6 Tips To Stay Motivated While Working From Home
At the beginning of this year, I made a large career move and stepped out of my role as a microbiologist, working in a pharmaceutical laboratory, to a business development manager for the same industry! Aside from the job description and responsibilities, one of my greatest barriers of adjustment was going from full time standing in a lab, to working remotely (13 hours from the nearest office) at home. I received a lot of advice from my team members and bosses, but ultimately,I had to find what worked for me! Below, we're chatting all about how I manage to wake up with determination and go to bed with satisfaction, all on my own!
1. Get Out of the House
There are some weeks that it seems as though I go days without stepping foot outdoors, other than to walk the dog. By the end of the third day of being home round the clock, I begin to lose focus, get distracted and look for something new to do in my stale surroundings. That’s when I know it’s time to relocate my workspace. There is a reason that you walk into a Starbucks and find 30-something’s on their laptops. They all got a little stir-crazy.
2. Create a Productive and Inspired Work Space
One of the most important factors in staying motivated to work while at home is to want to work in the first place. And it’s tough to do that if you can’t stand your work space. A desk large enough to hold all of your work tools (laptop, monitor, notebooks, writing utensils, etc) is the first and most essential step. Make sure you have plenty of light (In addition to the huge window in my office/guest room, I have two lamps and an overhead light) to keep you awake and inspired. If your desk does not have drawers, get an organizer for your smaller utensils, loose paper, etc. And finally, add a personal touch to enjoy while thinking, on a conference call, etc. I use a picture of my husband and I.
3. Take Breaks
Coming from an office setting (really a laboratory setting), you are much more aware of your own needs, and the amount of time you have spent working. When you’re in your home office, working in the zone, it’s very easy to forget to step away from your computer, grab a drink of water, and rest your eyes for a moment. Taking breaks prevents daily burnout, maintains the creative juices, and is better for your overall well-being.
4. Keep Normal Business Hours
In many industries (mine especially), work seems to be a 24/7 activity. Always strapped to your work phone, your office is only steps away at any given moment, and checking your email can happen anytime. There are often instances that this approach simply will not work, but as best you can, set hard office hours. I try to keep mine from 8am-4:30pm. My work phone is set to "Do Not Disturb" from 8pm to 7am, so I can remember to spend time with what is much more important than work...family.
5. Schedule Your Day
When I walk into a blank day in my home office, I often feel aimless; just moving through the day running back and forth. This is inefficient. Instead, I set personal meeting on my calendar, structured around my external meetings, to lay out my day, structure my time and provide direction throughout the day. Crossing off those items on your to-do list at the end of each time block is a very satisfying feeling!
6. Limit Your Distractions
It's so easy to sit on your couch or at the dining room table with your favorite YouTube channel blaring in the background...but let me tell you how much more productive you will be if you shut down that screen. If you are like me and like background noise, find a podcast channel you love or play some music. But do your best to avoid things that will suck you in and occupy your time. This is where an office space really comes in handy!
Those are my main tips for staying motivated in the corporate world while working remotely. I'm so fortunate to hold a job that affords me the freedom and flexibility to work from home, and I'm happy that other jobs are jumping on this bandwagon (I'm looking at you tech giants)! I hope you found something in this list that can help you! If you have other ideas, please share them in the comments!