Since it appears that those of us able to work remotely will be continuing for the foreseeable future, here are 3 ideas to help you stay motivated while working from home during the continued COVID-19 lockdowns.
1. Stick to Your ‘Very Early 2020 Normal’ As Much As Possible
Get up at your usual gotta-get-up-and-at-‘em time, get cleaned up, get dressed in something other than pajamas, get something healthy for breakfast, and then get to work. While all this might seem either silly or unnecessary – especially if no one will see you all day – adhering to the usual routine you did before you left home for work will keep some sort of normalcy for you. It will also put you in the mindset of working. Some WFHers even take one day every week or two to get really spiffy, as if they were going to a fancy networking event or company party.
In addition to your actual person, you’ll also benefit from keeping your personal space tidy and organized. Since you’re home so much more now, you’ll find that a neat and clean environment keeps your mind the same, while a cluttered and disorganized area breeds unclear, indecisive, muddled thinking. Spending 5 minutes either at the beginning or end of the day to tidy and organize your workspace, as well as 5-15 minutes to do the same in your household, will put you in a better frame of mind for work (much like the previous tip will).
2. It’s Time to Customize What You’ve Improvised
Speaking of getting to work, it’s time to put together a more permanent and comfortable solution for your workspace, because your laptop literally on your lap while sitting on the couch with reality TV on in the background isn’t going to cut it anymore. You deserve a comfortable and ergonomic area! Whether that means a spare room or closet becomes an office, or a desk from IKEA finds a home in the corner of the dining room, depends on the space you have to work with (as well as your preferences and budget). Yes, we know it’s really comfortable to stay in bed in your PJs and work like that, but doing so can interfere with your sleep vibe.
3. Getting Going and Rewarding Your Efforts
Have you ever heard of the “10-Minute Rule”? Basically, it says that if you commit to just getting started AND spending 10 minutes on a task, you can stop after the 10 minutes… but the kicker is that you probably won’t feel the desire or need to stop working after the timer goes off. The moral of this story is: Sometimes getting started is the hardest part!
There are so many distractions at home – between TV and streaming services, quarantined kids running around, the time-wasting treasure trove of TikTok just a click away on your work computer, and a stocked kitchen full of yummy snacks, it is a wonder we actually get anything done at all. Kids have been responding for decades to knowing there’s a little treat waiting for them at the end of a difficult road, and there’s absolutely nothing wrong with you rewarding yourself in the same way after focusing on work for a period of time or meeting a set goal. Whether that means once a day, once a week, monthly, or otherwise, the possibilities for incentivizing yourself are endless! Here are a few possibilities you might not have thought of, but would really enjoy or benefit from:
- A decadent dinner and/or dessert delivered via DoorDash or GrubHub
- New desk or work area chair, comfort gel cushion, or fleece blanket
- Binge a few of your favorite reruns or a movie on a streaming platform
- Indulge in something meaningful to you (could be a candy bar that brings fond memories to mind, a new yoga or workout class online, or a self-care ritual you’d normally save for a special occasion)
- Plan a time to further investigate those distractions that pop up among the day’s work (like the notification about a new YouTube upload from a channel you like or remembering you DVRed an episode of a daytime talk show because they teased a topic you’d like to learn more about)
- Devote some energy to keeping you moving forward, such as career and skills development, and looking into new responsibilities at work to add value
Working from home or remotely offers many advantages, and we are thankful that so many people have been able to keep their jobs during the pandemic by being able to do so. The transition to WFH because of COVID-19 precautions, and the fact that it has become a long-term situation, means we have to find ways to keep ourselves motivated and on track. We hope the ideas we have shared help you!