Working from home is great—ask anyone who has a remote job. You can stay in your own space, you have a flexible schedule, and you don’t have to get all suited up for the day before heading to work. You can even go without working for months and not have to worry about having to follow a return to work policy when you do decide you would like to go back to work. But, sometimes we can get stuck in our working from home routine, making us less productive.
The greatest challenge with remote work is staying motivated. When you’re surrounded by your own space and things, it’s easy to get distracted. It can be difficult to switch your brain from “relaxation time” to “work time”. This is why we recommend doing at least a few of these things throughout the day to keep you from feeling burnt out.
Schedule Breaks Throughout the Day
Work breaks are important for everybody whether you’re in the office or at home. Once you open your computer for the first time and start sifting through emails and figuring out your workload for the day, it’s easy to get sucked in. We feel inclined to keep working even when we’re feeling hungry or stagnant from sitting in the same spot all day.
Many studies have found that taking a break increases productivity, contrary to the idea that working through lunch will help you get more done. Our brains can build up feelings of stress when we’re trying to squeeze in as much work as possible. Don’t let yourself stress. Take breaks every hour or so, even for a few minutes. Just getting up and walking around or doing a few stretches can make you feel revitalized and refocus your attention.
Head to a Coffee Shop or Co-Working Space
If you’re not in a state of “social distancing”, here’s another great way to take a break from your remote work routine: Switch up the scenery. When we’re in the same environment for long periods of time, our brains can get tired and lose focus. Especially when we’re in our own space. You start to think about the other things you could be doing, whether it’s chores or just sitting on the couch and catching up on your favorite show.
If you feel yourself losing steam, change up your work location. Your local coffee shop is the perfect place to go to grab a coffee or tea and even just being around other people can ramp up your productivity. If you have a membership to a co-working space, this is another great option. Some companies with remote workers will even foot the bill on a coworking space membership.
Having a regular workout routine is important for so many reasons. It keeps us healthy, improves mental health thanks to endorphins being released, and refocuses our brain. Some people prefer to work out in the morning before they even sit down at the computer. This is a good way to get yourself ready for the day ahead, but, sometimes, it’s smart to take a break earlier in the day and exercise.
Research has found that exercise gives us an energy boost and improves productivity, which is why people who work from home should consider doing their workout after a few hours of work when they start to feel burnt out and stagnant. This quick will elevate your mood and get you back into a work mood.
Everyone can benefit from daily meditation, and it doesn’t take very long. Even a five- to ten-minute meditation exercise has been proven to lower levels of stress, increase positive thinking, and make you feel more motivated. You can download a guided meditation app, find a video on YouTube, or just do it on your own. Some people prefer to do this in the morning while others like to meditate in the middle of the day. Meditation will help you take a mental break without you actually having to do any physical movement. Research deep breathing exercises and simple meditations to help break up your day and reduce work-related anxiety.
Let Yourself Browse the Internet (but Only a Little)
This advice may seem counterintuitive, but it’s important. When we’re at home all day working on our computer, there is the constant temptation to click out of your work tabs and scroll through your Facebook feed or shop for a new gold chain, pendant or watch. It’s okay, we get it. The internet is fun, and we love wasting time scrolling and clicking through our favorite sites.
But, if you find yourself doing this too often during work hours, you probably are not as focused as you should be. This is why you can schedule a little throughout the day to look at something not work-related. It rids you of the temptation to browse the internet all day long when you should be working. Just be sure to limit yourself to about 10 minutes before diving back into your work responsibilities.
Step Away from Your Desk for Meals
We’ve covered the reasons behind taking breaks during the work day. This applies to breakfast and lunch times, too. We often want to bring our food back to our desk and shovel it in our mouths while still trying to type that next email with just one hand. Avoid this. When you feel hungry and you know it’s time to eat, close the computer and spend a few minutes sitting down and just focusing on your lunch. Your brain will thank you for the break.
Stay Motivated All Day Long
Remaining focused for an entire eight-hour workday can be tricky when working from your house, even though there are tons of benefits to remote work. The most important way to stay on task and complete your workload is by breaking up your routine and giving your brain (and body) some time to stretch and re-focus. Although we’re inclined to shy away from breaks because we want to power through and get everything done, you’ll actually be more productive when you implement these practices.
Leave the house and switch up the scenery, take some time to exercise or meditate. Or let yourself wander through the internet and do a little retail therapy by searching for your next gold chain purchase or new furniture. Be sure to limit yourself on these kinds of searching, so you’re not consistently getting distracted from your work. Remember that giving yourself permission to click around can keep you from avoiding work throughout the day.