Now that the majority of us are working from home due to the COVID-19 lockdown, it’s hard for everyone to stay productive and motivated throughout the day.
Whether you’re a student trying to get their assignments completed, or someone whose currently got a lot of paper work and emails to get through, it can be difficult not to laze around in bed or binge watch a Netflix series instead.
So how can you increase your productivity and stay motivated to get your work done at home?
Here are 6 tips on how to stay motivated and productive:
Set working hours
Setting working hours whilst working from home is crucial when trying to stay motivated and productive. I mentioned this in another blog post about improving your mental well-being whilst working from home.
If you have assignments or a report to complete, set a few hours in the day where you MUST do a certain amount of work in. For example, during 9am – 12pm you should set yourself a target of say, 500 words, to be written on a certain report. This gives you a target to work towards and keeps you motivated to stay productive during that set time.
If you usually work full time and not at home, keep to the working hours you’re used to. Say you work between 9am – 5pm on a normal day, do your work tasks during these times at home too. Set yourself targets as well, for example: reply to all of the emails you received yesterday by 11am. This will increase your motivation and help stay productive as you can keep track of how much work you need to complete by the ‘end of the day’, like you usually would.
Take regular breaks
Setting your working hours is easy, but actually staying motivated to stick with them is the hard part. So every 20 – 30 minutes, take a 5 – 10 minute break away from your work. Go make yourself a drink or a snack, or go chat to a family member; just make sure you move away from your working area. This will let your brain have time to relax for a short while so you don’t burn out and get bored too quickly.
Avoid working in bed
Now this is a tough one, and sometimes unavoidable. However, working in bed allows you to feel tired and unproductive, and you’ll find yourself putting your head on the pillow and closing your eyes for a ‘quick’ nap. So, get up, get dressed, and find yourself a work station. Whether it’s at a desk or on the dining room table, just get moving! This will also give your body the impression that you’re ‘going to work’, so you’re more likely to switch into work mode and keep yourself as motivated and productive as possible.
Avoid scrolling through social media
Stop, yes… that’s it, close down Twitter and Facebook. Do you really need to take a selfie for Instagram right now? Social media will be a HUGE distraction whilst working from home, and being on your phone a lot will stop you being productive and motivated to continue your work. So close down all your social media apps and only open them up during your breaks.
But… when you do open up Twitter, you should go ahead and follow me! Nice segway there, right?
Avoid working in areas where you’re being distracted
This may be difficult if you have children running around or family members asking what you’re up to every 5 minutes, but try to avoid working in areas where you’re likely to be distracted to increase your productivity.
Tell your family members that you’ll come and speak to them during your breaks so that they don’t disturb you. Ask your partner to take it in turns looking after the kids so you both get some work done throughout the day. Also, would you usually have the TV on whilst at work? Probably not. So turn off the TV, close the door, put your phone away, and get to work!
Don’t stay completed isolated
Don’t feel like you have to work ALL of the time. Staying in complete isolation during this lockdown will lead to loneliness and eventually drive you insane. If it’s past your set working hours, do it tomorrow. Oh, someone replied to your email at 9pm? Don’t reply until tomorrow. You need to have time away from your job and have fun. Otherwise, you’ll start to resent your work, so your working hours will slip, leaving your productivity and motivation drained.
If you usually work in an environment with colleagues around, consider setting up a work group chat or have virtual meetings so you aren’t completely socially isolated at home (try not to talk to them too much though as it can be distracting!). This way you can let your colleagues know your working hours and when you’ll get back to them about certain work tasks. Plus, if your colleagues talk about how much work they’ve done over the past couple days, you’ll find this will keep you motivated to stay productive yourself.
Staying productive and motivated whilst working at home can be a tough prospect, especially if you’re not used to it. We are living in strange times during this COVID-19 crisis, so stay indoors and stay safe! Your health and well-being will always be more important than going to work, so use these tips to stay as motivated and productive as possible!