Coronavirus saw monumental changes to both how we work and where we do so. With 46% of people working from home during April 2020 due to the pandemic, you or someone you know likely switched up the office for the spare room or kitchen table.
There’s no doubt that working from home has its benefits, not least with the reduced commute and being able to stay in your slippers all day. But without the structure of office life, how do you stay motivated? Here are our top tips to stop that procrastination in its tracks.
Create a routine and stick to it
Hopefully, by now, you’ve figured this whole WFH situation out. But just because you don’t have to spend hours going to and from work anymore, it doesn’t mean you can get flexible with when you wake up. Make sure you set your alarm for the same time each morning, and that you start work promptly. Go to bed around the same time every night too.
While that might sound a little militant, creating a routine will hugely benefit your circadian rhythm. It’s also going to help you stay focused if you do the same tasks (such as checking emails, giving clients a call etc) at similar times each day. Otherwise, the day can slip away and before you know it, you’re having to ‘catch up’ on work late into the night.
Start with the difficult tasks first
Nobody is going to feel motivated to start that company report at 4 pm on a Friday. We naturally have more focus and attention in the morning, because we’ve only just woken up so we have more energy. But as the day drags on, our productivity falls. As we get towards the end of the week this becomes really noticeable, and we start to get distracted with thinking about the weekend.
That’s why you should always start with the most difficult or time-consuming tasks first. What’s great about this tactic is that once you’ve completed the task, you are free to relax with less pressing work. You’re also more likely to do a better job if you have your full concentration too.
Avoid obvious distractions
The benefits of being out of the office are that you have all your home comforts within easy reach. On the one hand, this is great, but it can soon become a slippery slope. As an example, studies have found we check our phones up to 96 times a day. Then there’s the TV, especially with the likes of Netflix to keep us entertained in the background while we work.
Removing distractions from your work area will help you keep focused because you’ll know that you can’t access them until your work is done. This in turn will spur you on to get everything completed, as you can use your distractions as a ‘reward’. By only allowing distractions to take up your free time, this will make you less likely to procrastinate.
To sum up
Working from home has been an experience for us all, especially if it’s the first time you’ve ever been out of the office. Staying productive is one of the best ways to maintain your performance at work, and keep your mental health in check during the pandemic too.
By following the above tips, you can learn to focus on the task at hand and save anything that’s not important until after you’ve logged off.