Many people today find themselves working remotely for the first time. That might be an entirely new experience for you. Or perhaps you’re a remote veteran, but you’re suddenly sharing your home workspace with a spouse, roommate, or family member.
You may have access to all the collaboration and communication technology you need to get your work done. Stil, you find it hard to concentrate and stay motivated to keep going. There are just too many distractions around you, and it’s easier to let things slide until you’re not logging on until the late afternoon. Then, you “work” by scrolling through messages instead of actually, you know, working.
Not to worry, you’re not alone. Both new and veteran remote workers are finding it challenging to work from home these days. So we’ve gathered a few tips to help you find and sustain your motivation to keep you going. You can read about what tools to use elsewhere; here, we’re going to talk about some different things you can do to get your mojo back.
Create a Routine
There’s a reason all the productivity blogs and experts out there talk about To-Do lists and routines. They help us stay on task, productive, and happy. Knowing precisely what’s up next can be very motivating because you save time. No wasting time or energy.
Routines can be useful for your home life, too, when you’re working from home. Create a new routine for working at home with breaks, meals, and fun times too.
Set Up a Protected Workspace
Veteran remote workers already have a protected workspace in their homes, but newly remote workers might not. It can be tempting to set up on the couch with your laptop, but that’s not very conducive to work.
Instead, work at a designated table or space, if you can. Advise your family that one part of your dining room is now your office and that all meals will be eaten at the kitchen table. That space is now “your” office and shouldn’t be used for anything else. When you’re seated there, you’re not to be disturbed.
Numerous studies have shown that we’re terrible multitaskers. In fact, only 2.5 percent of people can do it effectively, which leaves the rest of us doing multiple things badly at the same time. We get things half-done or done so poorly we have to re-do them.
Solve this by avoiding multitasking altogether. Stick to one task at a time until you reach a natural conclusion and only then move on to the next.
Schedule Down Time Regularly
Building in some time to relax outside of work is essential for remote workers. Your brain and body need some time away from work to recharge and replenish. Some remote workers go to the gym every couple of days, while others go for walks every afternoon. President Obama used to schedule meals with his family so he could catch up with them at the start and end of the day. Sometimes he’d have to work later at night, but he wanted to be there for them, so he made the time in his schedule. It can keep things in perspective for you and motivate you to be present when you are working.
Create Reminders For Mundane Tasks
Save your brainpower for the tasks that really need it and set up reminders and alarms to keep track of the mundane tasks you’ve got to do. Whether it’s that report you need to generate every two weeks or a household task you’re in charge of, let technology track it for you. This way, you can be present for the things that matter and let the reminders handle the rest.
Leave Time For Learning Something New
Another way to stay motivated for work is to give yourself the chance to stretch by learning something new. Whether it’s something physical or mental, taking that time to engage with something new gives you a chance to exercise new literal and mental muscles. Take the time to learn a new skill for work to add to your toolkit, like how to use WordPress or Squarespace. Or, learn something new that’s fun and interesting to you, like a new recipe, a new language, or hobby. Consider it an investment in you, no matter whether it pays off at work or at home in the future.
There you are, some tips to help you find and sustain your motivation while working from home. Change things as needed, and you’ll find your stride soon. We all do.