While some people have now returned to their office, many of us are still working from home. Being in your own house does have perks – lower travel costs! – but remaining productive on a long-term basis can be challenging. Stress, lack of motivation, and anxiety are completely normal and, alongside this, you might have worries about future job prospects or difficulties continually juggling work and personal life. Here's a reminder of some simple tips for staying productive and motivated while working from home.
1. Stick to a routine
Without steady schedules, the lines between business and personal time can easily blur. Follow normal sleep and work patterns if possible. Get up at the same time, eat breakfast and get out of your pyjamas. Try scheduling in your ‘commuting time’ as well, but spend it exercising, reading or listening to music, before logging in. Most importantly, when your workday ends, stop working. Shut down, avoid checking emails and focus on your home life. And try to get to bed at your usual time.
2. Create a dedicated workspace
Try to find a quiet space away from distractions. Get everything you need in one place, before you start. Choose your seating carefully: it might be tempting to slump on the sofa but you’ll stay more alert at a desk or table.
3. Give yourself a break
Make time for lunch and screen breaks: they'll help you manage feelings of stress, and allow you to focus on something different, so you feel fresh when you return. Set a time for a walk, run or bike ride outside or go for a coffee.
4. Stay connected
Working from home over a long period of time can cause feelings of isolation. There are lots of ways to stay in touch with those who matter, so make time to socialise virtually: schedule in a digital coffee break or an online get-together.
5. Set boundaries
Setting boundaries with other members of your household is key to working productively. You can be more flexible when you’re at home, so enjoy it. But it can also be difficult if there are other distractions to deal with, like children who may not always be able to distinguish between ‘work time’ and ‘playtime’ and want to be with you when it is not convenient. Have a discussion about your needs: remind them you have work to do and need quiet time to do it. Share your schedule with them so they can see when you will be free for more fun activities.
6. Be kind to yourself
Remember, we’ve been through a really unusual situation and things may still not feel normal. Be kind to yourself and acknowledge you might not always be as productive as you usually would be. Be realistic about what you can achieve, given the circumstances, and relax when your work is done.
Visit Blue Turtle Coaching and Mentoring Services or email Steve at BlueturtleBS@yahoo.com for business mentoring and career coaching.