COVID-19: When Working From Home Is Not Working For You

Ceci Amador from Allwork.Space shares her own tips on how to stay motivated when working from home.
  • The health crisis is forcing people to work from home and many are struggling to stay motivated.
  • The good news is, you’re not alone, and there are plenty of ways to beat procrastination and get productive.
  • Here, Ceci Amador from Allwork.Space shares her own tips on how to stay motivated when working from home.

So you’ve been working from home for a couple of weeks now, but it just isn’t working for you. 

Welcome to the club.

Working from home is challenging enough as it is. Add to that the anxiety and stress generated by the pandemic and it’s no wonder many of us are struggling to motivate ourselves to actually want to work. 

I’m speaking from the heart here. 

I wake up everyday at 6:00 a.m. with the hopes of jumping right into work. 

Unfortunately, I find myself laying down on the couch, scrolling through Twitter, reading news, and eventually watching Netflix for hours on end. I’ve managed to watch more TV episodes in the past 3 weeks than I have in the past year (or at least six months). 

And then the guilt strikes. 

Truth be told, I’ve been working from home for over 4.5 years now… so it’s not like much has changed for me, even while on lockdown. 

But for some reason, it’s been harder than ever to motivate myself to work, let alone focus long enough to actually get anything done. 

So, here’s what I do to get myself out of this not-wanting-to-work funk. Sometimes these methods work, sometimes they don’t. 

5 Tips to Find Motivation and Focus while Working from Home

1. Start small

Whenever I feel unmotivated to tackle any work, I start small. I read and answer emails or I browse through work-related news. Though it’s not much, it helps me get in the right mindset to tackle bigger tasks during the day. 

It’s similar to making my bed on the weekend. Just that small accomplishment is enough to get me going and do laundry and some basic housekeeping even on the laziest of Sundays. 

So, if you find yourself simply not knowing where to start tackling the work day, start small. Before you know it, you’ll be on a roll. 

2. Find your sweet spot

One thing I love about remote work is that it allows me to work whenever it works best for me. Personally, I am a morning person. If I find that I’m running behind or I’ve been on a work funk for a couple of days, I wake up extra early one day to tackle whatever it is I need to get done. 

After 4+ years of working remotely, I know that my best working hours are between 5:00 a.m. and 11:00 a.m. I know that after lunch I am as productive as a bear hibernating. I’m also pretty productive after 5:00 p.m.

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Knowing when you work best can go a long way in motivating you and helping you focus long enough to get through tasks. If you have kids, you might find it easier to focus and work while they’re still sleeping in the morning or once they’ve gone to bed at night. 

There is no right or wrong answer here, it’s about finding that magical time that works for you. 

3. Take a break

If you’ve been staring at your laptop or desktop computer for a long time without getting anything done, then take a break. The same applies when you’ve been working for over 90 minutes non-stop. 

This break could be stopping to make a snack, going for a walk, reading, or doing that puzzle that’s been sitting on your dining room table for over a week.  

Giving your brain some time to relax and regroup can help you better focus and concentrate afterwards. Plus, there are studies that have shown that taking regular breaks improves productivity, reduces stress, prevents burnout, and boosts energy levels. 

4. Switch it up

Sometimes you can’t get any work done because you’re simply not in the right setting. What might’ve worked for you yesterday may not work today, so don’t be afraid to switch up your home working environment. 

Though you may have set up your home office near that huge window to get enough natural light, you may find that one day your neighbors are being too noisy or their dog is barking non-stop, which doesn’t allow you to focus. 

In such days, the living room or dining room table may prove to be more effective. At the end of the day, it comes down to figuring out what works for you and what doesn’t. 

5. Tune in to tune out

Sometimes, all you need is the right tunes to get you pumped and going. This is true for working out and it is also true for working. 

Pro tips: use headphones, as sometimes the speakers just don’t do the trick. Also, consider listening to music that has no lyrics, as lyrics can be distracting. 

So, open your favorite music streaming service and hit play. Most streaming services offer curated playlists on focus music. 

My personal favorite and go-to solution: piano music. 

One last thing

When  working from home, bear in mind that the average research has found that in an eight-hour day, the average worker is only productive for about 3 hours. You cannot compare your work performance at home with that of the office, and if you measure it by things done and achieved, you might find that you get more done in a 4-hour work from home day than in a regular 8-hour one in the office.

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