Who could’ve guessed that self-isolation and social distancing would be the central part of spring 2020? The Covid-19 outbreak has turned many of us into home office workers. Knowing first-hand how demotivating it can feel to be stuck at home, we put together this list. Here are our 5 tips on how to stay motivated while working from home.
1. Stick to a schedule
Working from home might give you the freedom to work without following a given office schedule. But this doesn’t mean you should regress to a slacker teenage life. Even if you are more of an afternoon worker or an evening worker, you need to set a schedule for yourself – and stick to it.
During this enforced home office situation that many of us are in right now, we might still have office hours to consider. This means: get up and start work on time, but also: finish your work on time. It’s easy to overwork when you never leave your office. Take care of yourself and close the computer when the workday ends.
2. Leave your bed, and put on clothes
It might be tempting to wake up, grab your computer, and crawl back to bed. But there are actual reasons why working from bed is a bad idea:
- You’ll start associating your bed to work, making it less relaxing.
- You’ll have a harder time separating work from your free time.
- Your quality of sleep will decrease.
Ok, now we’ve gotten you up out of bed. But it’s still fine to lounge around in your PJ’s all day, right? You’re only seeing your roommate during coffee breaks, anyways. Sorry to break up the pajama party, but by putting on normal work clothes, you will trick your brain to get into work mode, boost your productivity, and help you stay motivated while working from home.
3. Organize and optimize
First of all: Organize your workstation, clean your desk from clutter, and get rid of all distractions. Speaking of distractions, your phone is not your friend during work hours, put it away! If you need to be available to answer calls, you can put it behind your laptop – keeping it close but invisible.
When we don’t have any physical distractions, we can focus on organizing our workflow. Start your day by making a list of everything that needs to be done, sort the tasks by importance and relevance.
This home office situation could be the perfect time for you to try out new productivity techniques. A popular one is the Pomodoro Technique. With this method, you break your workday into timed intervals of 25 minutes, separated by five-minute breaks. After four of these so-called pomodoros, you take a longer break of about 15 to 20 minutes.
The idea is that the timer will push you to work more efficiently, as you know that you only have 25 minutes to make as much progress as possible. The method also forces you to take breaks – which are necessary to keep yourself motivated.
4. Take breaks
When working from home, we don’t get those natural breaks of chatting with colleagues, going out for lunch, etcetera. It’s important to take those breaks anyways. Stand up, get away from the screen, and put that body to work instead.
Doing a five-minute stretch, walk, or dance routine once per hour throughout the day will lift your mood and increase your motivation. During these times of isolation, it’s even more important to move your body, since we are not getting our normal amount of everyday exercise.
Here are two YouTube routines you could do right now:
5. Stay in contact with your colleagues
When you are used to going to the office and working together with people, it can feel hard to suddenly be alone during work. There is no one to bounce ideas with, have lunch with, or have a quick chat over the computer screens with *Céline Dion’s All By Myself playing in the background*.
Thankfully services like Slack and Google Hangouts make it possible to stay in contact with your colleagues – for work-related issues, but also social chats.
Talk with the team about how you’re going to deal with the current situation together. Maybe you can organize virtual lunch sessions? Or have a Corona meme thread rolling throughout the week? Some lighthearted fun could pick up the work morale and comradeship.
If you are a freelancer and used to not having co-workers, it could be an idea to set up virtual hangouts with other freelancers. Even if you are a pro at working from home, self-isolation means a whole new work situation for you as well.
These times are intense, and isolation is both lonely and boring. It’s ok if you feel a lack of energy and motivation because of this. But we hope these tips can at least help you a bit to stay motivated while working from home.
We have also gathered a list of Covid-19 resources for freelancers in Berlin, which we update regularly. If you have any information that you think could help the creative community of Berlin contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org and we will be happy to share it.