The recent worldwide pandemic brought on an endless amount of challenges this year. Between homeschooling, quarantine, and the new normal of masks, it has been a rough couple of months. Those who had to continue to work from home, however, had a whole other sector of difficulties. I do, however, want to acknowledge how incredibly grateful those who were able to maintain their jobs during COVID-19 should feel. There are approximately 21 million Americans unemployed right now. It is no question that we, who have full-time or part-time positions are extremely lucky. Nonetheless, along with the downsizing, budget cuts, and layoffs, there was an unthinkable change in the workforce.
Depending on their profession, almost everything one did had to be changed. For example, my mom is a middle school special education teacher. Her knowledge of technology is pretty slim, and the sudden switch to online learning was undoubtedly one of the most stressful times in her career. It was near impossible to force the kids to participate and do their work from behind a computer screen. Many had parents who either didn’t care or didn’t pay enough attention. Aside from the atrocity teachers, parents and kids had to face with online learning, those who worked in a corporate office faced incredible changes. The most obvious being that there was no office anymore and everyone needed to communicate through zoom, slack, g suite, and email. There is no more lunch with co-workers or just general socializing in the office about the guy that almost sideswiped your car that morning.
Many have experienced the pros and cons of working at home, but I think we can all agree that the most challenging con is staying motivated. There are distractions everywhere. I mean, how many times are you going to open the refrigerator and search for food in your refrigerator as if something just magically appeared within the past 10 minutes? So, we have come up with a few ways to keep yourself on track throughout your workday.
Plan Out Your Day
Let’s begin by giving yourself structure. Give yourself a specific time to start and finish. Most importantly, make sure you stick to it. Just think: If you were going to the office every day, then there would be no room for you to sleep in for an extra hour. Also, you need to make sure that you are taking lunch just as you would in the office. Be strict about your lunch. Mapping out a precise time is ideal, however, if you gain a spark of determination to finish something, do not let lunch stop you. It is imperative to take a break during the day to give your mind time to relax. Sometimes day to day tasks are going to vary, so just be sure to remain in a window of 40-45 hours a week.
Wake Up Early!
No one wants to do it. Let’s be real. We all know those people who love to say how they are major morning people. Well, they are lying. No one finds joy in jerking awake to an irritating alarm no matter how soothing the sound. Ever notice how hearing your alarm sound as a ringtone makes you want to throw your phone at the wall? Yeah, not my favorite either. But, once you get into the groove of waking up early, it is so incredibly rewarding. Your 8-hour days turn into what seems to be endless hours of daytime. In return, your workdays become shorter without even realizing it. Instead of jamming in your end of day tasks at 6 pm, you could be gifting yourself a bottle of white wine from Gesture!
Create More Check-In Meetings
Here at Gesture, there are numerous “Alignment” meetings throughout the day to discuss ideas, assignments, and how the day is going. I find these extremely helpful to keep me on track for the day. Even if it is just 10 minutes with a co-worker. Schedule it and do not reschedule (we have all been there). It is easy to become overwhelmed with what you need to do for the day. A quick talk with a colleague to help organize your thoughts is a great place to start. Teamwork is what makes the dream work, even if you are working on individual projects.
Rewarding yourself is the best feeling in the world. It is a great way to help motivate oneself. During the summer, the FOMO is real when all of your best mates are at the beach while you are chained to your chair, slaving away. This is when it’s time to generate ways to reward yourself for completing major projects, tedious tasks, and those annoying emails no one wants to answer. It could be anything from chocolate to a shopping spree or a nice dinner with friends. Rewards can also be for the rest of your team. You can surprise your co-workers with a great bottle of red wine hand-picked by our Gesture team!
Working from home can be all fun and games until your knee-deep in work with no mental capacity to figure out how to catch up. We are all in this together, and someday we will back in the office discussing the guy who sideswiped your car that morning.