I've had some friends ask how I stay productive and motivated since I've been working from home on my own since starting my company Arden Cove in 2016. In these couple of years, I've spent a lot of time and practice on designing a routine that's productive, sustainable, and makes me happy! Since I know this may apply to many at this time, I thought I'd share it in a video. Here are some tips I've learned over the past couple years of working from home.
Top Tips to be Productive & Motivated While Working From Home
1. Design your Roadmap
Step one is straight forward, but it can help immensely to think more deeply about what your goals are and how you can achieve them.
- Write down your goal on a piece of paper and a reasonable deadline you want to achieve this goal by.
- Next, break down all the steps, no matter how small.
- Organize them into a timeline / order in which you will accomplish each step.
Ta-da! Now instead of getting overwhelmed by a big project, just do each smaller task one at a time.
2. Design a schedule and routine you love
Just about everyone's normal routines are impacted due to sheltering at home orders. When previously you would get up at 7, get ready, eat breakfast, commute, and start work at 8:30 in the office, you can now stay up till 3 am, pull up your laptop and start work without leaving them comfort of your bed.
If that works, good for you! If not, you will want to make some adjustments to your routine.
- What does your ideal day look like?
- If you have children or you're a caretaker for a family member, how can you work both schedules to time tasks in a productive way?
3. Learn what gets you into a productive mindset
Part of designing the routine you love is figuring out what you actually love!
- What makes you excited for the day?
- How can you incorporate it into your routine?
Don't want to wear makeup? Ditch it! But if it makes you feel a little more put together, or you see it as self care, carve out some time to put it in your routine.
4. Self Care with Movement & Meditation
Taking care of your body is important, not just physically but also for your metal health. Especially now that you don't have to leave the home to get to work and gyms are closed, you may find your activity level has decreased. You don't have to get jacked or loose weight to get that "quarantine bod" (unless you want to) but try to find ways to move your body if you feel cooped up at home.
A light walk or run, walk your dog, do at home workout, yoga, meditate. A lot of workout studios are posting at home workouts that you can follow along from your living room!
5. Be Mindful of transitions for the start & end of work time
Switching "on" for work and "off" for downtime can be a struggle. Use transition activities to help you get into the mood for the next phase of the day.
- Miss your morning walk to the office? Take a stroll around your block and come back fresh and ready to start the work day.
- Once it's time to stop working, try to separate your mental space by having a video chat happy hour with friends & coworkers, or turning off your devices for a tech-free dinner.
Here are a few more ideas for transitional activities you can try incorporating into your routine:
6. Arrange a productive wordspace
Having a dedicated space can really help you feel comfortable to really get into the work mindset. It may take a bit of investment if you don't already have a desk/ table or comfortable chair, but once you have it set up it's really nice to have your own area to go to when it's time to get productive.
For a productive workspace:
- Have a separate workspace if possible
- Free your space of distractions
- Can you work there for a long time without discomfort?
7. Use Breaks to Reenergize & get Creative
If you're stuck on a problem, try taking a 20 minute walk. Sometimes just taking a step away from the desk and physically moving your body helps to get those gears turning for a more creative solution.
I aim to make my breaks:
- Ones where I get up physically from my desk to go somewhere else
- Not something where I'd be tempted to prolong more than 20 minutes
8. Stay Connect with Friends and Family
Don't let physical distancing turn into social isolation. Knowing your loved ones are supporting you can really give some extra oomph to your motivation.
- Tell your friends and co-workers what you're up to and what your goals are.
- Relax by having video calls, happy hours, play games together
- Ask for help with problems or ask if you can rant a little if you're stressed out
Things don't always pan out the first go around. No worries- here are some problems you may face and how to work through them.
Problem 1: Not adjusting when it's not working
Pivot! Pivot! Pivot! If you find that the changes you made aren't helping- just stop or adjust what you're doing. Do you need a new timeline? Do you need to change strategy? Maybe you need to set up a reward system. (I love to keep colorful bujo style habit trackers in my planner)
Problem 2: Distractions
If you live with family, it can be hard if everyone else is also staying/ working from from home with you. If you can, try to carve out some personal space- whether it's claiming a room as your office or putting on some headphones, it helps to have a little buffer between interruptions.
Problem 3: Procrastination
We all procrastinate sometimes, but if it's bad enough where you just don't do the things you need to do, it may be time to evaluate why you're procrastinating. Most of the time we may procrastinate because of fear (fear that we may not do well, or get it wrong, or sound dumb), but we need to stop listening to those fears and just get it done! No pressure :) I listened to a great Ologies podcast episode about procrastination that you may want to check out.
How have you been adjusting to your new routine? Leave a comment below!
Karin is the co-founder of Arden Cove and co-creator of the Anti-Theft Waterproof Crossbodies - bags created for women who want all the practicality and safety features without compromising in style. Shop ArdenCove.com.