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Working and studying from home – hitting the motivation wall

Working and studying from home – hitting the motivation wall

Kate Stent

24/01/2022

Reading time: three minutes

When the pandemic hit back in 2020, and most of the country started working from home, people rejoiced at being able to work remotely – including me!

Initially, my workday was more productive without those long chats in the hallway or the kitchen with my colleagues. I found that meetings were more efficient because we stuck to the task at hand to get back to our comforts quicker and the workload was consistent, thankfully.

However, there were definite downsides to working from home. There were other people in the house constantly, and workdays became a lot longer, emails were checked and sent at obscene times of the day (and night) and, the biggest thing that took me by surprise, I missed my colleagues.

I quickly hit the wall and my motivation levels dropped so, I made the following changes to make the day a little easier.

Create a productive morning routine

As much as I love my sleep and would want the extra time in bed, I found it was much easier to get up an hour before I was due to log on to give myself the time to wake up properly, have my morning coffee and slowly set myself up for the day. I am not a morning person, so it worked well for me doing it this way, plus getting caught out with those 9am Teams meetings were enough to wake me up earlier!

Have a dedicated workspace

This was important to me as the lines between comfort and work ended up very blurred after a while. I ended up commandeering the kitchen table during work hours which made it much easier to switch off when I went to bed in the evening.

Write a to-do list

Writing down your tasks for the day makes it easier to break your day into chunks and crossing them off is great for motivation levels!

Take small breaks

Taking 10 minutes away from your laptop or computer can help reset your mind and have you refocused on your next task. A cup of tea is always necessary, and it only takes a few minutes to make it too!

Take your lunch break

Before the pandemic hit, I was in the poor habit of working through my lunch break every day which quickly led to burnout. I felt guilty for taking my full lunch hour and stepping away from my laptop however I used the time to go for a 20–30-minute walk. The fresh air was great for my mental health, and I was ready to power through the afternoon afterwards.

Have a definite end to the day

Working beyond office hours is something I was guilty of pre-pandemic but working from home the days seemed to get longer. Using the excuse I wasn’t commuting so it didn’t matter if I worked another hour or sending that email at 11pm was acceptable just because someone else was.

Being strict and finishing work at 5:30pm was difficult to begin with but it got easier, and I managed to switch off after the working day. Sometimes it’s necessary to work longer hours but the days it isn’t, it’s worth having those boundaries in place.

Finally

Being back in the office full time means working from home on very rare occasions, however, I use most of the above with my studying as I am a distance student. They have allowed me to maintain a good structure and keep on top of everything when I thought I wouldn’t be able to.