How to Stay Motivated Working from Home

How to Stay Motivated Working from Home

Over the past two years, working from home has become the new normal. It’s increasingly common to attend meetings and events on Zoom or Teams, instead of frequenting offices and typing away next to a colleague. However, the lack of routine and in-person socialisation can make it difficult to stay motivated. While it’s only human to fall into a trap of unproductivity at times, there are many methods you can use to help with motivation when working from home. If you ever find yourself needing a little boost, be sure to try some of our favourite tips and tricks below!


1. Work in small blocks of time (with breaks!)

One way to keep yourself attentive is to set a timer for the amount of time you will work, and then rest. Working for hours on end without a break is a surefire way to burnout. On the other hand, taking spontaneous and untimed breaks can result in an infinite Instagram scroll or finding yourself in a weird internet rabbit hole hours later. Instead, we recommend working in small blocks of time through the Pomodoro Technique.

For the Pomodoro Technique, you pick a task or project you want to focus on. To break down the task, you work in 25-minute blocks with a five-minute break after each one. Every few Pomodoro sessions, you can set a timer for a longer 15-30 minute break. This method was developed by Francesco Cirillo and was found to greatly increase productivity and focus. It’s best suited for short sprints of work so don’t be pressured to keep using Pomodoro! Sometimes even one or two sessions can be a positive start to the day. Why not try integrating a few Pomodoro sprints into your day?

If you find it difficult to begin a task in the first place, you could also try setting a timer for 10 or 15 minutes. At times, the challenge is simply sitting down and starting the task, and you’ll find that you want to keep working after a few minutes. If you still do not feel motivated, that is okay too! Take another break and try again.

2. Create a good working environment

A workspace that suits you is essential to staying focused and motivated. For those prone to distractions and difficulty concentrating on more dull and repetitive tasks, a clean and empty desk will get rid of unnecessary distractions. Others may need a bright and colourful work area to stay inspired and creative in their line of work. No matter the nature of the task, we recommend a dedicated working environment that is separate from where you sleep or relax.

It’s never a good idea to let your desk get cluttered. Researchers at UCLA’s Center on Everyday Lives of Families (CELF) have found a relationship between the stress hormone cortisol and clutter. Stress can make it much more difficult to stay motivated and enthusiastic about work.

To prevent losing motivation, a new environment such as a café or a library may also be a welcome change. When the weather is warm and sunny, working outside can put you in a better mood. Exposure to sunlight has been scientifically proven to produce serotonin in the brain. Serotonin helps regulate your mood, prevent depression and stress, and make you calmer and more focused.

3. Make working from home fun

If you’re not careful, working from home can take out the interesting parts of the workday. Whether that be grabbing lunch with your co-workers or your morning commute to some music and a good book. However, you can still make your work from home routine more fun and exciting.

While it may be tempting to stay in your pyjamas, getting ready in the morning and doing your hair or makeup can help you to stay motivated. Dr. Karen Pine, a psychology professor at the University of Hertfordshire, suggests that we take on the characteristics of the clothing we are wearing. Casual clothing can make us lazier and less focused.

Another way to keep the spirit of in-person working is to organise fun virtual events with co-workers. Here at Patchwork Hub, we have a fun activity planned for every Friday to celebrate the end of the week. One week, we may be singing together on a video call. Another, we'll do a mini-quiz and trivia questions!

4. Reward yourself

Give yourself small things to look forward to during and after your workday. You’ll be more motivated to stay on task when your favourite cup of tea is waiting for you after a meeting, or you plan to relax to a good podcast at the end of the day. When facing our laptops all day, we need to be kind to ourselves.

Humans are social creatures and working from home can take away many of our regular social interactions. So if COVID allows for it, go watch a movie with a friend or grab a nice dinner with a family member.

5. Plan your work and leisure

Finally, we suggest you plan your work and rest time using a structured schedule. A schedule can be a good reminder to start and stop working and helps to create a healthy work-life balance. It’s important to not work straight out of bed in the morning until the moment you fall asleep. You have to allocate time to relax, recharge and recover.

Also, big projects can be stressful and daunting. The fear of failure or being unsure where to start can lead to procrastination and lack of motivation. Planning your workload can break up a big project into small manageable chunks. It’s then much easier to be motivated to work.

At Patchwork Hub, we use the planning tool Asana to structure our day and organise our workload. It helps greatly with keeping us motivated, alert, and ready to take on any project!

Summary

Here at Patchwork Hub, our entire team works remotely. Because of this, we understand the importance of staying motivated and productive while working from home. Though working remotely can be a challenge for some, it can also be great for those who have additional accessibility needs.

With this in mind, this article has brought to you 5 top tips on how to stay motivated working from home. To summarise, these are:

  1. Work in small blocks of time (with breaks!)

  2. Create a good working environment

  3. Make working from home fun

  4. Reward yourself

  5. Plan your work and leisure

After reading our favourite tips and methods, we hope you try a few of them out to make your work from home experience more interesting, exciting, and productive!

Did any of these tips particularly resonate with you?


Written by Nicole Liu

Published: 19th April 2022

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