With concerns about Coronavirus becoming the new normal, most office workers have to transition to at-home work.
For many, the lockdown seems to be an opportunity to kick back and relax in their pajamas, work flexible hours, take meetings from the comfort of their couch – and so on. However, there is definitely a negative aspect to working remotely – namely, the black hole that time seems to disappear down into.
Taking the dog out for long, long walks out of boredom, finally getting around to that ‘spring’ cleaning you’ve been putting off or falling into the Netflix trap – all of this is pretty much inevitable. Remember, without clear expectations and a formal environment, it’s very easy to get distracted.
And the reason is obvious – working from home, especially for an extended period, means that the two separate parts of your life clash. As a result, your personal life and work are both affected.
So the question here is, how to stay motivated when you work from home?
The simple answer is that you have the power – you can choose to take your sweet time or get everything done on schedule. To help you with the latter, we’ve compiled the following 6 tips as do’s and don’ts so you can stay focused and motivated when working from home.
- Don’t Work From Your Bed – Set Up A Small Office
- Do Create A Work Schedule
- Don’t Be Tempted To Watch TV
- Do Take Regular Breaks As You Would In Office
- Don’t Work In Your Pajamas
- Do Automate The Tasks You Can
Let’s jump in.
1 – Don’t Work From Your Bed – Set Up A Small Office
This is the first and one of the most important rule – do not work from your bed or even the couch. Simply put, you need to find a space that is free from the temptation of going back to sleep or dozing off.
It’s a good idea to set up a small, dedicated office space somewhere. You don’t need a lot of space for this – commandeer a small corner of the kitchen counter or table and set up a mini-office for yourself. Ensure that the space is not cluttered with household items that could distract you from the task at hand.
2 – Do Create A Work Schedule
This is pretty much the best way to stay motivated while working from home.
With a million and one distractions, household chores and work, it’s difficult to align everything so as not to lose your focus. For this, the best solution is to create a work schedule around your regular, office working hours.
Don’t just start working whenever or wherever – pretend you’re still in office and have to punch in the same number of hours every day. Yes, it’ll be hard at first and may seem a bit strange, but you’ll slowly get used to it.
The first step is to wake up on your usual time, dress up like you would any other day and sit down to work on time. Of course, the time you’re saving on commute could be utilized to improve your productivity.
For instance, if you’re in sales, then you could use the extra time to interact a bit more with the lead you’ve been talking to for a couple of months. If you have the right sales triggers and other such information at your fingertips (or database), then this is the perfect time to build some rapport with people. Even if they don’t close at this point, they’ll remember you when all this is over.
3 – Don’t Be Tempted To Watch TV
Thinking of switching the TV on while you work for some background or white noise? While it does help you focus better by drowning out disruptive noises, it can also have the opposite effect.
Especially in the time it takes for the TV to become white noise, the show, movie or even news could suck you in – and before you know it, you’re down the rabbit hole.
And whatever you do, do not – we repeat – do not make the mistake of putting on Netflix during your ‘working’ hours.
If you can’t work without some background noise, you could plug in your earphones and play whatever music you like. Other options include listening to your favorite podcast or a webinar.
4 – Do Take Regular Breaks As You Would In Office
Just like you need a break in office at regular intervals, you also need to pause and breathe for a second at home. If you try to get everything done in one sitting, you could potentially end up frustrated, stressed and unable to focus on the task at hand.
In fact, we’d say that it’s even more crucial to get up every now and then for a coffee break, lunch or to stretch your legs a bit when you’re working from home.
Don’t believe us? Here are some benefits of taking a break from work:
- It helps you to retain and process information
- Increases your creativity
- Helps you cultivate healthier habits
- And lastly, breaks help you increase your productivity
5 – Don’t Work In Your Pajamas
Everyone knows what it means to dress for success at work. But the fact is, dressing up properly can affect your mood and help you feel more confident regardless of where you are. In other words, working in your pajamas will not help you wake up or put you in the mindset to work.
And no, we don’t mean that you should dress up in a suit – even casual clothes like jeans and a t-shirt are fine and will help you settle better into ‘work mode.’
6 – Do Automate The Tasks You Can
While you’ve already automated many tasks in office, continuing the tradition at home will help you stay motivated and focused.
So besides the usual, such as scheduling appointments, social media posts and emails, here are a couple of ideas that can help you:
- Set up email filters for messages that are not important
- Assign specific ringtones for your colleagues so you know when you pick up
If you’re an SDR, you can also ask your data vendor to send you triggers on your leads and accounts on a daily basis. This will help you start a conversation, talk about new things and even close a deal if you’re consistent.
And that’s it for now – these are some suggestions on how you can stay motivated when working from home. In fact, so far they have been working great for our housebound team and in certain cases, they have even allowed us to increase our productivity!
Good luck and stay safe everyone!