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If you’re like me, the thought of being isolated from society and forced to work from home was rather… exciting.
In a way it was scary and almost uncertain, but I was nearly jumping for joy at the thought of never being forced to leave my house.
No longer having to get up early and fight traffic on my way to work. Standing in long checkout lines. Having that awkward standoff in the parking lot trying to figure out which one of you is going to allow the other person to cross first.
What a time to be alive for an introvert, right? … WRONG!
Turns out, I’m not nearly as introverted as I thought. I’m human. Humans NEED social interaction. It’s a scientific fact. Some more than others.
With that being said, I’ve started to truly struggle with being isolated for over a month.
I’m fortunate enough to work for an organization that has ultimately made their employees and clients’ safety a priority. We’ve remained open and fully staffed, but things are different.
And I’m not alone. Working from home has become the new norm for a lot of us fortunate enough to stay employed.
In in effort to motivate myself and potentially others, I thought I’d write about some tips I’ve been learning to shake things up a bit and keep me motivated throughout the week.
7 Tips to Stay Motivated While Working From Home
Find your schedule –
Probably the MOST important tip. Whether that’s sticking to the normal 9-5 daily routine, or altering it to make it work for you. It’s all about personal preference, but find what is going to get the most out of you.
MAXIMIZE YOUR PEAK HOURS – For me, I tend to work more efficiently before noon. Then the curve tends to flatten after lunch (COVID-19 pun intended).
Pre-Corona, I was getting up at 5 am to go to the gym before work. So why not get back to that routine and take advantage of those peak hours before my child wakes up and demands my attention. Wake up at 5, shower, and GET DRESSED. On the computer by 5:30 plugging away at my tasks. This ultimately gives me 6 – 6.5 hours of optimal productivity. Take an hour lunch. From 1-3, finish out the rest of my day, taking care of the rest of my duties and I’ve got the rest of my afternoon to spend with my daughter and other hobbies around the house.
Set Daily Goals –
Goals. Yes, goals.
Don’t overthink it. Your daily goals should be small and attainable. Your weekly goals should be built upon from your daily goals. And your monthly goals are built from your weekly goals and so on. You see where this is going. It’s that simple.
Set aside 30 minutes to plan your days. Write down those tasks you need to accomplish this week and then break down those days in order to achieve them.
If you’re not already doing this, this will change your life. You’re welcome!
Prioritize Your Mental Health –
Is the sight of your kitchen and/or living room starting to get really repetitive? Because SAME!
Take some time each day to unwind. We may not be able to go out and do the fun things we normally do, but we can still go outside and enjoy some fresh air.
Take a walk. Exercise. Do yoga. FIND A HOBBY.
Find something you enjoy to give yourself that peace of mind at the end of the day. Maybe even break up your work days to get your mind right.
Take Turns With Your Kids –
This may or may not apply to you. But many families have been faced with the reality of having both parents at home with the kids, and zero childcare options.
It’s a joy to be home and spend more time with your family, but when you have to work, you have to work. Many of us are having a hard time trying to balance the work from play, and kids don’t fully understand those kinds of boundaries.
In addition to maximizing your productive hours, take turns with your kids. While one of you buckles down and gets things down, let the other spend time with the kids to keep them at ease. Then switch off.
This one has been a tough one for me. I’m usually not the best with self-reflection. But now is as important as ever to take a step back, and look at the world around you.
Put down the phone, turn off the TV, close your eyes and simply think.
Think of all the good things that are going right for you and (this is crucial) recognize them out loud to yourself.
I’m grateful that I still have a job, and I get to stay home and stay safe while I do it. I have my daughter. And we have a new home. In the grand scheme of things, everything is going pretty well. I just have to hunker down and wait it out for a bit.
And that’s okay. I know I’m not alone. We’re all in this together.
Virtual Hang Outs –
We’re social distancing right now. But that doesn’t mean we have to stop being social.
Zoom calls with your friends. I’ve used Zoom for many years with work. We utilize it every single day here to stay in touch. But now, it’s become the best way to release stress and socialize with my friends at the end of the day, while I can’t meet up with them in the real world.
Happy Hours, Game Nights, Birthday Celebrations, etc. I was invited to a Zoom call the other night where we played Fibbage. I’ve played Fibbage many times with my friends, but never via video conference. It was just as hilarious as it was in person and I can’t wait to do it again. Corona or not, I highly recommend Jackbox Games with your friends.
BTW, Zoom is completely free for personal use and Jackbox has some great discounts right now. But ask your friends, they might already have it. 😉
Lastly, Give Yourself Some Grace –
Working from home has become the new normal for a lot of employees. Dogs are barking in the background of conference calls, kids need help with school work, babies are crying.
We’re still trying to manage our homes while working…or simply stay positive while being so isolated. Be patient with yourself. Know that we’re all in this together and that everyone understands things are a bit chaotic and uncertain.
Try your best and take a deep, calming breath. You’ve got this!
Jan Dils, Attorneys at Law