organized working from home desk with flowers and laptop on it

5 tips to stay motivated while WFH

| 6 MIN READ | 2020-03-31

While many of us have changed our Monday to Friday status to “WFH” (“working from home”) in the past few weeks, we thought it would be a good time to share top tips on the best ways to do it while staying motivated, positive, and keeping projects moving forward.

Self-quarantining and practicing social distancing may eventually lead to lost motivation or distraction due to loneliness or fear with all that’s going on. While we’re holed up at home and maybe not moving as much physically as we used to, we need to remember to stay positive, calm and properly informed. 

Do you find that a fearful mindset or watching the news 24/7 is breaking your focus? If so, there’s one way to snap out of it. How? Get information from reputable resources like World Health Organization only to learn how to stay safe and practice ways to cheer yourself up. Here are our top tips to stay positive, motivated and productive while working from home.

Establish a routine and stick to it

sign that says

Though everyone is different, most of us have established a “work routine” in our lives. Recently, that routine may have changed from waking up and heading out to waking up and staying in.

Action item #1 for WFH successfully: Establish a new routine and stick to it! 

It will help ready yourself for the day, the same way it would if you were heading out of the house to work. This includes:

Making your bed

Showering and washing your face

Changing out of PJs (even if it’s into sweatpants!)

Making coffee or tea and a healthy breakfast

Checking in with friends and loved ones

Closing your bedroom door (believe it or not, it’ll help you focus)

Writing down a daily “to do” list

And then hunkering down and getting to work!

Lastly, when it comes to your routine – stick to your regular office hours. 

It may be easy to open emails as soon as you wake up and start working right away, but it’s important to set boundaries and prioritize your personal time to ensure that when you’re working, you’re really working, and when you’re not, you’re not (that’s right, turn off notifications after hours if you can!).

Create your own WFH station

work from home desk with computer and art on the walls

Even if you live in a tiny apartment, you should be able to carve out a working-from-home area. Whether it’s your couch and coffee table, kitchen island or a corner nook with a desk, it’s helpful to have a “working space”, so that when you’re in it, you’re able to focus on the task(s) at hand.

Action item #2 for WFH successfully: Setup up your own WFH “office”.

Tip: Feel free to mix it up a bit. For example, some offices have “standing desks”, and your home can too! Get up from the couch and stand at your kitchen counter for a while to get on your feet.

Take breaks just like you would at work

small apartment with dining room table nook

If you take a lunch break at work, take one at home. You might find that if you work through lunch for a few days in a row, it will lead to burnout due to hunger or stress. 

Action #3 for WFH successfully: Book short breaks and lunchtime into your work calendar.

It’s important to allow yourself the time to take a deep breath, stretch or go for a walk. 

One thing working through lunch will definitely lead to? Late-night snacking (although… we’re okay with that). 

Setting aside break times fits in with creating a solid WFH routine. Set them and stick to them!

Here are some ideas to stick to your break times:

Set a recurring lunchtime break in your calendar. If a meeting comes up that interrupts it, adjust that one meeting (and not all of them). 

Book a 15 minute break in the afternoons to go for a walk or make a tea. 

Tip: To help yourself stick to it, set a timer and when it goes off, get back to work and turn that focus back on.

Don’t forget to book (stay-at-home) social time

girl taking mirror selfie in nice clothes

After-work drinks or dinner with friends is still possible! There are tons of different ways to video call friends for a chat (like FaceTime, Zoom, Skype, Facebook video, the list goes on…) – and most are free.

Action item #4 for WFH successfully: Book at least two virtual dates with friends and family each week.

Set virtual dates with your friends and family and stick to them so you’re able to decompress, avoid getting lonely and chat about all that you accomplished during the day (that will help keep you motivated, too).

Set goals at the beginning of every week

coffee, notebook and french press on rustic wood coffee table in living room

One important tip to stay motivated while working from home is to hold yourself accountable. At the beginning of every work week, write down S.M.A.R.T. goals.

Action item #5 for WFH successfully: Set aside time on Sunday night or Monday morning to write down one goal for each day of the week.

Daily goals, weekly goals, and even monthly goals will keep you accountable and help you accurately time manage your tasks. These goals can be specific to your job or personal life – but make sure they’re S.M.A.R.T. goals. What are those?

Specific – the goal should be super clear. Keep it simple.

Measurable – you should understand how and when you have accomplished the goal (“have one, 15 minute check-in with my employee this week” vs. “book a meeting with my employee”).

Achievable – the goal should be realistic and not too high-aiming. Make sure you can complete it.

Relevant – understand why you set the goal in the first place. Make sure it’s related to something you want to accomplish personally or professionally.

Time bound – is this a short- or long-term goal? Is it a goal for a day, month or year?

Read more about S.M.A.R.T. goals and why they’re the best here. Why are they the best? 

They help provide clarity, focus and motivation – AKA they will help your WFH life be positive, rewarding and keep you on track.

Another thing to do on Sunday night? Meal plan for the week ahead. WFH means eating at home, so whether it’s ordering in, using up what’s in your freezer or making a big batch of chili, knowing what you’ll eat will help you save time (and money) through the week.

Lastly, hug your pet, light some candles, put on your favourite playlist – do things that bring you joy while you’re making the most of your temporary work-from-home reality.