Feel like you’ve now been working from home for eternity? Lockdown restrictions may be easing but many of us are still set to carry on working remotely – and if you’re struggling to keep the motivation up, you’re not alone.
Without daily face-to-face interaction, the office environment and a boss keeping you in check, it can be easy to become distracted.
If you’re struggling to stay productive however, experts say it’s important to know that that’s actually quite normal. Not everyone can work at their best in their home environment, especially if you’re sharing that space with children, chores and other distractions.
However, if you’re constantly watching the day slip by in a blur, it might be time to implement some wellbeing and productivity strategies – and who better to approach than some top entrepreneurs and business founders, who have successfully been working from home for several years?
Here are their top tips for keeping your foot on the pedal and pulling yourself out of a motivation slump while working from home…
1. Listen to music
Max De Lucia, co-founder of specialist sound and music agency DLMDD (dlmdd.com), says: “I’d recommend making time to listen to music. It’s very common for people to listen to music in the office, and even easier to do so when working at home. It provides so much more than just entertainment or distraction.
“Often, music can increase motivation, boost productivity, aid memory and improve your mental and emotional wellbeing. Different types of music can also help with different types of work tasks, and some studies have found that listening to your favourite music, whatever genre, can also encourage deeper focus.”
2. Think about your surroundings
Ida Tin, CEO and co-founder of female health app Clue (helloclue.com), says: “My best advice is to create a space that allows you to fully focus on work. I spend so many hours in front of the screen, like many do, and I am quite sensitive to what my eyes land on. For me, it is important to create a mini island in my home that is very serene and simple – with two kids at home, the rest of the house is not quiet and tidy.
“I make sure the view I have from my desk, and background when I see myself on conference calls, are both calm and pleasant. I also think that it makes it easier for others to stay energised on calls too, when they don’t have to visually battle with my background.”
3. Take walking breaks
Ceri-Jane Hackling, founder and managing director of Cerub Public Relations (cerubpr.co.uk), says: “Make sure you leave the house at least once a day, even if it’s just to take a walk around the block. It can be tempting to just stay in and eat lunch at your desk, but I find getting some fresh air, stretching my legs and taking a break from the screen helps keep me motivated.
“It’s also good to take time out and just let your mind wander, otherwise it’s easy to feel demotivated and depressed. Setting clear boundaries between home and work is also important, so make sure you create a consistent schedule, which will help keep you focused on the task in hand.”
4. Listen to a motivating podcast
Tracey Stapleton, founder of The Spa PR Company (thespaprcompany.com), says: “Start your day or each week by listening to a motivational podcast or TED Talk. A few words from an entrepreneurial guru, like Tony Robbins, or more specialist advice from a podcaster in your sector, can really help inspire you to achieve. Jot down some of their key points and incorporate them into your weekly tasks.”
5. Check in with other home-workers
Naomi White, PR coach and consultant (naomiwhitecommunications.com), says: “As a business owner, I’ve found it’s helpful to join forces with other entrepreneurs to form an accountability bubble. Organise a catch up call every Friday afternoon, to set goals for yourself and to voice any difficult points you’ve had that week that others can potentially help you with.
“I also try to find time to do one thing for me everyday – this is often taking a full hour walking my dog without my phone, being present in the moment without the distractions of technology and the pressures of emails.”
6. Start with an easy task
Alina Cincan, managing director of Inbox Translation (InboxTranslation.com), says: “Having a clear, long-term plan and a well-organised calendar are two things that keep me going in the long-run. However, for those days when motivation fails to materialise, tackling a few small and easy tasks – no matter how unimportant – and ticking them off my to-do list is a very good booster.”
7. Embrace how you work best
Daniel Sheridan, founder of Comms Consultancy (commsconsultancy.com), says: “I find my work energy tends to dip from lunchtime into mid-afternoon, then bounces back around 4pm and into the evening. Don’t be afraid to use your personal ‘energy patterns’ to your advantage, even if it doesn’t fit with typical office hours. Productivity is what matters, both personally and professionally.
“When you know you’re not concentrating as well as you can do, take advantage of being at home and use that time for exercise or chores that take little thought. Most of all, be honest with managers and colleagues about how you work best.”