We all know the feeling too well – you sit at your desk at 9:30 am, and for the first hour, you feel the most productive you’ve ever been in your life. You type at a speed of what feels like three thousand words a minute, and you’re crossing tasks off your to-do list quicker than your hands can keep up with.
But, mid-morning, you begin to run out of steam. You push through until lunchtime, but on returning to your desk afterward, find you can’t seem to get yourself focused again.
Mid-afternoon, the brain fog starts setting in. Your to-do list, which looked so manageable and easy earlier on, now looks like a set of impossible tasks. And the fact you need to get it all done within the next three hours makes you feel completely overwhelmed.
The stress of trying to get your work head screwed back on keeps you from working to the best of your ability. And not working to the best of your ability keeps you from getting your work head screwed back on. That can be a vicious cycle!
By the end of the day, you’ve either got tasks leftover that you need to complete the next day - on top of the tasks for the next day. Or you’ve managed to get everything done, but aren’t sure it’s up to your usual standard. You aren’t alone if this all sounds familiar to you.
So, what can we do? How can we keep ourselves motivated while working from home? And push through, rather than letting ourselves become our own worst workplace enemy?
7 STEPS THAT CAN HELP YOU TO STAY MOTIVATED WHILE WORKING FROM HOME:
Let's discuss these 7 steps in detail.
ESTABLISH YOUR GOALS AND DEADLINES.
At the beginning of each day, when you make your to-do list, be sure to emphasize with yourself how important each task is. If something needs doing today, it needs doing today!
Focus on your tasks and write them in order of urgency, and cross them off as you complete them. Take a moment, too, to consider what the alternative to getting things done really is. The work won’t go away, it will just need doing at another time – by which point, you’re supposed to be doing something else.
BE FIRM WITH YOURSELF.
You’re not going to get anything done if you don’t make yourself do it. When there’s nobody else around, it becomes very easy to let the distractions creep in, but it’s important to do what you can to stop them.
Yes, it may be a few minutes at a time – the odd scroll through Facebook here and a short YouTube video there – but those minutes add up! If you’re checking your phone a couple of times an hour, it could end up adding up to missing out on a big chunk of your workday.
Even if it's taking the time to reply to a message, or having a short conversation, it could end up. adding up to missing out on a big chunk of your workday. Unless you want to make that time up after you should have logged off for the evening, you’re harming your productivity this way.
So, when you see yourself reaching for your phone, tell yourself no! You’ll thank yourself in the end.
If your colleagues are also working from home, maybe check in with them and ask what they’re getting done that day, and share your own goals and deadlines. Sometimes it can help to have other people on the same team as us keeping us accountable.
Also, why not get in touch with your other friends who are working from home in their own jobs and ask them how it’s going for them? You would be surprised by how many people are struggling with the same distractions as you are.
And even if they’re not, you’ve got someone to ask for tips on staying motivated while working from home and pushing through that mid-afternoon slump!
USE YOUR BREAKS WISELY.
Try not to spend your lunch break at your desk. If you do, especially at home, then you aren’t exactly giving yourself a proper break. Instead, leave your workstation for a while. Enjoy that time away from the tasks that you’re going straight back to.
If you make the most of your lunchtime, then you’ll feel more refreshed and ready to focus when it comes to it. But use the time to check in with friends and family.
Or watch something on TV, listen to music, even go for a walk… anything to take your mind off your work for a little while. Stick to your allotted break time, though. Extended lunch is going to bite you back when you’re feeling the time pressure later on.
Sometimes the way we feel in our bodies affects our state of mind. If you’ve been sat staring at your screen all morning, and your arms and legs begin to fall asleep, then your brain is going to, too. Take a moment to stand up, stretch, walk around a little – once you’ve woken your body, you’ll wake up your mind a little, too.
Water is your friend! If you start to feel yourself getting sleepy, make sure you have some H2O on hand to refresh yourself a little.
FIX YOUR SLEEP SCHEDULE.
Give yourself enough time to wake yourself up before you begin working in the morning. So avoid going to bed much later than usual. And resist the temptation to have a lie-in the time you before used traveling to the office.
You might not be giving yourself the rest you need. Make sure that when you wake up, you’ve got plenty of time to get yourself prepared for the day.
Get dressed, having breakfast, etc., and when you finish work, give yourself enough time to wind down before going to sleep.
REMEMBER WHAT ‘WORK’ IS!
While we’re working from home, the work aspect itself starts to fade into the background a little. Keep in mind that, despite being in a more relaxed setting, your job is still your job. Don’t let yourself get complacent, as it could affect you later on.