may seem comical at first since you’re already at home, but studies are showing that burnout is at a higher rate, and this can help you avoid it.
Treat your home like an office, and use your calendar to schedule breaks. Google Calendar makes this easy, whether it’s 15 mins in the morning or the afternoon.
Trello is also a great site that can help you set deadlines for yourself and feel like you’re back in the office.
4. Challenge Yourself
It can be difficult to remain challenged when you’re working from home. You’re not surrounded by a support group that may typically motivate you, so you may have to rely on yourself a bit more.
Try setting up something as small as a mini-challenge for yourself. For example, take 3 tasks from your calendar and see if you can tackle all of them in the next hour. It gives you a little incentive, and makes you feel rewarded when you complete it.
Little challenges like this will make you more aware of your time and help you use it more wisely.
5. Check In Daily with Your Boss
Chances are when you were back in the office you had a boss or a team leader that was always there to motivate you. That person might not be around physically, but they’re still working hard from their home. Try to schedule daily or weekly check-ins with that person for updates and results.
Even though you can’t have that face to face, those check-ins will go a long way in keeping you motivated. Consider that person your ‘agent of accountability’ and feel free to tell them how helpful those meetings are for you.
Check-ins with your boss are important for staying motivated, but check-ins with others can go a long way as well. Staying connected with your colleagues can help you maintain a positive attitude. Everyone is on the same boat as you right now, so you might as well check in and see how life is going for them.
6. Block Out Distractions
This is an important one. The list of distracting things at home goes on and on. Young kids, pets, cooking, cleaning, laundry – we could keep going, but we’ve made our point. A lot of these are things that can’t necessarily be avoided, so we need to learn how to manage them with our work schedule.
There are a bunch of avoidable things though that we should avoid during work hours. Social media, distracting websites, group chats, and a roller coaster stock market just to name a few. These are things that we totally don’t need, yet they eat up so many hours in our day.
There’s a few strategies you can use to help remedy these distractions. One that makes a huge difference and is so easy to execute is just simply leave your phone off, or in a different room while you are working.
Using Chrome extensions can also be a great way of avoiding distracting sites. Apple products have a feature called Screen Time, for example, that keeps track and manages your time spent on sites that reduce your productivity.
7. Reward Yourself
Small incentives can work in big ways. Use your guilty pleasures as ways to motivate yourself. For example, saying you won’t watch your favourite TV show until all of your daily tasks are complete can be a great way to stay motivated.
This also positively reinforces yourself for being productive and getting work done, which will make you want to do more of it in the future.
8. Get Up and Get Moving
Exercise and get outside. Staying inside all day on your computer is bad for your mental and physical health. Not only will it help you stay motivated by avoiding burnout, but it will also do wonders for your mental health.
A report showed that 30 to 60 minutes of exercise a day during people’s lunch breaks resulted in an average performance increase of 15%.
So remember, you’re not alone in the struggle of remote working. We’re all in this together, and we can all make it easier for one another by checking in and staying active. Try to do little things to make it more manageable, and we’re sure you’ll get yourself in a healthier rhythm. Feel free to reach out to us with any questions and remember to check in for our next blog post.