If you’re anything like me, you’ve become very well acquainted with your home office over the last year. Actual human contact in the workplace seems like a distant memory from a galaxy far, far away. Texts, emails, phone calls, and Zoom meetings are great and all, but it doesn’t quite feel like a stop at the water cooler for a chat with your favorite co-worker. If none of this applies to you and your working situation hasn’t changed, then awesome! I envy you; I really do.
The reality is normalcy is slowly approaching but has really lost its meaning at this point. Rolling out of bed, walking over to your office in your worn-out pajama pants, and remembering to start the laundry machine before your morning meeting is still a reality for a lot of us. Working remote has its perks, but if you’re sharing space with kids, spouses, roommates, pets, or whomever, it is rough staying laser focused on your tasks. Throw in easy access to knocking out house chores and taking your own breaks and you might also develop a motivation problem. I don’t know about you, but when I’m surrounded by the office and hear people working, I feel like working. But hey, every human is different.
If working remote is driving you nuts, then I have five things you can do each day to keep truckin’ on until the 5pm work whistle.
Get Some Fresh Air or Change that Scenery
A lot of people find it difficult to focus when they’re sitting in the same place every day from clock-in to clock-out. That’s okay, repetition can be boring. If you’re alone, then the isolation might be driving you nuts. If you’re with people or animals, then the noise or contact might throw off your groove.
Go outside and take a 15-minute walk. Move your workstation to your back porch or that awesome hole-in-the-wall coffee shop. Hop in your car and run a quick errand. It’s amazing what a little fresh air, movement, and a change of scenery can do! You want to get stuff done? Then shake it up!
Take a Breather
Now this one you need to be careful with because overdoing can be harmful. You need a chance to refuel or recharge or re-something. The brain can only take so much activity before it starts to overheat. Step away from your work and go to another room. Grab a snack, watch a funny YouTube video, take a few deep breaths on the couch. There’s nothing wrong with a few breathers throughout the day; key word is “few”. Your brain will thank you later if you’re still knocking out your work.
Dress for Success
This one isn’t for everyone, but it can really kick up your work drive! You might see me rockin’ some Star Wars pajama pants when I’m at the home office, but that might not roll for everybody.
Dressing like you’re back at the office definitely puts you in the right mindset to take care of business. You don’t necessarily have to suit up, but a collared shirt and some nice pants might make all the difference you need. Think of it as a constant reminder that it’s time to work hard and be professional. Maybe save your robe for clock-out.
This seems like it would be a no-brainer, but sometimes when you’re in the zone, you can lose track of time. You need food and you need to stay hydrated. Not only is this a basic life necessity, but it keeps your mind sharp. Running on empty can only get you so far before you shut down. If you want to make it through the day, grab a glass of water or make a quick sandwich. Nobody wants to see you unfocused and hangry during your Zoom meeting, trust me!
Make a Checklist
You’re working on your own time at your own rate, but you know what needs to get done. If you don’t want to miss tomorrow’s deadline, then plan out your days the evening prior or first thing in the morning. Seriously, grab a notebook and a pen and write down everything you need to knock out for the day. Organize it accordingly with how your brain works. Chronological order? Good idea! Prioritize from most to least important? Yeah, good call. It might even be a good idea to break it into daily tasks versus the week’s overall tasks.
By doing this, you are creating a roadmap from your morning to your evening. There’s a structure holding you up with directions keeping you on track. Plus, it feels pretty dang awesome looking at everything you crossed off your list and crushed for the day. Enjoy that little ego boost. You’re welcome!