As the Coronavirus is affecting the way universities are conducting lectures, with some shutting down completely, it’s becoming more likely that, in the very near future, many of us will have to self-isolate and start working from home. (You can keep up to date with all things Covid-19 related here.)
Working from home can sound like a dream to begin with – thoughts of staying in your pyjamas all day, eating whenever you want to and working from your bed all come to mind.
But it’s not only your laptop that needs to stay switched on – your brain does too! As you begin working from home over a long period of time, you can easily begin to feel demotivated and sluggish.
So how do you work from home and remain productive and mentally engaged? Is it even possible? Read on for our advice on how to stay motivated while working from home…
Get up at a reasonable time and prepare yourself for a normal day
You might see this time at home as an opportunity to catch up on lost sleep, but waking up at the same time as you would if you had a full day of lectures can actually make you more productive. Many people also report feeling less distracted in the morning, meaning the morning is a great time to get stuck in and do those things you’ve been putting off.
It’s so tempting to just stay in bed for that bit longer but getting up and preparing for the day ahead will put you in the right mindset to be productive.
Get dressed and have breakfast like you would if you were going to lectures – this will help give your day a bit of structure and set you up for the day.
Clear your workspace
While this does not mean procrastinating and cleaning the whole house, having a clear and tidy workplace will help you get in the right mindset to start studying.
If you don’t have a desk in your accommodation, define the boundaries of your workspace. This will help you differentiate your university work from your personal time and separate your ‘working’ mindset from your ‘free time’ mindset.
Structure your day
Planning out and structuring your day is one of the best ways to remain motivated. Make a to-do list of the things you want to achieve and split these into specific, small achievable tasks.
This will give you a clearer picture of what you’ll be working towards throughout the day, and having these small checkpoints will increase your productivity, helping you feel a greater sense of achievement.
When making these plans, it’s important to schedule in frequent breaks, including lunch breaks and regular ten-minute breaks to give your brain a rest.
Eat properly and exercise
Eating properly is likely to be something that doesn’t really cross your mind when working from home. You might be tempted to just dip into the biscuit tin every five minutes to curb your hunger, as a tasty substitute for a proper meal.
As great as biscuits are, this technique might leave you feeling a little sluggish eventually, as your body begins to realize you haven’t really had any proper nutrients. Prepping your meals in advance, like you would normally, is the best way to make sure you’re eating the right things.
Scheduling in some exercise in the day – whether this is a walk at lunchtime or completing a workout video in your house – can really help to clear your mind and keep you motivated and on track.
Try calling a friend or course mate who is working towards the same test or essay as you. Discussing ideas with someone who is working on the same project as you will help you stay on track and generally make you feel more motivated, as well as reducing loneliness.