Just when we thought full lockdown was a thing of the past, the Government has announced England to be in a full lockdown and I have a feeling Scotland is next.
I have been working from home since March this year and I am finally in a position where I really enjoy working from home.
But it wasn’t that easy, to begin with.
When the first lockdown happened, I had never worked from home for more than a day and the first few weeks were really difficult, I couldn’t concentrate and I was easily distracted.
I work for a fuel company that produces biodiesel in the most efficient way they can to save the environment. It was a huge selling point for me when applying for the job, as they create fuel from waste. I am part of the accounts receivable department and is my first big time gig.
I was only working in my new role for around five weeks when we went into lockdown. Along with learning to work from home, I also had to learn THE JOB.
Along with my “day time job” I would now include Blogging as my job. I use the same motivational tactics to stay focused, which can be difficult after working 9 hours on a laptop, to then have to write and create content. But it’s so worth it.
I’ve created a list of helpful tips that I have implemented over the last nine month for how to stay motivated when working from home.
Wake up early
This one is basic but very effective. If you’re thinking about working from home, the first thought is “long lies”.
It’s much better to wake up earlier, around an hour before you start. To wake up, get washed and have some breakfast.
I got into a bad habit of waking up ten to nine and rushing about to get my laptop on whilst making some tea and toast.
Self-care and give yourself the time to wake up and get mentally prepared for the day as it makes a difference.
Working from home? Time for PJS, right? NO!
Treat working from home as if you were actually going into work. Now I’m not saying a shirt and tie (unless you have important team meetings) but something that isn’t your PJ’s.
I tend to wear cycling shorts and a top with some big socks. It’s comfy and easy to wear.
This, of course, depends on the job, I’m not required to show my face on any team meetings, so I don’t wear make-up but I always follow my skin-care routine along with brushing my hair.
Create a workspace
Find a section in your house that will be your “new work” you’ll only be in this space for the duration of work hours.
I find it much easier to allocate space to work for a few reasons:
- You can keep all your work documents and technology together so nothing is lost. If you’re moving from space to space, you can easily misplace things.
- Once work is finished, take yourself away from the space. If you work on your bed, you’re going associate your bed with work and sleep and you’ll either feel tired working or unable to sleep at night due to thinking about work.
- Make the space yours! A great positive of working from home is you can make the space your own! My desk at work was bare, boring and just not very motivational. At home, I have added quotes on my wall, schedules and just some general colour to the space.
Get a planner!
A planner is going to be your best friend! I’ve tried using online planners, but I much prefer writing something down and being able to tick it off my list.
This is one of the main ways that I stay motivated working at home.
Keep everything in your planner! Notes, meetings, things to do that day or maybe notes for the week after.
After each day, I go through my planner and tick off everything I’ve done that day and I then carry over what I didn’t get done.
Get some colourful pens to spice it up a little, it’s your space, you can do whatever you want with it.
Create a schedule
This is depending on your job, but I personally create my schedule each day, as my job can chop and change quickly.
Plan as much as you can.
Staying organised is key.
It’s important to take care of yourself. This includes breaks.
Take ten to fifteen minutes out every hour or so to stretch your legs and get out of the seat. Sitting in a chair from 9-5 is SORE on the ol’back.
This also includes taking a lunch break. I got into the bad habit of not eating when I was working from home as I didn’t set a time or I would just forget.
Remember, self-care is important!
Another tip would be to include exercise in your breaks. Why not break out the Yoga mat and do a fifteen-minute workout?
Try and create a work space that is separate from the rest of the house. If you’re working in the living room, where people will be coming in and out throughout the day, it can be distracting.
Things to remove from your work space:
- Phone (If possible, if not, turn off social media notifications.)
- Other family members. (I’m chatty, so I need to be myself to work efficiently.)
