Motivation to Start & Maintain a Productive Remote Workday
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With many businesses operating at least a portion of their activities online in the advent of the Coronavirus, we’ve dedicated several of our recent posts to effective remote workplace strategies, including The New Workplace: Preparing Your Business to Operate in the COVID-19 Era. An additional important aspect of crushing remote work is channeling the motivation to start and maintain a productive workday. If you are wondering about some of the core tenets of remote working success, read on for steps you can take to achieve them.
Start Your Day with Something Fun!
Some days, a project or deadline jump starts my day even before the alarm goes off (okay, such days are infrequent, but they do occur). Many days, however, especially when I am remotely working on projects with no set deadlines and no one expects me in an office by a particular time, it is tempting to hit snooze again and again. One way I have motivated myself from my bed to my desk is promising myself I can start my day with something fun. As juvenile as it may sound, knowing that the first thing to tackle is rocking out to my favorite new song, sending a hand-written note to my new business bestie, or posting some sunshine on social media is the encouragement that is needed to get my workday started at home.
Define Your Goals
The forgoing said, limit the time spent on your “fun” activity, transitioning as soon as possible to accomplishing your daily goals. Research shows that highly productive people rarely start their days with a reactionary activity, such as checking email. Instead, they predetermine the two to five goals they will accomplish each day and set to work completing those tasks to the exclusion of distractions created by others (e.g., incoming texts or phone calls). Knowing what you want to achieve and completing such projects is an added layer of motivation. Instead of ending each day in defeat having “accomplished nothing,” you will derive energy from seeing your projects come to life and want to continue building on such foundation of success the next workday.
Just as important as goal setting is performance evaluation. On a periodic basis, say weekly, analyze what you did well, if a task could have been done better or differently, whether the projects completed best fit or monetized your business, if you were a good leader, etc. Successful people are not perfect, they are insatiable learners, constantly willing to adapt and improve. The great news here is that your past work does not define you. If you determine that yesterday was not your best effort, today is a new day to change your tactics and shine brightly.
Limit Your Projects
Related to peaking remote performance through goal setting and self-evaluating is limiting and completing the number of projects on your task list. Nothing ensures that I stay in bed with zero energy faster than feeling overwhelmed. A sure tell sign that I have taken on too much is when instead of feeling energized by upcoming projects, I am paralyzed by fatigue and the inability to choose which one of my zillion to-dos to start next. To get back on track, try one of at least three strategies:
- Start Something: Although it is hard to begin anything when you feel like nothing will get you across the finish line, the satisfaction of seeing something marked off your checklist can propel you forward. Pick the task that can be accomplished in the time you have or that will relieve the most stress. Completion of that first task may channel the energy needed to finish the remaining projects at hand.
- Prioritize Top Initiatives: As a small business owner who is excited about the Spread Your Sunshine mission, I always have a million ideas that I immediately want accomplished. The reality is that oftentimes, these limitless ideas exceed our Team’s limited manpower. When that happens, it is time to take a deep breath, evaluate the best projects with which to move forward today, and save the rest for when the Team has expanded capacity.
- Delegate: Consider if one or more of your to-dos could, or should, be completed by another Team member. All too frequently, a project is kept on my task list when another Team member needs work and/or could complete the task just as well or better than me. Not sooner handing off the assignment is always regretted. More work will get done timely and well if it is more evenly distributed across your Team and you abandon the idea of perfection.
Foster Meaningful Remote Co-Worker Connections
Although working from home has many benefits, a downside is that it can be lonely. To overcome the feeling of isolation while working remotely, Team members can use centralized communications platforms to collaborate and foster teamwork. Standardized remote working policies also ensure that all Team members feel that they are working from a level playing field. Further consider how to maximize Team engagement, such as through periodic virtual Team meetings, one-on-one mentorships, virtual Team happy hours (including with clients), and socially distanced support of each other’s families.
Create an Inspirational Workspace
It is unlikely that you will perform your best work from your bed or sofa. Rather, working productively from home likely means creating a dedicated workspace, including having access to the essential equipment needed to perform your work digitally, such as software that can be used online from any place and any device. If you’re not certain how to find online-based versions of the tools that you used in the office, cloud migration solutions might be just what you need. Ensuring you have the essential tools to do the same work from home as you did in the office in a dedicated home space will set you up for long-term remote success.
Final Thoughts for Crushing Your Remote Workday
Working from home has many benefits, but is not without its challenges. As you acclimate to today’s new work environment, consider trying new strategies until you find the routine and habits that best support you and your role. And, while the ideas herein are ones that have helped our Team, we know YOU have additional tips to best empower the Spread Your Sunshine community. Share your advice by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or messaging Spread Your Sunshine on Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, or Twitter. We love hearing from you, as together, we perform our best.
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