For many of us, the days of working from an actual office have been replaced by working from home. At first, I thought what a great idea but, now I have a whole new set of internal and external distractions to deal with. How can you stay motivated to be your most productive self when you have kids, housework, and a new series to stream?
Although working from home has some pretty amazing advantages, like the two second commute, it is difficult formulating an organized system to help maintain a productive day. However, in order to get your work done, it’s important to create a system that keeps you focused in your new work normal. Here are some tips to create that structure, maintain your motivation and manage your distractions in order to succeed at work from home.
How to Stay Motivated with Internal Distractions
Keeping focused at home can be a challenge for even the most organized person. I have struggled to stay on task with the more flexible hours and constant distractions going on around my house. I juggle a never ending chore list while entertaining and educating children and working. Here are a few tips that I have picked up along the way that have helped me get into the groove of staying productive while maximizing my time throughout the day.
1. Schedule your day.
If you have the luxury of making your own schedule, now is the time to look at what portions of your day you are the most effective. Schedule top priority things for yourself during that time and things of less importance during the times that you might be interrupted or be multitasking.
2. Daily goals.
I like to keep a list of my daily goals at the top of my schedule for the day. Make these attainable and rank them in order of importance to make sure that you get the top priority things done ASAP. Budget in a catch up day once per week and simply move items that were not completed to that day. This makes less pressure to get everything done while providing a sense of accomplishment when you complete top priority items.
3. Make your list and check it twice.
Be completely honest with yourself about the time that each item takes to accomplish. I am the queen of the long lists of all the things that I plan to get done during the week, but I found that this can lead to an overwhelming feeling of failure if everything doesn't get done. I have now adapted to budgeting the time it takes and a little wiggle room to make sure I can realistically get my daily list done.
4. Schedule in break time.
I know this can sound counter intuitive for maximizing your day, but trust me. Taking just a little time to reenergize throughout the day will actual increase your daily productivity. Maybe set a daily alarm for the same time to just meditate for ten minutes or go for a walk around the block after lunch. Taking that time to reset your brain might be something to look forward to on a busy and stressful day.
5. Move your body.
Now more than ever it is easy to get moving during the day. Whether you invest in a standing desk or maybe even walk on the treadmill during conference calls, these simple daily activities add a natural boost of energy that can replace that double shot of espresso. Use your break time to start a daily movement practice like yoga. Exercise reduces stress and restores your energy.
6. Find a workspace and stick to it.
This is an absolute must! Although you might not have a spare office space in your home, it is important to designate a specific area that is exclusive to your workspace. If you are tight on space, try just a corner of your apartment. Giving your brain a consistent space that it can recognize as a work area can help keep you in work mode even when at home. Or if you are a worker bee and always seem to be focused on the job, making a space that can be closed off or left can help to detach you from work stress so you can still enjoy your home.
How to Stay Motivated with External Distractions
I know this has been a major challenge for everyone! How can you possibly stay focused on work when the Zoom school is going, the toilet is leaking, and you are out of coffee?!? Here are a few tips that helped in my own home and some I picked up from other organized to keep you going when everything else is going awry.
1. Support is a two way street.
With stress at an all time high, let people know when you might help. This gives others the opportunity to relieve some of that stress. Having open lines of communication to your family, friends, and coworkers for when you might need some assistance can decrease your constant strain and increase your productivity. Make sure you reach out in return or just throw out in a meeting that you are willing to help someone out when you do have some extra time. Now is a perfect time to increase your collaboration skills at home and at work.
2. Consistent childcare.
With summer rapidly approaching, the question of what to do with busy children during your work day is looming over everyone. Now is the time to reach out to friends and family about trying to arrange some consistent childcare schedule. Maybe you have some friends in the area that would want to form a rotating schedule for splitting the work week up or maybe someone knows about an awesome summer camp that is going on that could free up a few hours for you to focus in on work. Either way this is a great time to band together and find creative ways to keep your kids occupied. Remember it takes a village, right?
3. Establishing boundaries.
Setting up consistent work hours can be a challenge, but in the long run this schedule will reduce stress on your household and on you. Now that my husband and I are both working from home, we had to establish set times for each of us when we would be available for childcare. This meant we had to establish when our uninterrupted work hours would be. Have an open conversation with your coworkers about your time limitations to let them know the hours when you’re available for collaboration. Everyone is in the same boat as you, so you might be surprised that your coworkers might prefer that you are working earlier or later than normal because they are too.
4. Socialize with others.
Trying to keep a sense of normalcy with working from home can be difficult especially with the element of socializing with your coworkers. Gone are the days of the water cooler meet up. Now is the time to think outside the box. Try coming into a work chat earlier to catch up with your coworkers or even stay behind to socialize for a few minutes. That time is a great way to break up your day and network with your coworkers. Try to participate in virtual events happening at your work like happy hours or even board games. Socializing is a valuable part of your workday too.
5. Plan your healthy foods.
Now more than ever it can be so easy to find yourself wandering into your kitchen to look for a snack during the day. An easy way to combat constant snacking is to plan your daily menu. Not only will you find yourself reaching for junk food less often, but you can even motivate yourself to finish your morning strong with the small victory of a Thai chicken lettuce wrap waiting for you for lunch.
6. Restrict media during your day.
Remove the temptation by setting up social media boundaries. Try turning off your notifications or blocking certain time consuming websites during specific hours. I personally use the StayFocused Application to help keep me from going on a deep dive into social media during prime working hours.
I hope you enjoyed some of my top tips to stay organized and focused while working from home. Feel free to leave any of your favorite tips for how you are successfully staying organized at home in the comments. I am always willing to try the newest things in organization.
Can't wait to catch up on the next blog... Stay Organized.