*THIS IS A GUEST POST. The opinions expressed are that of the author and do not necessarily reflect my own.
Since the pandemic began, more people have worked remotely than at any time in recent history. There is an estimate that 25-30% of the workforce will be working from home multiple days a week by the end of 2021. (Source) Many people find working from home challenging — from daytime TV to screaming children, there are a plethora of distractions. Without a physically present supervisor or social interaction from co-workers, it can be challenging for some to remain engaged and be self-starters.
Haley Perlus, who is a Sport and Performance Psychology Ph.D., provides some easy tips to stay motivated when working remotely.
- Change Your Outfit
Clothing has an intense psychological impact on motivation, because when you put on professional work attire, you send a message to your brain that it’s time to act a certain way. When you change from pajamas into something you can leave the house comfortably in, you signal to your brain that it’s time to work. This does not mean that you have to put on your fanciest clothes, but change into something comfortable that signals to your brain that it is time work.
- Establish A Dedicated Workspace
Working from bed may seem tempting, but it actually can affect your productivity. When you associate your bed with work, your sleep quality diminishes; thus, trouble sleeping decreases work energy levels and productivity. Instead of working from bed, find a comfortable spot, like a desk or the kitchen table, to get a better night’s sleep and be more productive the next day.
- Create A Regular Routine
If you do not have a regular routine, it can be easy to find yourself overwhelmed and disorganized. It may be hard to set a schedule at home if you are inundated with distractions throughout the day. However, that is why a schedule is so important. A schedule doesn’t allow time for distractions. Remember to make a checklist of everything you need to complete, schedule regular breaks, time to exercise, and more.
- Limit Distractions
It may be hard to focus if you find you’re being interrupted every ten minutes. Sometimes, you just need to create a wall between you and your distractions. If you don’t have a home office with a door, you can try blocking off your workspace with a curtain or other sheet to create a physical barrier. If your physical barrier blocks your view from the TV, video game console, etc., even better. It can also be helpful to set ground rules with family members as to what constitutes a legitimate reason to be interrupted while working. Creating a defined workspace with limited interruptions will help you stay focused and on task.
- Build In Rewards
Create reward systems to encourage you to power through work you don’t want to do. For example, you might reward yourself with your favorite snack after completing a large project. For others, this might mean rewarding yourself by putting money into a “tip jar” after you complete an assignment to spend on something fun. Reward-based thinking helps keep you motivated and makes tasks feel less like a chore.
- Maintain A Support System
Social interaction can make you feel happier and lighten your mood, which can translate into work performance. Strong social connections and relationships build a successful workforce. When working from home, it can be hard to sustain that connection. Try finding a way to connect with co-workers, whether via Skype, Zoom, etc, to prevent feeling lonely or isolated and have they face to face interaction.
About the author;
Dr. Haley Perlus earned her PhD at the University of Northern Colorado with an emphasis on social psychology of sport and physical activity, her MS at the University of Florida in sport pedagogy and her bachelor’s degree at the University of Western Ontario in kinesiology. Haley loves both water and snow skiing, and hiking. Her favorite meal is anything that requires only chopping or blending. She has authored several books including The Ultimate Achievement Journal and The Inside Drive and her articles have been featured in publications such as Thrive Magazine, Fitness Magazine, IDEA Fitness Journal, EpicTimes, Telluride Inside, MyVega and BeachBody®.