With more people than ever working from home due to a certain virus going around that will remain unnamed, it can seem hard to keep up a normal routine during this time. and may feel as if you're not as motivated and getting as much work done. Now firstly before i give you some tips on how to stay motivated while working from home, be it for only another few months or if you continue to do it, I just want you to know this.
Don't be so hard on yourself.
Having to pack up and start working from home suddenly can be a major adjustment if you weren't planning it. Be it you have children around that need/ want your attention and don't understand that you're also working, or just finding it hard to get into a routine everyday. Having worked from home for the past year and a half here are my tips on how to create more of a routine when you work from home.
1. Set yourself a plan for the day
Use an app like Microsoft to-do and at the end of the day schedule in your tasks for the following day with reminders to pop up on your computer at the time you need to complete it. Even down to creating a set time for each task. I know it can be all too easy to think, oh i'll just unpack the dishwasher now, i'll just hang the washing out. If you know you need to do those tasks on a particular day schedule those into your day too - that way you'll feel more productive knowing you have gotten both home and work tasks complete.
For example a day schedule might go like this
6pm - wake up
6.20 - Do exercise class or go for walk
7am - have breakfast
7.30 - have shower and watch TV.
8am - Do first task of work.
8.25 - hang washing out
8.45 - second task for work
etc etc . . .
TIP - try breaking work blocks up into 25 minute segments then a 5 minute break. Make those 25 minutes as productive as possible - no phone, no breaks. then use that 5 minutes to go to the bathroom, fill you water bottle up, reply to a text.
2. Maintain your exercise schedule
Maintaining your health and exercise is so important for not only your physical health but also mental health. You may be used to meeting friends to go to a gym class every morning so working out/ walking by yourself might be a new concept. If you meet a friend to go for a walk in the morning, keep up that routine! Do a skype without with a friend or call your friend on face-time while you're both walking to keep each other accountable and still maintain that social contact. If you don't currently workout, with current social distancing measures promoting people to stay home and away from people as much as possible, getting outside for a walk, even just around the block, would be a great way to get out into the sunshine and make sure that you actually leave your house every day.
3. Have scheduled lunch breaks
This applies to when working from offices too! Have regular lunch breaks!! I cannot stress this enough. Not only does sitting at a computer for 8+ hours a day have disastrous effects on your posture if you aren't sitting up straight but it also impacts your digestion. As when you are slouched over, your digestive system can't get the room to work properly so causes great digestive issues. Having a scheduled lunch break each day ensures that you actually get up, move and have a break because i know all too well how you can go hours on end without taking a break and getting up from your desk. If it's a nice day outside and you have a balcony, go sit in the sun or talk the dog for a walk around the block - that way both you and them get extra exercise in. If you are used to walking for 10 or 15 minutes to the train to get to work, or walking from the train to work, working from home you are not going to get those steps in so it is even more vital that you keep up with exercise and a lunchtime walk will be a great way to get your mind ready for the afternoon of work.
4. Connect with friends/ colleagues
it can feel very isolating working at home when you are used to being around people all day and used to working in a busy city. Maintain this contact, call and conference colleagues, face time and video call friends at lunch and after work. Again if there's a colleague that you usually get lunch with or used to exercise with a lunch, continue that. Have a set time each day that you'll call or face time each other like you usually would.
5. Log off at the regular time you would leave work.
Log off at the regular time you leave work! Just because you are not physically leaving anywhere, it is important to distinguish between work and personal mode. With email and smart phones, everyone assumes that we are available to answer emails all the time but just because you are home and your office may be your dining room table, it is important to log off work for a while so that you are not in work mode 24/7. Especially if it is a particularly stressful period at work, you need that time of not focusing on work and focusing on yourself.