Week two, here we go! It is the start of the second full week of lockdown in Canberra. It was all fun and games week one. A little time to get your workspace set up again, settle the kids/dogs/partner/husband/roommate into a routine. Do the office trivia session. Walk the neighbourhood.
But now, it’s the end of another quiet weekend, and you are facing another week at your kitchen table.
Whether you have distractions from your work, like home schooling kids, or you just can’t stop finding little jobs to do around the house, staying motivated while at home can be hard for some people.
After three years working at home, I am now a seasoned pro. It seems like the right time to share my tips to stay motivated.
- Small bite-size chunks, not long stints at the computer – Everyone can focus for 20 minutes. Sit and work for 20 minutes and then make a coffee. Finish this one task and then put the washing on. It’s ok to do things at home if you are still productive. Give yourself a little reward when you achieve something.
- Sunshine – Get outside! The weather is great at the moment (between 1pm and 3pm). Take your laptop and read outside. Go for a walk at lunch rather than watching another depressing press conference. Walk around the block while doing a phone call. A different setting can change your mindset.
- Schedule your day – Plan out your day each morning. Work from 9-10:30, then a ‘morning tea’ break after the team meeting. If you know you are distracted when the Chief Minister stands up at 11:45, schedule an early lunch. Block out time for different pieces of work and try to stick to that time.
- Leave your phone/iPad in another room (or at very least not next to your computer) – The most distracting and demotivating thing is your phone! If you can’t be without it (because of work calls, not because of your addiction), maybe it’s time to think about taking the Facebook/Instagram/Tic Tok App off for the duration of lockdown.
- Accountability – If you are really struggling, ask for a work buddy (someone who is not a distraction) to help keep you accountable. Set a deadline. Get them to check in with you at the allocated time. You will be surprised how much explaining why you haven’t done something will be a motivator to just get it done.
My number one tip is that you can’t work in the same way you did in the office. You don’t get the same ‘mini breaks’ when surrounded by colleagues who (nicely) interrupt your day. Don’t expect that it will feel, look, or you will act in the same way. It’s about finding a new rhythm. Even if lockdown ends on 2 September, there is a chance we will continue to work from home in some way for the next few months – time to find your groove.