Working from Home

In light of COVID-19 “stay at home” and “shelter in place” orders, millions of employees made the transition to remote working. While phased reopening has begun, many organizations are keeping their workforce remote for now. Looking into the future, it is a very likely possibility that organizations will continue to allow employees to work from home at least part time. So, if you have struggled with staying motivated while working from home or you just want to improve your motivation and productivity, check out these tips!

Tips for Staying Motivated

  • Have a Designated Work Space: No matter how small, having a separate space where you can complete work and keep all your supplies organized does wonders for your motivation! If you the start the day with nowhere to work and you feel disorganized, you’ll just create more work for yourself.
  • Follow a Routine: Create a routine for work days, even if it is simple! Set your alarm for the same time each morning, have coffee, eat breakfast, and “get ready” for the day ahead. This helps keep you motivated during the week and clearly separates work days from relaxing weekends.
  • Incorporate Gratitude: Making time for gratitude each day does more than motivate you! It also improves your mood and overall wellbeing. It could be journaling one grateful thought each day or just thinking of what you’re grateful for while enjoying your morning coffee, whatever feels the most natural for you.
  • Create a To-Do-List: Seeing everything you need to get done each day helps you visualize your day and stay on task. Make your list the day before or even the week before so you wake up each day with a sense of purpose.
  • Have Small Goals: When creating your to-do list, remember to organize your day into small, achievable goals. If you have one big project for the week, break it down into small goals for each day. At the end of the day, you’ll feel more accomplished if you’ve marked off a large to-do list with small goals than a short to-do list with only a couple large goals.

Staying Motivated with Little Feedback

When in the office, you are surrounded by your team members and often have easy communication with your boss. This setup allows for more constant feedback on your work. When working from home, especially during a crisis, feedback is much more limited. If lack of feedback leads to you feeling unmotivated, you’re not alone! Deborah Grayson Riegel, communication and presentation skills coach, explains that we feel the most motivated when we grow and progress, but the main way to know we are growing and making progress is through feedback.

While leaders are doing their best to improve their remote feedback skills, in the meantime it is important for you to practice challenging your “catastrophic thinking.” Riegel outlines this three-step process to help you:

  • When you realize your motivation is lacking, name what catastrophic thought is causing this feeling. Is it possibly disappointing someone or a dreaded consequence, such as getting fired?
  • No matter how farfetched or “worst case scenario” your thought is, address it and make a plan for dealing with it. That way you know you’ll be okay, and you can let the fear go.
  • If you are still experiencing your catastrophic thought, figure out what the underlying cause is. If the root of your fear truly is lack of feedback, consider telling either a teammate or your boss how much feedback means to you. Then discuss scheduling in time for feedback into each meeting or “check in” call.

For more information, check out Riegel’s Harvard Business Review article!

 

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