Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, several companies and businesses have decided to either ask their employees to work from home throughout the work week or stick to a hybrid model where they attend office in person for 2-3 days and work remotely for the rest of the week. However, for many, not being in the office and surrounded by their colleagues has decreased motivation and even adversely affected their efficiency. When you add various distractions at home, starting from washing and cleaning to childcare responsibilities and the strong lure of checking the phone and social media every now and then, staying motivated could seem like an uphill task. Does it mean it’s a hopeless scenario with no solution? Definitely not, we say!
Here are four ways to stay motivated while working from home:
1. Manage your time well
You should schedule blocks of time throughout the day to handle different tasks. Whether it’s a team meeting on Zoom, calling clients, or drafting and sending emails, having schedules etched out in advance and sticking to them will ensure you remain productive and even feel motivated as you strike off one task after the other from your to-do list for the day. If your office allows flexibility instead of sticking to a 9-to-5 schedule, you may even plan chunks for household work in between your office work to strike a balance between your personal and professional life.
If you don’t plan your work schedule well, distractions and interruptions can soon make your productivity dwindle. As a result, your work hours will slowly start creeping into your evenings, which would mean staying up till the late hours and not having time to switch off fully.
2. Have a dedicated space for work
You should designate separate rooms or areas around the house for your office work. For example, you may prefer plopping down on the bed in your pyjamas to work on your laptop, but when you connect your bed with work, it can interfere with your sleep. And when you have trouble sleeping, it’s bound to hurt your performance the next day.
Ideally, you should designate spaces for particular work. Thus, the desk you have set up in your bedroom should be used just for work, while the bed is for sleep, the sofa in the living room for leisure time and Netflix binging, etc. If you can’t find a separate room or have a separate work desk, your kitchen or dining spaces could act as your workspace as they let you work like you’re at a desk. The key is to find the best areas for work and play in your home and keep them consistent. This way, you can create an association between physical space and what to mentally focus on when in that space.
3. Take regular breaks to relax
From time to time, you need to switch off from work, thus allowing your body and brain to relax. Since the human attention span has become pretty short (8.25 seconds, to be precise, which is shorter than that of a goldfish), you’ll need a lot of concentration to extend it for as long as you can. According to recent research, working in 90-minute blocks is an efficient strategy. To understand why this particular duration works well, you need to focus on the brain’s functioning. Your brain uses a significant quantity of energy to bump information back and forth between nerve cells, which decreases your sodium-potassium ratio. Science has proven that the human brain can last for 90 minutes at optimal levels before it starts losing steam and needs about a 20-minute break.
This model of 90 minutes on, 20 minutes off indicates that you should let your body ride that cyclical wave, which it naturally craves, by taking regular breaks to let your brain function at peak efficiency and keep both your productivity and motivation high.
4. Prioritize self-care
When working from home, you need to focus on self-care just as you would have done when you worked from the office. In fact, you need to emphasize self-care more in the WFH scenario as it’s easy to push it to your priority list’s bottom, as the lines between personal and professional often tend to blur when work pressure is tremendous and deadlines come calling. You need to remember that you’ll perform optimally when you consume a nutritious diet, eat your meals on time, take adequate rest, and exercise well.
Since working from home may often seem lonely, as you won’t be able to socialize with colleagues and participate in the water cooler talks, you also need to think outside of the box to take care of your mental and emotional well-being.
Whether you’re working from home permanently or sticking to a hybrid model, the above pointers will let you stay motivated and work at your best.
Thank you for reading,
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