Guest contributor, Jenny Holden, Chorus Communications
If the very prospect of moving from an office-based environment to the luxury of a home office once ignited a small feeling of excitement, you wouldn’t be alone. No more overcrowded and overpriced commutes and certainly, no more traffic to contend with on the way to and from the work place. But, three weeks in to the coronavirus lockdown and the reality of remote working may be quite different from what you had originally imagined. Maybe your motivation levels aren’t there every day, or the pressures of having family around you could be too much to juggle all at once. Whatever the reason, accept that remote working comes with a number of ups and downs and being mentally prepared is as important as being physically ready to tackle and storm through the day ahead. These tips may help.
1. Set REALLY specific goals
The American Psychological Association found that individuals who set themselves specific, achievable yet challenging goals are 90 per cent more likely to achieve their tasks. You might be writing down vague daily objectives, such as ‘finish all paperwork’ or ‘file my expenses’, but try to be even more specific on an action, such as ‘ensure all my expenses are logged by 5pm’. Be realistic, however and don’t push yourself too far or overwhelm yourself – set small achievable actions around whatever distractions you may be facing during each day of this lockdown to build momentum.
2. Share these goals with your co-workers or family
You might find it uncomfortable sharing your professional goals with others, but it means you will be 35 per cent more likely to accomplish them, according to the Dominican University in California. By bringing a family member on board as an accountability buddy, you’ll be more likely to stay on track.
3. Trick yourself
We actually have the ability to trick our brains into viewing new habits differently and seeing changes as a real positive than a negative. As an example, you might want to get more out of your day, so why not wake up two hours earlier? And instead of thinking that you are missing out on a whole two hours of sleep each day, tell yourself that by the end of the week you’re gaining an entire working day – which you can then use to your own professional advantage, or it could buy you extra time in the week for when a pressure points may arise.
4. Stay as connected to others as possible
Studies have found that feeling lonely can be as damaging to your health as smoking 15 cigarettes per day. To avoid any loneliness associated and boost motivation and morale when remote working, try Facetime or weekly quiz nights with friends and family, or simple texts and phone calls.
5. Rearrange your workspace Sounds simple but take some time out to tidy your desk or working area. Add plants, clear out old paperwork and give your area a clean. These changes will enable you to feel more motivated to get things done in a more organised and less chaotic environment.
6. Continue dressing formally
You might think lockdown is prime time to laze around wearing joggers and slippers, and although this brings comfort, it is actually demotivating you. In the Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, researchers found that clothes can impact on the wearer’s behaviour, called ‘enclothed cognition’. Dress as if you’re going into the workplace each and every day.
7. Mel Robbins
A great book we recommend is the Five Second Rule by Mel Robbins. In this book, Mel describes that in just five seconds we can talk ourselves out of everyday situations, from getting out of bed, to getting started with a piece of work – and by simply counting down from five to one, we can achieve and motivate ourselves to do anything.
8. Work in 25-minute blocks
Known as the Pomodoro technique, this time-management method of working is based on a working practice that is broken down in dedicated 25-minute blocks, with five minute breaks in between. This timed practice allows people to be hyper-focused on a project in hand, with a well-rewarded break afterwards to catch up on emails or take a coffee break. Those undisturbed 25 minutes however cannot be interrupted so ensure all emails and social media notifications are turned off. Don’t allow remote working to hamper your motivation levels, enjoy the time at home and when done correctly, know that you can be just as productive – if not more – than working in an office environment.