Since the pandemic, many of us have started working from home. This switch has disrupted routines and blended home and work environments. With our lives confined to one space, it can be difficult to find the energy for all of the roles we have to play.
If you’re working from home and looking for some tips to stay motivated and energized, this list is for you.
Take Movement Breaks
If you’re working from home, chances are that you’re spending many hours sitting at a desk, using your computer. Without a commute to an office, there’s less movement built into your day. It’s more important than ever to incorporate movement breaks into your daily routine.
Georgia Dorfman, CEO of All My Love, states, “Establish designated movement breaks. Set a timer on your phone, and each time it goes off, stand, move away from the computer, and move. You can go for a walk or do a different quick exercise such as jumping jacks, squats, or push-ups. If time permits, these breaks can be a few minutes each. But micro-breaks can also be effective. Even if it’s twenty seconds, wake up your body by moving.”
Dawn Kendall, Co-Founder of 8 Sheep Organics, describes why movement breaks are necessary to mitigate the effects of sitting at a desk several hours a day.
“Working from a sedentary position will have negative physical impacts,” Kendall claims. “If you take regular breaks to move your body, about every ten minutes, you will improve your circulation, work out stiff joints, strengthen your muscles, and reduce fatigue.”
In addition to having multiple breaks, having time set aside in the morning to prepare for the day is another way to boost your energy while working from home.
Have a Morning Routine
Rather than jumping right into work, maintain a morning routine that prepares you for the day.
“It’s easy to roll right out of bed to the computer,” says Tavis Lochhead, Co-Founder of Looria. “A morning routine is an opportunity to take time for yourself and to plan for the day ahead of you. You can maintain a nutritious diet through a well-rounded breakfast and boost your energy with tea or coffee. If you set daily goals, it’s easier to stay productive every day.
Maurice Harary, a Forbes Council Member, claims that morning rituals keep your days structured, and they allow you to maintain a sense of normalcy. Routines prevent procrastination. “If you make time for your usual morning rituals, you’ll feel more prepared to tackle your to-do list,” says Harary.
Morning routines are also great spaces to do an enjoyable activity before beginning your workday.
Ankur Goyal, Head of Growth at Coterie, says, “Just as it’s important to set aside time for hobbies while working outside the home, it’s important to set aside time for them while working from home. Though you can choose the time of day that works best for you, I find it’s helpful to designate time in the morning, before starting work, to read, exercise, or work on a creative project.”
Ben Hyman, CEO of Revival, expands, “Any of us can find ourselves tired after a day of work, and when there’s little to no change in our environment throughout the day, it can be difficult to muster up the energy to pursue our hobbies. That’s why I recommend integrating your creative outlet into your morning routine. If you do, you might find yourself happier and more encouraged for your workday.”
Implementing these habits can positively impact your energy levels. You can also intentionally set up your home workspace to increase your motivation.
Have a Designated Workspace
It’s important to establish some separation between where you work and where you live in your home. If you have the space, you can have an entire room as an office. You can also set up a nook in a bedroom or a living room to place a desk and all of your work necessities.
“Make your workspace as comfortable as you can,” says Breanne Millette, CEO of Bisoulovely. “You can invest in a standing desktop or a supportive chair if sitting for hours is negatively impacting your body. Keep your workspace organized. Keep everything you need for the workday in your workspace so that you’re not running around your house looking for notes or stationary. It’s helpful to have snacks and water at hand. Finally, decorate your space. Set up photos and drawings. Maybe light a candle or have a diffuser nearby with a designated energizing scent during work hours. Make it feel like you.”
Though it’s important to have a spot for work, it can feel monotonous. Emily Courtney, a writer for FlexJobs, describes the benefits of changing up your workspace.
She claims when you’re working in an office space, and you need a brain refresh, “it’s easy to walk around and visit with colleagues.” This isn’t always possible in your home. “When you need a refresh,” Courtney states, “consider switching up your workspace for a couple of days a week. Whether you head to the backyard, hotspot it at a park, or simply trade offices [in your home]… the new work digs will help you feel revitalized.”
Split Up Your Work and Your Rest Space
When you take a break to refuel, step away from your screen. If you can move into another room altogether. Harary claims that you need regular breaks working from home and working on-site.
He says, “Set aside time each day for a lunch break. Although working through the whole day without a break might help you get work done faster initially, it’s not sustainable in the long run.”
Melissa Rhodes, CEO of Psychics 1on1, agrees and elaborates on the necessity of having separate work and rest spaces.
“First, don’t work from your bed or sleeping space. It’s tempting to log in right after waking up and stay in a comfortable spot, but your body needs to feel the difference between work hours and rest hours. If you blur the two together in one physical space, you’ll likely feel more tired and less motivated.”
Keep the Work at Work
Even when working from home, you don’t have to be available all hours of the day. Rest is necessary, so on your days off, avoid doing any work, even if it’s sending a quick email.
Datha Santomieri, Co-Founder and Vice-President of Steadily, states, “You don’t have to check messages outside of your established work hours. It’s easy to slip into a routine of constant work when you’re working from home, but this leads to burnout. Determine what days and what hours you will work. Outside of that time, focus on yourself and your loved ones. Take time for fun and rest. If you keep a divide between work and play while working from home, you’ll have more energy to get the work done well.”
When you lack the physical separation between your work life and home life, you have to build boundaries yourself.
“When you work on-site, your employers don’t expect you to take the work home with you, or at least they shouldn’t. It’s necessary to separate your work and the other areas of your life. It keeps you balanced, healthy, and productive,” says Trey Ferro, CEO of Spot Pet Insurance.
That said, building strong connections with coworkers during work hours will also help you feel energized and supported.
Build a Support System
Community is an essential part of a healthy, fulfilling lifestyle. Working from home can make community-building difficult, but it’s not impossible.
“Check-in with your coworkers,” Russell Lieberman, Founder & CEO of Altan Insights, states. “Virtual meetings can be a great opportunity to maintain regular interactions, and if these aren’t available to you, try establishing regular communication with your team through channels like Slack. You can keep up with progress on projects and how everyone is doing personally. Everyone needs to be seen in their work. In this time of relative isolation, we have to be more intentional about finding our community.”
If you’re working from home and feeling some of your motivation slipping away, we hope this list gives you the tools you need to boost your energy.