5 ways to stay motivated when working from home
Motivation during the pandemic is a unique challenge
With Covid-19 shutting down much of the country, many people will be working from home. This presents a number of challenges to those who are not used to being around all the temptations at home and still need to get their work done and stay motivated while doing so. This ties into my previous post on self-efficacy which is an essential trait found in successful people.
Here are 5 ways to stay motivated when you work from home.
1. Remind yourself why you’re doing it
This is the most obvious one, but it helps to remind yourself why you’re doing the work in the first place in order to stay motivated. If you’re self-employed, remind yourself why you made this choice. What are you working towards?
It could be anything from:
- A fancy holiday,
- Financial freedom
- A new car
- Sending the kids to college
- Saving for retirement
- Making the world a better place
The trick to this is to make your reason as compelling as possible. To do this, it’s helpful to imagine very specifically what life would be like once you have achieved your goal.
How, specifically, would your (or other people’s) life be different? What does it look like? Smell like? Taste like? How vibrant and interesting can you make this picture of you achieving your goal?
Also, be as specific as you can with regards to what your goal is. For example: “I want to earn more money” is too vague. Instead, rephrase it to something more specific like “I want to earn an extra $5000 per month”. Then make this vision as appealing as possible by vividly imagining how your life would be different once you have achieved this.
This is the true key to making your vision more compelling to yourself which will, in turn, give you a boost of motivation as your desire for the goal increases.
2. Schedule regular breaks
This is a very important tactic to use when you’re feeling drained and uninspired. Take a 15-20-minute break after every hour of uninterrupted work and do something that is physically in contrast. For example, if you sit at a desk for work then get up and move around, maybe even take a walk and stretch. If your job is very active, take a seat, and relax. This is a great way to reset yourself and stay motivated for the next batch of work you need to complete.
3. Clear up your workspace
Another trick that can help you refocus is by clearing your workspace if it’s getting too cluttered. This also works for other menial tasks like taking out the trash or washing dishes. It’s easy to do and gives you a small sense of accomplishment for completing something.
An activity like this is less about the actual clearing up or decluttering of your workspace but rather to offer you an "easy win" which your brain appreciates and rewards you for. This sense of accomplishment can then drive you forward to more complex work tasks.
This point can also serve as one of your small breaks from work, thus killing two birds with one stone.
4. Set specific and achievable daily targets
Even if you have an unending supply of work, it is far more productive to set very specific goals for that day. It’s easy to become overwhelmed and demotivated if all you can see is a mountain of work before you. Here are some helpful questions you can ask yourself before the day begins:
- What work is essential/on a deadline and needs to be completed today?
- What would I ideally like to accomplish by the end of today?
- If I could accomplish just one thing today, what would it be?
- What are some easy tasks I can get out of the way right now?
- In what small way can I reward myself after I completed each task?
The concept of rewarding yourself could easily be another point on this list but I’ll just discuss it here. By rewarding yourself something small after the completion of each task, you will help to stay motivated.
I don’t recommend making the reward something big each time like getting takeout food or taking the rest of the day off as this can easily be more detrimental than helpful. Rather make it something meaningful but small i.e. play with your dog for 10 minutes, take a quick walk outside or even just watch an entertaining video or two for 10 minutes.
5. Stay hydrated, Fed, and Well-rested
Your brain is an incredibly complex organ that is responsible for absolutely everything that goes on in your body. As you can imagine, this is resource-intensive. Your brain needs fuel! Drinking plenty of water and eating healthy meals will help keep your energy levels in check and allow your brain to function at its best.
2 liters of water every day and a balanced diet is not only important for staying healthy but also allowing you to work and concentrate at an optimal level. It goes without saying that sleep is also an essential part of this and allowing your body to get enough rest will help you power through your day. Required sleep generally varies from person to person but a good average would be between 7 and 8 hours each night.
I hope this gives you some ideas to stay motivated and productive at home during this difficult time. If you have any suggestions of your own that work for you, please leave them in the comments!