If there is any takeaway from COVID-19 regarding work, it is the truth that remote work is more than a trend or a fad; it is now the norm. Everyone is now coming to terms with the fact that work that is location-flexible should not be tied to the office. It took lockdown restrictions to accept this, but now we have.
But while there are several gains from remote working including flexibility and increased productivity, it does not come without challenges, one of which is how remote workers can find the motivation to work.
This comes from not having work colleagues around or working in an environment with unending distractions. Remote workers need a strategy to keep their motivation at the peak level in order to deliver quality results.
Create a Structured Environment
Let’s face it; no one can work effectively in the usual home structure. That’s the reason behind the idea of offices in the first place. It is almost impossible to maintain focus when working from your bed or couch with a TV before you and a refrigerator full of snacks a few steps away.
The much comfort you derive from such an environment sits on the opposite end to the motivation you need to work. Not to mention the fact that it is unhealthy as well.
Make an effort to create an office-like structure in your home. Have all the necessary tools and equipment around, including ergonomic furniture that promotes your wellbeing. You may also decorate your space with motivational notes and designs to get your enthusiasm running.
This structure shouldn’t be limited to space, but time too. Have blocks of time for focused work. Human beings are creatures of habit. Create a routine and you would soon find your brain falling in line. And if you have family or roommates, communicate your schedule to them so that they know not to distract you while working.
In addition, you don’t have to work from home, especially if the likelihood of distraction is more than you can handle. You can always use a coworking space.
Planning your work
Human beings are motivated by progress. With each goal we break, we feel the drive to pursue more and even tougher goals. You can leverage this hack to be productive by planning your work and setting small goals that propel you towards greater ones.
For big projects, it helps to break them into smaller pieces so that you don’t feel jetlagged along the way. The feeling that you are actually making progress boosts your mood and pushes you to do more.
It doesn’t really matter when you do your daily planning, whether in the morning or the night before. Setting your plan for the day in the morning sets you into work mood. Similarly, planning the night before helps you start the next day with full clarity of what’s up.
In addition to setting your goals, you can build a reward system that makes work seem less of a chore. For instance, you might reward yourself with some Netflix time if you complete a major project. The expectation of a prize for completing tasks goes a long way in powering you through.
One of the major challenges remote workers face is working too much. You probably wonder if that isn’t proof of motivation and productivity. Spoiler: it isn’t.
A 2014 study showed that people who worked 70 hours a week weren’t more productive than their colleagues working only 56 hours per week. More so, overworking can lead to depression and anxiety while putting you at the risk of several health challenges.
When you overwork, you are not helping yourself in any way. How to help yourself is by scheduling regular breaks in between work. Focusing on a task for too long decreases your focus and productivity. Breaks help to restore that attention. If you are stuck on a task, taking a break can help you clear your head and regain motivation.
This idea is behind famous time management techniques such as the 52:17 rule (discovered in a Draugiem Group experiment) that dictates 17 minutes of break after every 52 minutes of work.
Regardless of the technique you prefer (or if you use any at all), regard work breaks as sacrosanct.
If you work remotely and are struggling to find the motivation to work, you are not alone. Keep in mind that motivation is not constant. It must be cultivated per time.
So, don’t use these strategies as one-time fixes; consistency is key. You do your best work when you are most inspired. It is your utmost responsibility to keep your drive up in order to perform well.
Digital Marketer and PR Specialist, Joseph Chukwube is the Founder of Digitage, a digital marketing agency for Startups, Growth Companies and SMEs. He discusses Cybersecurity, E-commerce and Lifestyle and he’s a published writer on Search Engine Watch, Infosecurity Magazine, The HuffingtonPost and more. To say hey or discuss a project, proposal or idea, reach him via firstname.lastname@example.org
How to Get Sh*t Done will teach you how to zero in on the three areas of your life where you want to excel, and then it will show you how to off-load, outsource, or just stop giving a damn about the rest.