Everyone works differently, it’s about finding what works for you. Some methods that you can try are:
|Batch working – Collate similar tasks and set a time to do them. AKA, all communication tasks at once, then invoicing tasks after that.|
|Change it up – Do thirty minutes of communication, then move onto invoicing, then a break and back to communication.|
I actually use both of these methods. I find changing it up when doing my day job is a lot easier and more effective for time management.
When I am blogging, I do something different each day and collate my tasks in one period.
Monday, I work on Instagram content. Tuesday, I work on Pinterest. Wednesday, creating content and research. You get the idea.
I find there is so much information out there on blogging and the influencing world, it’s easier to separate each night for one project.
Create a goal list (that you can see from your workspace)
A great way to get motivated when working from home is creating a goal list.
I use this method for blogging and influencing. I have two very simple pieces of paper that I have blue tacked to my wall. Simple but effective.
One for Goals (These are my dreams and goals that I want to achieve)
One for my To-Do list (Things I can do to make these dreams and goals come true)
Creating a space where you can be reminded of WHY you’re putting in the hard work, makes it easier. I spend around 50 hours a week on my blog. This is an estimate, sometimes more sometimes less. I am also just breaking even for my expenses each month. Having a goal list reminds me that hard work will pay off.
You can either create a simple list like mine with paper and pens or you can purchase some cheap goal lists.
Keep your space tidy
Nobody wants to work in an untidy space. This is a super important when working from home tip as I like to think: clean desk, happy workspace.
Ensure your space is rubbish free, clean and organised.
I like to tidy my workspace after work each night, this means it’s ready for me in the morning, as morning Alicia isn’t very motivated.
Keep your screens free of dust as well. Make sure there is no build-up.
Music is my savour
Working endlessly on numbers is… BORING. I love listening to music, no matter my mood, music helps me feel happy. Resulting in me feeling more motivated.
It’s very rare I’ll work without having music on. If you find this beneficial as well, create a work playlist, this means that you’re not having to find songs during work as this would be distracting.
Spotify and Apple music offer pre-made playlists – if you’re not sure what you want to listen to.
This is different for everyone, but I find music soothing and boosts my serotonin.
This links into the no distractions tip, but I feel like I need to touch on this separately.
Unfortunately, my work phone is linked to my mobile so I need my phone on my desk. I noticed quickly that if I was getting a message or notification I would “quickly” check it.
Resulting in me spending three hours watching Tik Tok.
I have now turned my social media notifications off during work as I find it difficult to stay motivated working from home if my phone is going off. If you do need to use your phone, try and limit the amount you’re on it. Unless you’re on it for work of course.
Have the will power
If you’ve decided to work from home, you have to be able to have some will power.
Don’t get me wrong, I can get distracted as well. You need to be able to bring yourself back to work after getting distracted.
Saying no to watching a movie, even though you really want to. Things like that.
Having some will power and telling yourself no is important.
Self Care after work
Working from home is HARD, praise yourself that you’re able to do it. If you get distracted, don’t be too hard on yourself.
Make sure you self care!
When you clock off, do something fun that’s for you. I’ve listed some things that you could do at home.
Prepare for the next day
As I mentioned above, morning Alicia isn’t always as motivated as I would like her to be. I like to have everything set up and ready the night before so that I have minimal things to do before starting work.
How to stay motivated when working from home
Working from home is becoming the norm in 2020. I think there are a lot of pros and cons to it. This also depends on the person and the type of work they are doing.
I personally love working from home. I’m not wasting money to travel to work each day. I save money by not having to buy office outfits. I also have a lot more time as I’m not travelling anywhere.
The part I miss the most about going into the office is the social aspect. I’ve worked for the company for ten months now and I’ve only met a handful of my colleagues as the business is spread across Europe.
Luckily, my work like to keep people together so we have seasonal quizzes, monthly brief meetings along with the finance team catching up on a Friday to see how everyone is feeling.
I hope you find this guide useful for how to stay motivated when working from home and implement these healthy habits when working from home.