Working from home isn’t always as easy, or as relaxing, as it sounds. Video conferencing platforms and document sharing tools help us to connect and collaborate with our clients and co-workers, but how do we stay focused and motivated? Here are a few tips from our hard-at-work team!
rise and shine
As simple as it sounds, how you start the day can help create the day you’re looking for. We’re all creatures of habit, but whether you’re a morning glory or a night owl, try waking up 30 minutes earlier than you usually do and set the tone for the day.
Every morning, Mary starts her day at 5:45 am by working out and walking her dog Séamus. And then, she gets ‘dressed’ for work. Dressing professionally, even if she’s working from home, gives her an added sense of “normalcy”.
“When I make the time to do pilates and walk my dog Séamus at sunrise – my day always turns out better.”
Group Program Director
create your own distractions
Make sure your home workspace is comfortable, but not too comfortable. Many people’s “home offices” are actually quieter than their “work offices,” so having no distractions can actually…be a distraction. Play music, open a window, or find a spot with a view that engages you without sidetracking you.
Jonathan describes his at-home workspace as peaceful, though he misses the constant hum of the office, and the accidental hallway meetings and watercooler collaborations.
“I have an actual office I work in that’s quiet and free of distractions, on the top floor of our home. My desk faces windows, so I play ‘70s soft rock music throughout the house and enjoy a sunny, leafy bird’s-eye view of the neighborhood.”
Executive Creative Director
separate but equal
Working from home does have its perks, but drawing a line between personal and professional space is key. Set up a unique workspace away from your kitchen and out of your bedroom, avoiding the clutter and personal baggage that come with each.
Mark has made sure his workspace is for working, and his living space is for living. With a laptop, your office can be anywhere, so making a workspace that works is up to you.
“It’s helpful for me to separate my “home office” from my “home” and keep to “normal” work hours. Taking breaks is an important part of being comfortable and allows me to refuel, recharge and stay productive throughout the day.”
one screen at a time
Keeping up with clients and projects is a constant, but consider limiting your screen time beyond that. Social media is one of the best ways to stay connected and informed, but one of the easiest ways to get distracted. Take advantage of your own discipline or your smart phone’s screen limit feature to restrict time on your phone.
Like all of us, Jenn relies on email for the majority of her internal communications, so there’s not a lot of reason for her to be on her phone during the day. Jenn also unplugs by closing out of work tabs on her computer when she’s done for the day.
“There’s a lot of moving parts to being a project manager, so scheduling out when I’m going to be working on a specific thing is important. When I’m online, I tend to give myself a time limit for a certain task.”
Having creative pursuits outside of work can help keep your mind fresh. Working from home has allowed John to spend some of his newfound time (what commute?) focusing on his hobbies. By being closer to his home studio, he can spend more time painting after work.
“I’ve always had creative pursuits and hobbies outside of work. For years it was live music, and now it’s oil painting. When I have a few paintings I’m working on in my off hours, it gives my brain a fresh perspective for the design and storytelling I create during the day.”
give me a break
Routines are great for establishing balance, but we recommend taking breaks to make your day a bit more enjoyable and productive. From writer’s block to energy lags, we all have obstacles to overcome throughout the day, so do things that let your mind escape from work, even for a few moments.
The pandemic has allowed Joel to establish a new work/life balance – he now takes a more traditional lunch break and regularly checks in with his wife, while still maintaining his productive day.
“I think it’s critical to get away from the computer every 2-3 hours. I find myself getting fatigued with the computer screen and a lot of virtual events. Some days I try to finish my day at home for a change of scenery.”
Change is hard, and adapting takes focus and motivation. We’ve all had to adapt to a new environment – many of us by moving our workplace into our homes, where we lead an entirely different life. Not letting these worlds collide has been one of the many challenges of 2020. Here at MK3, each one of us has found our own form of balance, so that we are capable of doing what we’ve always done – getting things done. We hope our tips help you find a balance of your own.