Working remotely: A Guide to Staying Motivated Amidst a World of Distractions
August 13, 2020
Working from home is likely to remain a necessity for quite some time. Some are lucky enough to have room for an office, others may be camped out on the kitchen table or on the couch. Regardless of where you are, here are some tips to keep you focused on the job at hand.
- Work as you would from the office
Maybe saying a world of distractions is pushing it a little, but I can think of quite a few distractions around the house to occupy my time (That pile of washing could be done, that carpet isn’t going to vacuum itself…the list is endless!). The key is to train yourself to ignore those niggling chores during working hours and to maintain the thought that under normal circumstances you would not be there to do it. Yes, you could do a chore, but wait until your designated lunch break to get it done – or leave it until the end of the day.
- Be at your desk early
It is tempting to grab an extra hour in bed and to think – I’ll make it up at the end of the day. But be honest with yourself. Will you do it, or will you make the promise to start an hour earlier tomorrow? A great habit to get into is to set yourself the goal of being at your desk by 8.50 a.m. at the latest. Get up, take a shower and get dressed. The change in mindset from pajamas to proper clothes may surprise you.
- Structure your day effectively
Having a routine is key to home working. Without a routine, your time management could well descend into chaos. Begin your first 10 minutes of everyday breaking tasks into manageable chunks. For example, emails and admin from 9-10 a.m. is a common start, and then work through until a coffee break at 11 a.m. Work again from 11:15 a.m. until lunch at 1-2 p.m., and then through again until a coffee break at 3:45 p.m. Start again at 4 p.m., and go through until 5:30 p.m. By breaking the day down, it is so much easier to keep the mind on the task at hand.
- Leave the house if it is safe to do so
The temptation to stay indoors all day must be avoided – at least for any length of time. It is essential to try and maintain some separation between home life and work life, and leaving your house for a jog or a brisk walk can help to take you out of the environment you are spending so much time in at present. If you usually wander to Pret a Manger for lunch, take that time and walk around the block. Are you a jogger? If you can manage a 3 mile run in half an hour, that still leaves plenty of time for a sandwich afterwards. Whatever you do, change your surroundings at least once a day.
- Stay connected
One of the hardest elements of working from home if you are used to an office environment is the lack of connection with people. In the office you can interact at will, and natural breaks for conversations during the day will occur that help to keep morale high and minds stimulated. On your own at home, this will start to be missed very quickly. Therefore, it is important to pick up the phone or to schedule that Zoom conference call to make sure you feel connected to your team. Make the effort to speak often since email or text exchange will not be as fulfilling as a real conversation.
So there you have a few tips and tricks to make remote working a fruitful, productive and altogether more enjoyable experience. We hope to be able to return to our respective offices soon, but in the interim the least we can do is to remain happy in our work from wherever we reside.