31 March 2020
If you’re struggling with the ‘new normal’, try these tips to keep you productive when you're in the home office.
All of a sudden thousands of Australians are transitioning from working in offices to working from home and we’re hearing conversations about the challenges of staying motivated without a manager standing over your shoulder, or staff meetings taking up most of your day.
As a team that regularly works from home, or in our studio (social distancing enforced), we are well-practiced at motivating, managing ourselves, and communicating with the outside world via phone or the various meeting apps.
If you’re struggling with the ‘new normal’, try these tips to keep you productive:
1. SPEND TIME ON THE SET UP
While it seems easy to bring home a laptop and get cracking, it’s unlikely to work for you over a longer period of time. It’s likely that you will be working from home for weeks, if not months, so spend time on your ‘comfort factor’.
Firstly, make sure you have a clear desk space for your technology. The dining room table or side table with a wobbly leg just won’t cut it. Also consider if you need some extra technology such as a larger monitor screen, bluetooth mouse and/or keyboard, and headphones to avoid constantly holding your phone to your ear.
Make sure you have a good chair, preferably with some lumbar support. Again, the dining room furniture is not suitable for longer-term use. And don’t forget good lighting to reduce eye strain when you’re staring at a screen.
2. CREATE AN INSPIRATIONAL SPACE
When you’re not having conversations with team members or ducking out for a motivational team coffee, it’s important to have a space that inspires you to get the job done.
Rather than staring at blank walls, put up a couple of photos and some motivational quotes to look at when you need a break from your screen. If you’re creative, perhaps get a whiteboard and draw yourself a daily cartoon!
No matter what, make sure you feel good about going to your desk every day! It has to be more inspiring than Netflix to get you off the couch!
3. HAVE A SCHEDULE
Even if you’re still having some client meetings via Zoom or Skype, it’s likely that you will also be spending long periods of the day by yourself. A normal day at the office may have some regularity. Working from home is likely to be much less structured.
To compensate for this, it is important to develop and maintain a daily schedule. Start by getting up at your usual time in the morning. Consider using your morning commute time on exercise, or staying on top of household chores. Don’t fall into the pyjama trap. Dress for work as you normally would.
Before you get stuck into your work day, spend 10 minutes planning your tasks and make sure you include time for breaks. Schedule in your home coffee times and phone calls to stay social and connected. Chatting to yourself or your pet is great, but there’s nothing like human conversation to keep you going!
4. MAKE A TO-DO LIST
Don’t lose momentum during your day. Make a to-do list and display it prominently on or near your desk. This should help to keep you ‘on task’ throughout your work hours.
Importantly, make sure your list is achievable. Don’t fill up a full notepage and expect to get it all done in one day. Be realistic about how long each task will take and only include those that you can fit into the hours you have available.
Once you’ve written your list, go through and prioritise the tasks. Try using different coloured highlighters to ensure the absolute must-dos are staring you in the face.
If you’re feeling cheeky, include a couple of tasks that you know will absolutely get done. Things like – drink coffee, have lunch, clean your phone, wash your hands – and you’ll feel good being able to tick them off as you go! (Is that cheating? We don’t think so…)
See how easy it is?! You don’t have to get in the interior designers and architects to build you an office, or hire a chef to make sure you get enough food and water. All you need is a space that draws you in, a schedule to keep time and a plan to stay on track!
Gray, C. (2020, March 25). 4 easy ways to stay motivated when working from home. Retrieved from https://www.womensnetwork.com.au/4-easy-ways-to-stay-motivated-when-working-from-home/