I’ve been working remotely for 6 years now. In that time, I have learned a lot about how to maintain motivation throughout the day in order to get my work done and leave space for the things I love to do outside of work. Whether or not you can actually form a new habit in 21 days, committing to these habits will help you work more productively from home.
- Maintain a morning routine. Try and wake up at the same time each morning. Maybe you like to exercise before work, or perhaps you enjoy cooking breakfast and reading the news. Whatever it is, give yourself space to do something for yourself before diving in to work. It feels good to start your day already having some “me time.” The book The Miracle Morning recommends 10 different activities to do in the morning. I personally like to start my day with coffee and learning something new.
- Decide what your working hours are, and stick to them. One of the biggest challenges of working from home can be the blurred line between work time and not work time. Don’t start working until you are ready to keep it going. When you are done working for the day, close your laptop, quit your messaging app, and don’t look at your emails again until the morning. It is important to set boundaries so that you may rest and recharge.
- Decide at the start of the day which 3 things you must accomplish that day. Having a clear sense of what you need to complete during the day can help you stay on track. Don’t get distracted by things that aren’t time sensitive or won’t move the needle toward accomplishing your higher level goals.
- Prepare your lunch the night before or in the morning (or know what you will make) and have snacks ready, just like you would if you were going to an office.
- Don’t eat at your desk. I am definitely guilty of ignoring this one sometimes when work gets really busy. This rule is valuable because it will force you to take breaks throughout the day.
- Have something to look forward to after work. It is even better if this plan has a set time. Take a fitness class online, plan to try a new recipe, go for a walk with your partner or roommate, etc. This will help you stay motivated throughout the day.
- Set up times to talk to your coworkers about things that are not work related. My team has had virtual happy hours and virtual brunch. Call one of your coworkers to chat about what you did over the weekend or talk about a shared hobby or interest. It’s also fun to occasionally plan to have a virtual coffee break with a friend!
It can take some trial and error to figure out how to work productively from home. Want more where this came from? Check out my article on Answers to Your Questions About Working Remotely. I’m also happy to answer any questions you may have.