Hi friends! I hope that you all had a lovely Easter Sunday and that you are doing well!
We all know how hard it is to stay motivated and productive, even more so during quarantine. Life at home can be chaotic, especially with many people under one roof. We all have to learn how to manage our time and stay productive while living in a world where we have to work remotely. Here are some ways that I have learned how to stay motivated while living and working at home.
1. Set clear goals
Before you start working on your tasks for the day, write down everything you want to do. Making a list can help you stay focused and give you a clear understanding of the things you need to get done.
I personally recommend using sticky notes! My shelves, desk, and laptop are covered with sticky notes and reminders. When I write out my list, I put enough tasks on the list to last a few days. Place the ones due first at the top and work your way down. Some people choose to just put one days worth of tasks on a list and that works too! Just take it one step at a time.
Breaking down larger tasks can help as well when creating a list. Larger projects can be broken down into smaller tasks, and these can be spread out over multiple days. Take things at your own pace and make sure to not overwhelm yourself. This form of organization is a double edged sword, because while you want to push yourself to stay productive, you also don’t want to be so focused on the lists that you don’t get anything done. Make sure you’re being productive and giving yourself enough time to finish the larger projects.
Also make sure that you keep your list handy so that you can actively cross-off finished tasks! This will do wonders for your productivity. The act of physically crossing off tasks gives you the satisfaction to start the next one so that you can cross it off too.
2. Set a timer and work until it’s done, and then take a fun break
Sometimes it’s better to work when you have a finish line to look forward to. I have learned that working in short increments and then taking small breaks has improved my motivation to continue projects for long periods. Try setting a timer for 15-20 minutes and work until it is finished. This gives you a short period of time to work hard and complete as much as you can before your time is up. Once the timer goes off, be sure to give yourself a 5 or 10 minute break!
During your break, make sure to rest your brain. Sit back in your chair and let yourself just rest. Maybe take time to pray for a bit, or take a walk outside, or my favorite option, have a dance break. Maybe some breaks you can take the time to scroll on social media, but don’t do that every time. Social media will only suck you in for a longer amount of time and then next thing you know an hour has passed and you haven’t done any work. Try to use your breaks to do something restful, but not mind numbing.
3. Put away distractions
We all know how easy it is to get distracted, especially in our world of technology. Our phones, computers, and even watches are constantly buzzing with new notifications. The best way to curb these distractions are to put them out of sight. Turn your phone on silent, turn off notifications, and put it physically behind you. I think this is really important especially during this time of quarantine. You don’t need to be constantly updated on the state of the world. Putting your phone out of your line of sight can also help you mentally with being able to take time to not focus on the state of our world.
Another way to stay focused is to close your door when you are working in your room or an office space in your own home. Give yourself a space to be productive without the distraction of others in your home. Closing the door can also let other members of your household know that you are busy. Having your own space to work will also help you to put yourself in a productive head-space. Remind yourself that when you are in your work space with the door closed that you are in a time of productivity.
4. Communicate clearly with other people around you in the house
I know that some of your lives have been displaced in one way or another. Whether it’s having to move back home, work from home, or having more people in your house than normal, all of us have been thrust into a new reality for the time being. With these new realities it’s important to communicate with those around you.
It’s okay to tell those you live with that you need time alone. When you have a particularly busy today ahead of you, it’s a good idea to let others know that you need to be left alone until you are done. Communicating with the people in your house helps to let them know what your schedule is and let them know that they shouldn’t bother you. Don’t feel bad if you need to take time alone when trying to get work done. Personally, I know that I have to work in my room alone if I want to get anything done. I love my mother, but I know that if I work in the living room, I will just want to talk to her the entire time instead of working.
It is also good to recognize that the people you live with care for you and want to help you through this time. NEVER be afraid to ask for help when you need it. As important as it is to take time for yourself, it is equally as important to have community with others. God calls us to have relationships with others and that is even more important during this time of quarantine. If you are struggling, ask those who you live with to help you in any way that they can.
Lastly, take nights off. Communicate with your family members or housemates when you need a night to not do any work. Try planning a movie or game night together where no one works and you have a night of fellowship. This will rejuvenate your spirit and help you to be more productive in the future.
5. Don’t be discouraged when you don’t get as much done as you want to
This is a hard time for many people. We all understand that being productive during this difficult time can be even more challenging than usual. Go easy on yourself if you don’t get as much done as you planned. The world isn’t going to end if you don’t finish every task in one day. Do what you can, but please don’t overwork yourself. Remember that we are all human and we have our limits. Look at your list and do the most time sensitive or important things and then leave the rest for later if you need to.
God is calling us all to rest during this time. I truly believe that He is using this strange reality to help us to focus on Him and rest in His presence and plan. He knows what He is doing, so leave it to Him. Being productive and motivated also means taking time to rest. Allow yourself to rest in His words, His light, His love.
Stay safe friends, we are praying for you all.
(with the wonderful help of Rachel)