Many people here would have worked from home or by themselves for long periods of time in the recent past, however, far fewer people are likely to have worked from home for a sustained period of time, involuntarily, as is now the case as the health crisis of 2020 may continue into 2022.

For many people, operating in this way for many days and weeks on end is a whole new world that has been throwing up several challenges. We don’t proclaim to be experts ourselves (as just like yourselves we too are having to adjust our modes of operating to this apparent ‘new normal’) but having listened to several big-wigs that are particularly conversant in this field, we have put together our abridged version of helpful tidbits to remaining fresh and motivated working from your modest home for the foreseeable.

Create a proper working environment at home

If your idea of working from home consists of lounging on your bed with your laptop, it is unlikely that you will be very productive. Tempting as it is in these impending winter months, keep anything work-related in a completely separate home-office, room or space. Get yourself in the right working headspace by being in the right working space to deliver work. Consistently. CEO or junior apprentice, this is a very important discipline.   

Wake up early

For many, this may be the hardest part of working from home. With no office to go to, and no boss to tap his watch and look irritated if you’re late, there can often be little motivation to get up at a reasonable hour and start work. I fell prey to this early on in my writing career, waking up at 10 or 11 AM and beginning the day from there. But it isn’t worth it.

Training yourself to get up on time like you do have a more traditional job will get you into a routine that encourages productivity. Studies have shown that getting up in the morning turns you into a more proactive person. 

By forcing myself into this schedule, I’ve found that over the years, my most productive time during the day has been from 8 AM to 11 AM. After breakfast, my mind is sharper. It’s early in the day so I’m motivated to work harder, faster and more efficiently in the hopes of finishing up the day earlier to spend quality time doing something else.

Dress for work

Although it can be tempting to stay in your worst gym shorts all day, better to get dressed and ready for your working day as a matter of disciplined routine. This will make you feel more awake and ready to tackle the day ahead of you. You are more likely to feel groggy, lethargic – and therefore unproductive – if you start your work day in a less than definitive fashion (no pun intended). Equally, get into your comfy clothes at the other end of the day, leave your work in its rightful space and unwind with your favourite, book, cocoa or tipple of that red stuff. 

Organise your day properly

If you set out clear objectives for the day ahead, you are more likely to stay focused and achieve your self-recommended deadlines. Use a paper list or an application like Trello to create a list of tasks that you need to complete, and tick them off as you’ve completed them throughout the day.

Manage your workload effectively 

If you have a lot of tasks to complete for a large project, or you have administration tasks piling up that you are yet to begin, it can become stressful. If you are working from home and taking this quiet time to get some admin tasks completed, then try to separate them into manageable chunks to complete throughout the day or week. Planning and mapping out your workload in this way should stop you from feeling overwhelmed.

Check in with your colleagues regularly

It can be easy to feel like you are working alone when you work from home. However, although this might be true physically, don’t forget about your colleagues who are also working at home or in the office. It is important to remind yourself that you are at work, phoning to update your colleagues about your work or the status of a project will make you feel more connected with what’s going on in the business. This will also keep you alert, energised, motivated and break up your day nicely. Don’t sit there in silence staring at the walls waiting for divine inspiration. It rarely comes. 

Give yourself a break

Breaks are important to boost productivity. If you don’t allow yourself time to rest and recuperate during the day, you may become burnt out by the afternoon. Be sure to take a full lunch break, and try to stay away from your computer during this time as well. You will feel rejuvenated when you return to your desk to tackle the full working day.

Reward yourself

You should try to come up with ways of rewarding yourself at the end of each task or day. This little boost can give you what you need to move onto the next job, and keep your motivation up. Poor motivation levels can be stressful. It is crucial to recognise when you aren’t working effectively and take decisive action to re-energise and/or re-motivate yourself