Learn how to stay motivated while working from home with these simple tips.
Our working lives are just one of the many things the pandemic changed about the world.
From 2019 to 2021, the number of people working primarily from home shot up from 5.7% to 17.9% according to the Census Bureau.
Many of us who went from a cubicle to our couches face one big challenge: How do we stay productive and motivated while working from home?
While it seems overwhelming at times, the data shows us that it’s not only possible, it’s actually likely. A study by Owl Labs found that 90% of work-from-home (WFH) employees reported the same level of productivity or higher than when they worked in the office.
So, now that we know you can stay productive working from home, how do you do it consistently?
As a WFH employee myself, I’ll bring you my own tips, as well as tips I’ve gathered over hours of research into the best strategies out there.
TABLE OF CONTENTS
Here’s what I uncovered in my research on everything from how to stay productive to how to preserve your mental health.
Without a commute, it’s tempting to set your alarm for the time you want to “clock” in and start work. Unfortunately, studies show that morning people are the most productive.
Now, that doesn’t mean that you need to run a 10K and chug a green juice before sunrise.
Just getting up with enough time for some food, a shower, and a stretch can make a big difference. As a bonus, start every morning with a glass of water. Our bodies dehydrate overnight, so water first thing in the AM naturally wakes you up making it the perfect pre-coffee ritual.
Personally, I find that when I get up early enough to eat, take my dogs out, and shower before I sit down to work, I can focus on my tasks without feeling like I’ve missed something.
With no nosy cubicle neighbors peeking over your shoulder to look at what you browse, it’s easy to slip into a social media rabbit hole. If you know you lack browsing willpower (no judgment here, for sure) there are plenty of tools to help you focus.
You may want to use a website blocker like Freedom or StayFocusd if you want to train (force) yourself to stay on track. These tools allow you to select the sites you want to block for set periods of time to prevent you from getting distracted.
On your phone, you can use a tool like one sec that helps bring more mindfulness into your app usage. For example, if you want to curb the impulse to open your email when you first wake up, it’ll ask you to take a deep breath before deciding whether to open the app.
You’ve probably heard this one before, but it bears repeating:
Don’t work where you sleep.
Any Google search will turn up warnings about everything from decreased productivity to poor sleep — which is no joke. Lack of sleep can impair your alertness, make you sleepier all day, and even wear away at your quality of life.
Plus, the most obvious consequence of working from your bed is that it’s, well, comfortable. You’ll have a much harder time typing up reports from under your duvet than you will at a desk.
The logic behind why you shouldn’t work from your bed also holds true when it comes to your attire.
When you get up and get dressed, you signal to your brain that it’s time to do work. Now, I’m not saying put on a suit and tie (unless you want to), but certainly don’t start working in whatever you wore to bed the night before. Perhaps your business casual sweatpants will do?
What you wear while working remotely can affect your feelings and attitudes toward your work, and there’s a fancy term for this — enclothed cognition.
One study on enclothed cognition found that remote workers who dressed in clothing that’s usually worn outside of work (like jeans and a t-shirt) felt like they were more authentic, and it led them to be more engaged in their work.
Whatever you choose, just know that changing into clothes does wonders to put you in the right headspace to be productive.
This is a non-negotiable in my day. If I don’t get up and pick out some clean, comfortable clothes to put on before I start work, I feel low and uncomfortable all day.
If you notice yourself feeling a little distracted, even with some of the tools above, try changing where you work.
Research shows that simply changing your surroundings can radically reduce writer’s block, stress, and boredom. As a bonus, use your change to spend some time outside or access some natural light, since both are natural mood boosters.
Another small-but-mighty productivity hack is the use of a time tracker. Some people find that if they put themselves on 20- or 30-minute intervals of highly focused work (followed by a two- to five-minute break), they produce far better work. This method is also known as the Pomodoro Technique.
Apps like FocusBooster make automating these intervals a snap so you can stay focused on your task instead of checking the clock.
Above all, be clear about when you start and stop your day. The reason is simple: If you don’t stay strict about when you get to work and when you step away, you’ll very quickly find yourself with less of a work/life balance.
Set timers for yourself and let your coworkers know when you are and are not available. And when it’s time for your day to end, shut down the laptop and snooze your messaging app.
You need the time to de-stress, hang out with family, binge Netflix, or whatever helps you relax. Work will still be there tomorrow.
While remote workers experience less job stress, it doesn’t mean that we’re without our challenges.
In order to be the best team member (and best version of yourself) you can be, consider putting these strategies to work when you clock in tomorrow.
Meghan Tocci is a content strategist at SimpleTexting. When she’s not writing about SaaS, she’s trying to teach her puppy Lou how to code. So far, not so good.More Posts from Meghan Tocci
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