Many Americans began working from home several months ago… and we’re still doing it! Now the novelty has worn off and reality is setting in.
In such an environment, it can be hard to stay motivated! We’ve got some tips on continuing to work smarter during the summer and for the next few months as well.
Keep to your schedule
Have you started to delay your workday, which means you’re working longer into the night? Which means you’re not getting enough sleep so you’re starting your day later, and on and on? Break the habit by getting back to your schedule.
As long as you’re not a night owl, getting back to your 9 to 5 plan will help you get back on track. Go ahead and set your alarm so you can get to your desk at 9. Remind yourself of your morning routine that involves breakfast, exercise, and whatever else you do to set your day up for success.
Hopefully by now your desk is set up correctly in your dedicated workspace. If you’re still trying to work on the sofa, you’re at risk for sprains and strains. Not to mention spilling your coffee all over your computer!
And if you’ve got a folding table, you can even create a sit-stand desk for yourself without buying additional equipment. There’s no reason to stay sitting all day when moving is so good for your health.
Schedule your day in blocks
There are plenty of distractions when you’re working remotely, so setting a schedule can help you manage your time better. Blocking out time for smaller tasks helps you deal with the larger ones that seem insurmountable. Make motivation easier!
Find some challenges
How much work can you get done in the next half-hour? How many tasks can be completed, words written, packages sealed, designs created, etc.?
After your break, see how much more you can do in the next half-hour.
In other words, see if you can gamify your tasks while you’re working from home. It’ll be more fun and after you’ve challenged yourself, you may just find that missing motivation.
Mix it up
Similarly, try experimenting with your strategies while you work from home. Maybe you do want to work for an hour or two in the evening after an invigorating workout. Or maybe you have more energy in the afternoon after a brisk lunchtime walk.
You may find yourself rearranging the time blocks in your schedule once you discover when your very productive times are. And when you should really just sit down and write some emails or make phone calls that don’t require too much energy.
Dread the task? Use the 10-minute rule
If there’s something that you’re really dragging your feet on doing because you really don’t want to do it, promise yourself that you only need to work on it for 10 minutes and then you can take a break. Set a timer.
With most projects you’ll probably be ready to keep going when the timer goes off. And if not, go ahead and take your break. Then set the timer for the next 10 minutes and repeat until you get it done.
Give yourself a little reward
Sometimes things are easier when you have a treat waiting. (Not necessarily a food treat!) If you’re able to complete all your priorities, you get to watch your favorite show at the end of the day. Many people do this for exercise, but you can do it for work too!
Give yourself a lot of self-care
As we’ve written, self-care isn’t just about bubble baths (though they can be if bubble baths work for you!) Nutrition, exercise, and plenty of sleep are important to taking care of yourself.
It’s harder with coronavirus and social distancing to keep up with friends. And by now plenty of us have Zoom fatigue. But a simple phone call to someone you haven’t talked to in a while might give you a good boost.
From time to time, especially when you’re feeling very stressed, ask yourself what you can do to soothe yourself. Maybe a walk in nature or some meditation will relax you. Or pummel a pillow until you wear yourself out!
Accept your feelings
Social distancing and working from home is stressful for everyone. You might be feeling more emotional than usual. Rather than try to pretend these feelings don’t exist, go ahead and acknowledge that you’re having them.
If you’re feeling anxious about a task, that’s OK. You might feel uncomfortable the whole time… but how great will you feel when it’s done? You can get through the situation even when it doesn’t feel great, just accept that you’re not feeling happy about it.
How are you staying motivated? Let us know in the comments!