It's easy to go stir crazy and feel frustrated or lonely when you've been told to work from home without a choice – especially if there's no end in sight. But you're not alone.
With no physical meetings to attend, no co-workers to enjoy water cooler chat with and no office breakout zones to explore, working from home has become an isolating – and all too boring – reality for much of the nation right now.
But if you resist the temptation to shut your laptop, put down your pen and give in to the boredom, a lot can be gained from this time of social distancing. For instance, you may wish to propel yourself in your career, strengthen your business, or simply learn a new job skill.
Follow these helpful tips on how to to shake things up and reignite an excitement for your work while you spend time at home:
1. Re-decorate your home office space
If you're feeling bored or uninspired, one sure-fire way to blow away the cobwebs and set a new dynamic for your work is to reimagine your office space. The colours you surround yourself with can have a big effect on your mood.
Blue is a great colour to opt for as it induces feelings of stability, calm and focus. If you want to create a vibrant, energetic zone, try orange or yellow which will give you a dose of optimism. Purple, on the other hand, invokes a sense of creativity, imagination and wisdom.
Read more on how to create the perfect office space here.
2. Compete with yourself to achieve your next goal
There's no better competitor than yourself. In times of isolation, competing with yourself can be a powerful exercise to get a lot done.
When you first sit down at your desk in the morning, set overarching goals for the day and then break each goal down into achievable tasks. Then, set an alarm for the time you wish to achieve each task by. If you complete the task before the alarm goes off, reward yourself!
To switch things up, try incorporating activities outside of work to motivate you. For instance, aim to complete one task in the time it takes for your laundry to wash.
3. Get scientific with your music choice
In an office environment, you'll be used to the chatter of co-workers and telephones ringing all day long. Try switching up your home office acoustics, from setting up surround-sound speakers to turning the TV on low in the background, to stay stimulated.
Listening to nature music, classical music (Vivaldi's "Four Seasons" is a great option if you want to start your day energetically), epic music and even video game music are all popular choices for background sounds to liven things up.
But, if you want to get scientific, try using the Brain.fm app with headphones to increase your work engagement. The music provided by this app is generated by artificial intelligence to improve focus, meditation or relaxation within 15 minutes of use.
4. Schedule your day around your circadian rhythm
Each person's motivation will naturally and uniquely ebb and flow throughout the day due to differing bodily cycles known as circadian rhythms. This 24-hour internal clock runs in the background of your brain and cycles between sleepiness and alertness at regular intervals.
If you're feeling lacklustre and tired, it may simply mean you're experiencing your cycle's downtime. Luckily, working from home means you can take advantage of working (more or less) when you like. Record your peaks in alertness and schedule more complex tasks for these times. For example, you may wish to conquer fewer, smaller tasks in the morning and save your most challenging tasks for later in the afternoon when your brain has had a chance to fire up.
5. Practice gratitude
"Gratitude is the ultimate performance-enhancing substance at work," says Professor Robert Emmons, a gratitude researcher and professor of psychology at UC Davis.
At the end of the working day, make a list of three things feel you did well. Then, place this 'gratitude list' in a prominent position on your desk where you'll see it when you sit down the next morning. Being thankful of small wins can encourage you to start the day with momentum and purpose.
You can also create a gratitude folder on your desktop filled with screenshots of all of the emails that have acknowledged your good work and boosted your spirits. Revisit this folder when you're feeling unmotivated to kick-start an upward cycle of positivity and productivity.
6. Make the most of brilliant resources
Make sure you're making the most of the wealth of resources at your fingertips. There are tonnes of apps for virtually socialising with colleagues and fantastic workouts to intersperse your day with physical activity, such as:
- Yoga Studio - a library of more than 70 yoga and meditation classes for all levels
- Aaptiy - switch up your lunch-break jog with an audio-based fitness workout
- Netflix Party - allows you to arrange virtual film nights with your team
- Zoom - meet for after work drinks with colleagues over a video call
For real-time updates on where you can access business support during the coronavirus outbreak, follow Workspace on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook and LinkedIn.
For information on how Workspace is responding to COVID-19, please visit our coronavirus response page.