More and more people are choosing to work from home rather than an office. Well, let’s rephrase that…more people are working from home now thanks to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Whether you’re a freelancer, run a small business from your home, or work remotely for a company, there are ways to tweak your routine to keep you feeling motivated and stave off procrastination.
1. Adapt Your Commute
Commuting is probably everyone’s least favorite part of working. If you’re crammed onto the subway or stuck in an endless traffic jam, commuting can be the bane of your working life. But it serves a very useful purpose in separating your home life from your office life. You can recreate that effect at home by developing a “commute” routine before you start your work for the day.
Make it a habit to go for a brisk walk or go to the gym first thing. Make yourself a coffee before you sit at your desk. Do something that marks your entry into a new working day.
2. Use Your Senses to Get Focused
Research has shown that the sensory experience of your environment influences how you feel about it. Your daily trip to the office provides a range of sensory experiences that are new and exciting and not like home. Think of what sounds, smells, and sights can help motivate you. Maybe some fresh flowers, scented candles, and soothing or uplifting music will make working from home more comfortable. Make your home workspace a pleasant place to be.
3. Connect Through Video
Isolation is a real risk for people working at home. Make the most of the video conferencing technology that’s available and connect with colleagues and clients. Have a regular time slot where you’re available for video meetings so they don’t intrude on your focused working time too much. I try to schedule my Zoom meetings on Tuesday and Thursday afternoons so I can devote that time to only calls and can make space for other times I need to be more focused on my creative work.
Video meetings also mean you have to look somewhat professional…well, at least on the upper half of your body. 😉
4. Prioritize Your Self-Care
It can be tempting to let your self-care slide when you’re working from home. Unless you have some discipline, one day can be much like another, and you can find your motivation lacking. Or you might find you’re staying up later and later and not having enough energy to be productive during the day.
Try focusing on one aspect of self-care every week. Make a list of the self-care items that are important to you, starting with good sleep hygiene, fitness, healthy eating, and relaxing with friends and family. Be sure to include enough downtime so you can pursue your favorite hobbies and sports. The better you take care of yourself, the more productive you’ll be at work.