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Staying motivated while working remotely

Staying motivated while working remotely
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Staying motivated while working remotely
Siobhan Stirling - Sharp Minds Communications for Capital Space by Siobhan Stirling - Sharp Minds Communications for Capital Space
Owner/Director - Sharp Minds Communications Ltd

Working from home has become the norm for many of us, but it can still feel far from normal. From slow starts to getting distracted by the kids, your productivity may have dipped and you may be struggling to maintain the same workload as when you were thriving in your office environment. With the lockdown still in place, it’s likely that working from home will continue to be common practice for many businesses. So, we’ve pulled together some tips to help you maintain your motivation, positivity and productivity.

Perfecting your home workspace for optimum productivity

At first, staying at home may have been a pleasant change of setting from the office, without the hassle of commuting, finding a parking space or even getting off the sofa. However, defining a dedicated workspace within your home could be the push you need to get out of a productivity slump during the day and kick a hyperactive mind at night. By drawing a line between the sofa, where you relax in the evening, and your specific workstation, you may find it easier to switch on and off.

Even worse than working on the sofa, is working in bed. The Wall Street Journal reported that 80% of young professionals admitted doing this – a practice that blurs the line between not only between work and home life, but between day and night. It can affect sleep, as you may be working later due to a lapse in productivity, making you stare at your screen for longer, which reduces the melatonin you need to doze off.  

If you’re lucky enough to have a home office, use it! Keep this room restricted to work only, so when you enter, your brain is prepared to focus. Ensure distractions, such as the TV, your phone, and particularly persistent family members stay out of the room (as much as parental duties allow). Even if you don’t have a separate room, designate the dining-room table or a specific chair in the living room to work only. When you leave this space, it’s time to wind down.

You can only be as efficient as the setting you’re in, so keeping your workspace tidy and accessible will also help you stay motivated when you’re working.

Routine tips to help maintain your productivity while working from home

Physical steps can help your mindset hugely. Establishing a clear routine will help send signals to your brain as to when you need to keep on the ball with work – and will also help you unwind at the end of the day:

  • Get dressed: A three-piece suit or bodycon dress and jacket may be over the top, but getting out of your pyjamas will help you switch onto work. It’s not just Facebook-meme psychology! Research has shown that wearing formal clothing can increase your brain power.
  • Plan your day: Whether this is digitally laid out in colour-coded segments on Microsoft Outlook, or simply scribbled in a notebook, make sure you have some sort of agenda to give shape to your day. Dedicate timeslots to certain tasks so that you’re not distractedly jumping between jobs, as this can be overwhelming.
  • Plan meals: In the same way that you might pack your lunch for work and have something to look forward to in your break, plan healthy snacks and meals to eat during your breaks to keep you energized.
  • Stay hydrated: It’s well established that hydration affects productivity and cognitive ability. Don’t rely on cups of tea or coffee to keep you going – set yourself a goal, such as drinking a glass of water every hour. This also guarantees you regular breaks to top up your water intake!
  • Take advantage of your daily exercise allowance – Extensive research has shown a correlation between physical activity and improved cognitive ability, so make sure to get up from your desk to move around occasionally, home exercise and leave the house once a day to get some fresh air. Getting moving will help you concentrate when you’re back at your desk – and simply seeing the outside world should be a positive tonic. If you’ve got children who are home schooling, the same benefits of exercise have also been tracked in young children, so make sure they take time away from their books to follow Joe Wicks PE lessons or other online classes and get out of the house once a day as well – helping them to focus will help you to concentrate!

Getting the balance right while working from home

Even with the best routine, keeping up your productivity levels can still be a challenge, especially if you’re juggling home schooling or trying to work alongside other members of your family in cramped circumstances. Bearing the following facts in mind will help you keep focussed, but also help you achieve some balance in these challenging times:

  1. Your work is important, not just to you, but to your colleagues and clients – however….
  2. You might not be able to work at the pace you achieved when you were based in the office, so don’t compare yourself too harshly to how you worked before the lockdown.
  3. Everyone is in a similar boat!

Motivational quotes to help you keep going

For some of us, adapting to working from home will be a simple adjustment; for others, it will be a lot harder – especially those who thrive on the buzz of interaction with colleagues. But all of us are likely to have times when we find it hard to switch into gear in this strange new lockdown world.  If the going has gotten tough for you, you may find some of the following thoughts motivational:  

Harry Potter creator JK Rowling was famously rejected by all bar one person that she sent her first manuscript to. Publishing some of her rejection letters online, she reflected a sentiment that Robert the Bruce would have been proud of:

“I wasn't going to give up until every single publisher turned me down.”

Beyoncé also has some words of wisdom for how to deal with demotivation and stress:

“Whenever I feel bad, I use that feeling to motivate me to work harder. I only allow myself one day to feel sorry for myself. When I’m not feeling my best, I ask myself, ‘What are you going to do about it?’.”

If you’re still wallowing (and we may all be a little guilty of that during this crisis), it may be time for some tough love from Bill Gates:

“Life is not fair – get used to it!”

You’re bound to feel challenged during this time; accepting that working from home is tough is perhaps the step you need to take before you can throw yourself into work again. That, and getting out of your PJs!

You may feel frustrated, overwhelmed, bored or all of the above during the coronavirus lockdown. By changing your current habits, adopting helpful routines and putting things into perspective, you can begin to boost your motivation at home and work through the lockdown productively – one day at a time.

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call 0800 107 3667