Have you been struggling lately to find a balance while you work remotely? Has this new shift to digital work changed your habits and altered the way that you function while you work? Are you alone in your cave all day, in your pajama pants and eating cheez-its while you bear through Zoom calls and deadlines? One of the biggest challenges we will have to face while working remotely is maintaining structure, order, and discipline. One of the most important things to do to support these habits is to take care of yourself and continue with some kind of routine that will give you a feeling of separateness from your work. Here are five things that you can start doing today to make your new remote work a success.
1. Get Dressed in the Morning.
With this new shift into remote work, everything has changed. When you are on your computer all day or taking calls, nobody is looking at your outfit or noticing if you’ve washed your hair. You don’t have to go into the office, so why would you need to dress like it?
You should take note though, that keeping a normal routine of getting dressed for the day has a profound impact on how you feel and how you work. Staying in pajamas all day can have a negative subconscious impact on you. Your brain is used to the association between getting dressed before you go outside and engaging in productive activities. You are used to wearing pajamas while you are relaxing and while your mind is not focused.
When you put effort into changing into clothes in the morning, doing your hair, brushing your teeth, etc. It can actually make you more alert, and get your brain to focus on the tasks at hand, and make you feel more like you are actually at work. Help yourself maintain more of a routing by getting dressed in the morning, and this will help you make your remote work a success.
2. Organize your Work Environment.
When you are at an office, it is easier to keep your desk clean since other coworkers or bosses may be lurking around the corner at any given minute. While remote working, when your room or desk is a mess, it can lead to your mind also being a mess and you not being a success.
Just like getting dressed in the morning, organizing your work environment will make it much easier for you to feel clear-headed and like there are not lingering tasks around you waiting to get done. Clutter bombards your thoughts with extra stimuli and can negatively affect you by both distracting and potentially frustrating you while you try to focus.
Use these tips to get your work space tidy:
Light your way to success. Notice how offices are usually very bright places with a lot of natural light? It’s for a reason – to keep you awake! When you don’t have good lighting you can feel tired while working and even unmotivated. Get either a bright lamp and/or some natural light into your working spot if possible.
Clean your entire apartment or house. Cleaning your work environment is a good start, but it is still just a start. The more physically organized you are, the easier it is to be mentally organized and focused. If you are on a roll from cleaning your desk, go ahead and clean other things too. It will help you enormously.
Sit at a desk. It is important to sit in a way where you are allowing your body to function optimally. Sit at a desk to make sure that you aren’t slouching, straining, or pulling your body in an uncomfortable way. You can also try standing while working. Don’t work in your bed even though it is tempting. Associations with laziness or comfort can change the way you work.
3. Don’t get Interrupted.
When you work from home, it is easy to let your phone and social media be a part of your daily work routine. Although this is alright in some circumstances at breaks, constantly checking social media will make you feel uncommitted to working and will facilitate procrastination. Science shows that humans can never truly multitask no matter how much you think it’s possible. Being on your social media or letting yourself easily get distracted will slow you down and steer you toward failure.
When you work, set boundaries with anyone else that is around you at home, and tell them when you are able to talk and when you are not. Take your breaks on time so you don’t feel like you need to every five minutes throughout your day.
4. Get Outside at Least Once a Day.
While you work remotely, it is so easy to stay inside your house and never leave. Having your work at home oftentimes means that you have no true reason to leave. Make a point to set times to get outside otherwise you may find yourself becoming a hermit. Make a recurring alarm on your phone to remind yourself to take a walk at lunch time or when it is convenient for you, and commit to getting outside at least once a day.
Make a good playlist to look forward to listening to, and listen to it while you are walking outside. It will help get your mind off of things while you inhale some fresh air. Another benefit to getting yourself outside when you are remotely working is that natural sunlight can help you regulate your sleep schedule, and can even help you from becoming depressed.
If you feel up to it, try to incorporate runs into your weekly schedule. Exercise is good for all things including being more productive at work. Taking care of your body and mind will always benefit you and your mind, and this will directly reflect in the work that you do.
5. Find Something to Look Forward to.
Working all the time, let alone in an alone and remote environment, this routine can get very repetitive and it can become difficult to continually put quality effort into your profession. To keep yourself going, schedule a couple things to do on the weekend. Try to make plans with your friends, connect with your family, or find a new recipe to make for yourself, your friends, or family. The trick here is to find something to look forward to that makes it a bit easier to get through the week, which will motivate you through your work week.
Getting on a Zoom call with your family or planning a socially distanced hike with some friends are some good options for getting out and about while staying safe. If you feel like staying inside, find a fun puzzle on amazon to put together, pick a movie series to binge watch, or watch some engaging exercise videos online. You would be surprised at how a change in pace can affect your ability to work well.
By giving yourself a bit of fun contrast to your life in addition to the difficult tasks you have on a daily basis will help you feel more at ease and more willing to put your all into your job.