Unless you’ve been living under a rock, there’s been a little bit of a pandemic around recently which has resulted in the huge amount of the Australian workforce working from home.
While the prospect of being able to wear your comfiest trackies ‘to work’ every day was great for some (read: all) of us at the beginning, the challenges soon caught up.
If you’re not used to working from home, and especially if you don’t have a dedicated work set up, it may have occurred to you that there are so many distractions that surround us in the house. If it’s not screaming kids and pets demanding your affection, it’s the easy access to the TV, fridge and pantry. And we say after 5 trips to the kitchen in an hour, enough is enough.
So how are we keeping ourselves motivated while working remotely?
1. Wake up early
While it’s super tempting to roll out of bed 10 minutes before work begins, making a quick cup of coffee, and then getting straight into it - if your aim is to get motivated, it’s a good thing to set a time for yourself to wake up every day.
Ever since lockdown started, I’ve been consistently waking up an hour before work, and that act of getting out of bed and kicking my first goal of the day gets me set on the right path. Also, it just feels really good and productive to get everything sorted before your day really starts, maybe even getting time to fit in a podcast or a bit of reading too.
2. Create a routine
If you’ve got a habit of ‘winging it’, while you’re not necessarily setting yourself up for failure, you may be setting yourself for a really disorganised path to success.
We chuckle, but it’s true. It doesn’t even start when the workday begins, but that moment you get out of bed. Your routine may be washing your face, getting dressed, eating breakfast, watching some morning news, writing a to-do list for the day, and so forth.
Everyone’s routine will look different, but the act of creating a routine ensures that you’re getting the basic things sorted, removing those distractions from your mind before you get stuck into your work.
It may even look like ending the day with a checklist too! This is something that I’m hugely fond of, as anything that’s not on paper is in my head, which means that I’m thinking about work even when I’m not at work. That’s such an important thing to remember too. Being at home for work means that it’s critical to be able to separate your work from your personal life.
As you get into your routine, you’ll find it easier to get motivated and accomplish tasks throughout the day.
3. Create a schedule & write it out
Similarly to a routine, but more based around your workday, it’s important to maintain structure in your workday, otherwise you might find time getting away from you. Without a schedule, you might find that something that used to take you 30 minutes now takes you 2 hours to do.
The routine can also be based on how you work best. Are you a person that likes to work earlier in the day in order to finish earlier? Someone who likes to do the harder things first in the day? Or are you someone who likes to ease their way into it? Create a schedule that works best for you!
Have a clear schedule, establish a time to begin and end work, and stick to it as closely as you can.
4. Define or create a workspace
There may be a huge temptation to work from your bed, and we’d be lying if we said we didn't try.
While it may be the most comfortable space to work in the house, when you associate your bed with work, it can interfere with your sleep, which can affect your performance the next day.
So while you may not necessarily need to buy a whole new home office set up, setting up at the kitchen table or a desk in the corner of your living room may be a better alternative to your bedroom.
5. Work in blocks
To make your work more manageable, it may be more productive for you to break a huge task into blocks. Rather than staring at a huge project and not knowing where to start, it will be easier to tackle it by taking baby steps. This can help keep you motivated in working towards accomplishing this goal too.
Working hand in hand with scheduling, when you know that you only have 15 minutes to complete a task, it’ll keep you accountable and also stop you from distracting yourself on Instagram or Facebook.
6. Limit distractions & interruptions
It’s a whole task in itself to get back into your work once you’re distracted, so sometimes it’s best to remove the likelihood of these interruptions occurring. It may be a case of turning your phone onto ‘Do Not Disturb’ until you’ve completed a task or only checking your email once every hour. If you have kids, it may be a case of giving your kids a task to keep them occupied, setting ground rules about when they are allowed to interrupt you.
7. Change of scenery
It may seem counterintuitive to leave your home office to go work in a patch of sun in the backyard, but if you find yourself getting sluggish and becoming less productive, it may be as easy as moving to another space. We find that a change in the scenery or even a quick breath of fresh air can quickly reset us and get us grinding out our work again.
8. 10-minute rule
Ever have those tasks that you simply don’t want to do? It may be as easy as setting a timer for 10 minutes, and telling yourself you only have to do this task for 10 minutes, then you can take a break if you want.
More often than not, you’ll find that you’ll get past these 10 minutes and keep going.
9. Reward yourself
You might find that you work best when there’s a little reward waiting for you at the end of the road. It might be as simple as telling yourself you can get a cup of tea after you finish writing a report.
Little incentives can go a long way in helping you get your work done efficiently, and it’ll help you see what you’re capable of accomplishing.
10. Challenge yourself
Sometimes a little challenge can help you accomplish a lot too. If it usually takes you 30 minutes to write a blog, maybe next time challenge yourself and see if you can write it in less time. You’ll be surprised at what you’re capable of, and it’s also a good little motivator in getting your work done.
11. Practice self-care
It’s hard to be motivated or productive if you’re exhausted and running off of sugar and caffeine. Make sure to look after yourself physically, mentally and emotionally in order to work at your best.
Eating a healthy diet can be more challenging when you’re limiting the amount you’re leaving the house, but there are so many options out there that can help you make healthier choices every day.
If you’re after healthier snacks to give yourself a little bit of a brain boost, we have various sizes of snack boxes available for businesses and individuals, the perfect thing for when you’re working from home.
Take a step back every now and again to see what you can do to improve your wellbeing, and you’ll see the type of impact it can have on the quality of your work.
If you’re reading this and in Melbourne, you can probably agree with us that it is pretty darn cold these mornings. And as with every Winter, we brace ourselves for the Cold & Flu season, stocking up on panadol, tissues and vicks, preparing a huge batch of chicken broth for when the goings really get you down… Which leads us to our next question. Is chicken broth really the elixir of health and the cure for everything?
With all that's chaotic at the moment, we've been inspired to do a little more good in the world. After a major university became a recent client of ours, we've had some very real conversations with them about how the nature of the current situation is impacting our international student community.