By Melanie Robles Editor, VPN Overview
In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, working remotely suddenly became a reality for employees around the globe. Even as restrictions are starting to lift, it’s clear more work can be done from home than previously thought possible. Experts now believe that the trend will last beyond lockdown as it not only benefits employees but businesses too.
Although there are benefits, there are challenges too.
If you’re among the millions of Americans working remotely you might already know that it’s not always easy to keep yourself motivated when not in an office or place of business. However, there are some effective, simple steps you can take to stay fired up and complete your work to expected standards.
- Create a Schedule
Forming good habits takes practice and sticking to a work schedule will help you stay on track. Get up and start working at the same time every morning and finish at the same time every evening. Try to take your daily lunch break around the same time too. If you can, take weekends off completely.
By creating a routine your body will get into a rhythm and you’ll have boundaries in place to maintain a good work/life balance.
- Always Get Dressed for the Day
A good way of shifting gears from relaxing-at-home to getting-work-done is to get dressed as if you were going to the office. If you sit at your desk in your pajamas you probably won’t feel as full of energy as if you’d showered and put on corporate attire. That energy is crucial to your overall level of motivation and putting you in a working mindset.
- Set Up a Dedicated Workspace
Many people fall into the trap of trying to be productive from their bed or a favorite spot in the living room. Instead, set up a calm, ordered workspace for yourself. You don’t want your mind to associate the area where you need to be productive and industrious with the place you sleep or relax.
When setting up a workspace ensures you have access to all the resources you need and everything is running smoothly. If your office uses a VPN make sure it’s connected, and check that you have access to your emails, you can operate video conferring software and all other business tools. Spending endless hours trying to mitigate issues will detract from getting your work done. Your dedicated workspace should function as smoothly as your office to put you in the right headspace.
- Limit Interruptions and Distractions
When working from home, you’re almost certainly going to get distracted or interrupted. Some things you can’t control and just need to accept that you will lose a little time. However, you should also take whatever measures you can to limit these disruptions. Not only do they slow your momentum, but you can also find it difficult to get back to a task once your concentration is broken.
If there are children around, give them set times to come and talk to you. Additionally, mute your phone notifications and limit your social media checks to a few specific times to help you maintain focus.
- Take Regular Breaks
Regular breaks are crucial to maintaining productivity levels. You won’t be able to concentrate for extended lengths of time and working for too long can also leave you seriously unmotivated.
Three hours can feel incredibly daunting, but six stints of 30 minutes are much more manageable. Most people do well working industriously for 50 minutes and then taking 10 minutes off. Vary your activities during these breaks to make them count, and wherever possible, get up and move around a bit.
- Create New Challenges
If you’re engaged in what you’re doing you’re a lot likelier to stay enthusiastic about the task. Among the best ways to ensure this engagement is by challenging yourself. For example, try to write a certain amount of words in the next 20 minutes, or prepare a presentation in a new way.
- Focus On Rewards
The regular breaks that you take throughout the day are small rewards, but you should also use bigger incentives to keep your motivation strong. At the end of the workday make sure you have something enjoyable planned. This could be watching your favorite show, relaxing with a glass of wine, taking a bath, or working out. Just make sure that it’s something you can look forward to.
- Review Your Work Daily
Adapting to working from home can be tricky, so at the end of the day take a look at what you’ve accomplished and congratulate yourself on your achievements. Then, before you close up shop for the evening, make a list of what you need to do when you sit down at your desk the next day. You’ll feel calm, accomplished, and in control – all of which is highly motivating.
- Check-in With Yourself
You might find that you are putting off certain items on your to-do list because some aspect of them makes you uncomfortable. Rather than beating that feeling down or trying to get over it, acknowledge it and try to understand where it’s coming from.
You’ll still need to get through your list but giving yourself a little respect along the way can make it seem less insurmountable. As an extra incentive, you can remind yourself how great you’ll feel when you can tick it off.
- Practice Good Self-Care
If you’re running yourself ragged you won’t feel your best and you won’t be motivated to do your best either. Make sure you get enough sleep, exercise, nutrition, socialization, and non-vocational stimulation.
This might sound a little soft, but it’s vital for strong work performance. Practice good basic self-care to show yourself that you have respect for your abilities and want those skills to be shown off in their best light.
Working from home is an entirely new landscape that needs navigating. By staying motivated you can make the transition and keep up your momentum. In the long run, you may be even more productive remotely.