Lauren Elmore, Student Engagement Coordinator at CLL, shares how she has been keeping herself motivated to work from home during this unusual period.
Needless to say, everything is a bit odd at the moment. We are all in the same boat but also completely separate from our colleagues, classmates, and friends making motivation increasingly tough – even getting out of bed some mornings has been a challenge!
This makes it even harder to keep on track with work or studies. The lack of structure and designated study zone along with having to learn how to work alongside your family or housemates (or pets – my elderly cat likes to periodically sit on my laptop and nearly sent an email to around 100 CLL students saying ‘ghhhhhhhheeesssshhhhhhhhhh’) present challenges we’re not used to managing.
So over the past few weeks I have found a few ways to help me adapt to this new working environment.
- Using the Pomodoro technique to work – working in 25 minute blocks, turning off all distractions (phone, social media, etc) with 5 minute breaks. Not only is it shocking how much work you can get done in 25 minutes it also helps break the day up nicely. This is a useful technique to try if you are trying to get your children do to their work as well – it’s a manageable amount of time for them to stay focused.
- Before turning on the laptop, I write a realistic to do list – it gives me something to refer back to if I get distracted and, when I get to tick an item off, it reminds me I have been productive. Remember – some days you won’t get everything done on your list and that is completely OK!
- One thing that has really helped with maintaining my motivation is keeping in contact with my colleagues – we’re all used to working closely together, whether that is in our offices or in classes, and sometimes the best ideas come over a cup of coffee. I am making the most of the technology available to me having Microsoft Teams coffee meetings, WhatsApp calls, and checking in with each other over Facebook messenger.
- Finally, it has been important to have clear boundaries between home and work life – thanks to all of the wonderful tech mentioned above, it is easy to keep replying to emails late into the evening or just do that one thing on the weekend and can end up feeling like you are always in work or study mode. I am making sure my laptop is put away at the end of each working day and notifications are turned off on my phone and working is banned from the living room.
These techniques have made the past few weeks of working from home a little more manageable in these challenging times. And if all else fails make a cup of tea and stand in the sun for five minutes – it certainly won’t make anything worse!